Lighting the Touch-Paper in the Bright Border

The Bright Border has taken a while to ignite this Spring, but today, I think it took off.


This border is not for the faint-hearted.  It is fiery and fiesty; invigorating, rather than relaxing.

Here are two of the euphorbias, E. amygdaoides var. robbiae, [health warning here] and E. griffithii ‘Fireglow’:

Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’

‘Fireglow’ deserves a close-up:

Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’

And so does Euphorbia palustris:

Euphorbia palustris

Whilst those two provide concentrated explosions of intense colour, Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae provides a more dispersed glow:

Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae

Tulips then add sparks of orange, vermillion and scarlet.   Here’s Tulipa ‘Couleur Cardinal’.  Geum ‘Hilltop Beacon’ is just starting to flower behind.

Tulipa ‘Couleur Cardinal’

And Tulipa ‘Ballerina’, with ‘Tambour Maitre’ in the background:

Tulipa ‘Ballerina’ with ‘Tambour Maitre’ in the background

Whilst smouldering maroon and purples come from Tulipa ‘Antraciet’ and ‘Recreado’:

Tulipa ‘Antraciet’
Tulipa ‘Recreado’

There are electric blues from pulmonaria.  Soon there will also be alliums too.

There are gaps where I took out some phlox and have planted some new euphorbias, which are waiting to plump up.  I also need to replant the tulips next year, as they have become thin and dispersed.  I will lavishly add more burgundy ‘Ronaldo’, crimson ‘Antraciet’, scarlet ‘Couleur Cardinal’ and ‘Tambour Maitre’, orange and magenta ‘Ballerina’ and maybe a flash of gold from ‘Westpoint’.


I love the way the sun shines through the Centaurea leaves:

Centaurea ‘Jordy’ foliage
Tulipa ‘Tambour Maitre’ (red), ‘Ballerina’ (orange), ‘Burgundy’ (purple) and ‘Antraciet’ (crimson)

Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae is fantastic under the two trees, a rowan and a lime.

Tulipa ‘Ballerina’ with Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae

The maroon-leaved form, E. amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’ is just about recovering from the cold:

Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’ in the shade of the lime tree

Soon there will be lupins, centaurea, peonies, roses, salvias and geraniums.  I can’t wait.

You can see more pictures of the Bright Border here: The Big Bang: the making of a bright border.

Do you have areas where you need to plant more tulips?  Do you garden in colour schemes or bung it all in?  Do you plan or let things evolve? 

I aim to share the fireworks going off in the garden all year around.  If you too crave colour, then join me!  Click on the ‘Follow’ button at the bottom of this post, and you will receive an email each time I post.  I share what is happening in my bright border, rose garden and cutting patch, as well as a few garden visits and days out.

44 Comments Add yours

  1. A fabulous border with some stunning colour combinations. 🌼

    1. Ali says:

      Am glad you enjoyed them. 🤗

  2. Nothing like some bold and vibrant colors to get the heart pumping 🙂 Love the border, and your tulip selections. I love the look of the Euphorbias as well, but unfortunately can’t grow them in my zone.

    1. Ali says:

      I’m glad you like it! How cold does it get in winter where you are?

  3. Susan Beard. says:

    Lovely to see it all taking off now..

    1. Ali says:

      I feel like I can see it growing, Susan! I love this time of year.

  4. Nat says:

    Euphorbias may just have to be my next addition. The “fireglow” is just gorgeous.

    1. Ali says:

      It is isn’t it? It looks good for months, and fab both from a distance and close up. Love it.

  5. janesmudgeegarden says:

    That border is becoming so brightly beautiful. The euphorbia fireglow is a wonderful addition. My garden isn’t really colour coordinated, as I tend to come home from a nursery having bought several things and then wondering where I’m going to put them, rather than planning ahead.

    1. Ali says:

      Having just picked up a Lavatera at the garden centre (was just popping in for some fibre pots, but couldn’t resist a £3 bargain!) I do also have that problem occasionally! I just spent 10 minutes wandering around the garden hmmmming. Had to extend a border just a little bit to make space!

  6. Rupali says:

    Kudos to your hard work Alison. You have a beautiful garden.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Rupali!

  7. Perfect garden visit with my morning coffee! Your border is beautiful. I’ve always been more of a ‘let it evolve’ kind of gardener, but do throw in some planning now and then. I made a photo book years ago about the evolution of my garden, but I think it needs updating! It’s a great way to keep track of things, especially since there was nothing growing except for a few plants. A blanc canvas so to speak! And yes, I will add some tulips and daffodils this fall!

    1. Ali says:

      Ah, thank you! I love reading a post over a coffee too. It is lovely to look back and see how things have changed, isn’t it? It’s interesting seeing how you go in new directions. And sometimes you remember an old friend you haven’t grown for a while and have to reintroduce it!

  8. bcparkison says:

    Of course the flowers are beautiful but the fence caught my attention. Love it.

    1. Ali says:

      They are nice fences, aren’t they? They’re known as post-and-rail fences. Lovely and wonky, and perfect for growing lichen and moss!

  9. Emma Cownie says:

    Your garden is just beautiful. I love your very wide borders, full of flowers!

    1. Ali says:

      The depth makes a big difference when planning plant combinations. Gives that feeling of fullness too.

  10. Tish Farrell says:

    A triumph! Definitely a border with oomph!

    1. Ali says:

      Thanks Tish, that is the look I was going for!

  11. Heyjude says:

    Your border is fabulous! I’d love a wide border, but then it would be practically my entire garden! I am trying to be more colour co-ordinated this year and plan where and what I am going to plant. Still a work in progress, but like you I get immense joy out of seeing things just happen!

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, the interesting thing I found with such a long border is that you do need bigger groups and also repetition, so the range of plants is not necessarily bigger.

      1. Heyjude says:

        I can understand that. They have to make an impact, but that’s what I like. Having a huge clump of let’s say Rudbeckia instead of the measly one or two plants that I could possibly fit in. It’s why I still love visiting the big grand gardens 🙂

      2. Ali says:

        Interestingly, I have visited borders where I think the groups are too large. The double borders at Wisley and Kew are so deep and long that you lose the combinations. Each group can be a couple of metres wide, so if you stand in front all you can see is one variety. I do like to see a nice bit of intermingling!

      3. Heyjude says:

        Sissinghurst does it well, as does Dixter, Hidcote and Nymans where I fell in love with the late summer planting.

      4. Ali says:

        I’ve never been to Hidcote. It is on my list!

      5. Heyjude says:

        A bit far away from you. If you do go there then you must visit Kiftsgate (practically next door. We parked at Hidcote and walked to the other garden).

      6. Ali says:

        Oh wow! Kiftsgate looks amazing too! I think I need a mini-break!

      7. Heyjude says:

        Actually that’s what we did even though the gardens were a 2 hour drive away, but we could only really see one garden on a day trip. A four day stay in the Cotswolds was just the job! Good foodie pubs in the area too. Just saying… 😀 😀

      8. Ali says:

        Oh my goodness, now you’re talking.

      9. Ali says:

        Oh my goodness, your photos and your descriptions at Nymans are divine!!! Love that post! I have visited Nymans a couple of times; the second time trying to time it for the double border, and it was amazing. Your photos are as good as a visit!

      10. Heyjude says:

        I was very happy with the Nymans visit. You just never know what you are going to see in a garden that late in the year, but they are all making an effort to cover the different seasons now.

      11. Ali says:

        Yes, I think Nymans is very much a late-summer garden. Although the wisteria in late spring was something too!

      12. Heyjude says:

        Love wisteria. Always used to time visits to Wisley to see it there.

  12. pommepal says:

    Love it, so vibrant

    1. Ali says:

      This is my little piece of tropical exotica in Kent! Though actually all the plants are hardy, they just have a tropical look in hot colours and dramatic forms.

  13. Chloris says:

    I love your bonfire border. One always needs new tulips, sadly many of them dwindle and disappear from year to year. And there are never enough. I always think I have been incredibly extravagant at buying time but then the next spring I wish I had bought more. I tend to cram lots into big pots for impact these days.

    1. Ali says:

      It is amazing how a border eats up tulips, isn’t it? Yes, pots are definitely the answer. Also avoids the problem of having to dig itsy bitsy holes around the plants, which is always annoying and time-consuming! I’ve decided that my Christmas list is going to be tulip bulbs. Last Christmas it was bare-root roses, and (so far) I have no plans to expand on that front, so it can be tulip year!

  14. bittster says:

    It already looks so full and I see those alliums coming, that will be a real treat! Love the tulips of course. What a nice selection you have and nice that they’ve returned in decent shape. You really can’t have too many tulips 🙂

    1. Ali says:

      No, you can’t can you? They are a ‘more is more’ flower!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s