Perennial Meadow

A New Perennial Meadow Plant Border, Step by Step

A new perennial meadow plant border in front of the Schutterstoren in Amsterdam was planted in mid April this year. See exactly how a professional garden designer sets out a planting scheme – step by step.

Now, five months later, it is beginning to show its design concept. A mixture of perennials creates a central meadow that is surrounded by blocks of ornamental grasses. The ornamental grasses enclose the colourful perennial meadow in order that the border fits into the natural waterside setting. From within the adjacent parkland only the green of the grasses is visible; the flower meadow being revealed only at street level and when viewing the border from above.

Setting out a perennial border.

Two cultivars of Molinia caerulea subsp. caerulea are used: ‘Poul Petersen’ encloses the meadow and ‘Moorhexe forms a circular “column” in the middle that relates to the round appartement tower behind it.

Salvia nemorosa cultivars flower in early summer after a display of early flowering tulips that are accompanied by low-growing Euphorbia polychroma. Throughout the summer months Amsonia, Saponaria and Stachys flower in sequence. Finally, in autumn, low-growing Asters come into flower to complement the grasses that by this time are beginning to develop warm autumnal tints in their leaves and flower heads.

Pernnial meadow

The next step in the creation of this perennial meadow grass border will be to add the bulbs needed to complete the design. This task will be carried out next month. The species tulip Tulipa praestans will be the first to flower between the clumps of grasses. The main tulip display will be the early to mid-season flowering Fosteriana tulip ‘Orange Emperor’. A sophisticated orange and green tulip cultivar that should be able to reappear year on year.

Summer flowering bulbs will include a range of different species onions namely Allium atropurpueum, A. cernum, and A. carinatum. The bolder, taller growing ornanamental onion cultivars Allium ‘Powder Puff’ and A. ‘Violet Qeeen’ will stand out dramatically above the early, blue-flowering Salvias in the perennial meadow surrounding them. Bulbs such as these are complementary to the main theme plants in my schemes, but essential for extending their season of impact as well as adding detailed interest.