Combining Perennial Meadows and Shrub Feature Borders

I have been telling everyone about Pachyphragma macrophyllum over many years, but still it is a little known ground cover perennial.

Perennial Meadow and Shrub FeatureShrub feature borders combine special shrubs with other plants to create bold units of planting that play a role in the design and organisation of garden landscapes. In this square feature border shrubs including spring flowering Corylopsis spicata and the tree-like and later flowering Chionanthus virginicus rise out of a carpet of perennials.

In spring the perennial meadow that forms the ground covering layer of this shrub feature border is dominated by one of the most effective spring flowering perennials – white flowered Pachyphragman macrophyllum. This meadow planting is triggered into life in late winter when snowdrops and hellebores flower. The pachyphragman flowers for more than an month in spring and supports a long display of various daffodils, species Narcissus, and late spring flowering tulips.

This spring display is made possible by the very late appearance of leaves on the Chionanthus virginicus towering above. In summer the shrub feature is dominated by woodland grasses and geraniums, but gains late summer impact with the flowering of wild asters. Finally, the leaves of the shrubs turn clear yellow for a long, late autumnal finale.

Because the perennial meadow includes epimediums, hellebores and grass-like Luzula species along side the pachyphragma, this border remains clothed with evergreen foliage all year round that creates a platform for the various shrubs that grow through and above it. The secret to success is combining compatible plants. The perennials are all shade and drought tolerant which is essential when growing them within the root zone of these bold shrubs.

Pachyphragma seeds itself non-aggressively around the nearby areas of the garden and has become one of my favourite hardy perennials. To read more about this plant see my earlier post here.

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