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Small Border Plant Scheme

Small Border Plant Scheme

PLANTING SCHEMES for Small Spaces and Pollinators:

Small border: 60cm x 2m

Mainly sunny with some light shade, this is a colourful combination for a small border, and the scheme has enough variety and interest to keep butterflies, bees and other pollinators coming back for more.

If you have more space, add some evergreen shrubs and grasses like Hebe and Stipa tenuissima to ensure structure and cover after perennials have died down for the winter.

Simply follow the planting layout and guide below:



RoMJU: Rosmarinus (Salvia) officinalis ‘Miss Jessopp’s Upright’ - Rosemary

Vigorous growing and upright in form, this Rosemary is perfect for providing vertical interest in a sunny herb garden or border. Long flowering and highly aromatic this more than earns its place on the RHS Plants for Pollinators list. 

VbL: Verbena bonariensis ‘Lollipop’ - Verbena

Shorter growing and more robust than the ever-popular Verbena bonariensis, the ‘Lollipop’ variety still has all the wonderful attributes of its taller relative: airy, elegant, long-flowering and attractive to pollinating insects.

AR: Astrantia ‘Roma’ - Masterwort

Astrantias have been cultivated in Britain since the 16th century and are still a Chelsea favourite. Great for edging a border, their pretty, dense-growing leaves make good groundcover and offer shelter for insects. 

GTT: Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ - Geum

Bringing wonderful, pollinator-friendly colour to a border, these orange flowers just keep on going throughout summer and well into the autumn. A great combination with mauves and purples of rosemary, salvia and nepeta, this cheerful perennial is a frequent star in Chelsea gardens.




PLS: Perovskia ‘Little Spire’ - Russian Sage

Aromatic and insect-friendly, with hazy silver-grey leaves and upright spikes of tiny violet-blue flowers, this shorter version of Russian Sage is less likely to flop, so a great option where space is limited.

NJW: Nepeta x faassenii ‘Junior Walker’ - Catmint

A more compact grower than other Nepeta varieties, ‘Junior Walker’ makes a good path and border edging as well as being comfortable in a pot. The long-flowering blue blooms are a delight to humans and insects alike.

SnC: Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ - Salvia

Another long-standing Chelsea favourite, this compact Salvia, with striking dark stems brings intense colour, insects and scent to a sunny border. Cut the finished spikes frequently and the flowers should keep on coming from summer to autumn.


Pippa Martlew has many years’ experience designing gardens, large and small, for private and commercial clients. 

A Chelsea veteran, Pippa has assisted on numerous show gardens, including 6 Gold medal gardens and a Best in Show (while working for Andy Sturgeon). Closer to home, she enjoys tending her Wandsworth allotment and her own tiny terrace garden. A long-standing friend, Pippa and the London Honey Company have collaborated on a number of projects.



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