Absolutely Fabulous

This is not a tasteful post.  It is slightly garish.  A bit Ab Fab.  But I adore these colour combinations in the bright border.

Like Rosa ‘Benjamin Britten’ with Buddleia ‘Royal Red’.

Buddleia ‘Royal Red’ and Rosa ‘Benjamin Britten’

I can’t get enough of the English rose ‘Benjamin Britten’.  I’ve already written a whole post about him.  But he won’t let me rest.

Here he is in focus, so that you can really admire his fine form.

Rosa ‘Benjamin Britten’

With the sun shining through his petals:

Rosa ‘Benjamin Britten’

And close up, so that you can see the soft chalkiness on the outside of the petals.

Rosa ‘Benjamin Britten’

Is this bordering on obsession?  Probably.  I will tear myself away from Benjamin.

This is almost the same colour combination, but with different textures.  The Geranium is airy and light, and the Phlox is pillowy.  They are looking just a little shabby chic.

Geranium ‘Anne Thomson’ and Phlox paniculata ‘Starfire’

But I can’t complain.  This phlox has just flowered on and on, since I posted about it here in Starfire.  I really love the dark depths of its panicles.  I know you can’t feel it, but phlox have the softest blooms.  I have to just bounce my fingers off them, and ruffle their hair a little.

Phlox paniculata ‘Starfire’

This is another phlox that flowers on and on.  This time it’s Phlox paniculata ‘Purple Flame’, looking rather marvellous with another English rose, ‘Summer Song’.

Rosa ‘Summer Song’ and Phlox Paniculata ‘Purple Flame’

I get terribly frustrated with this rose’s ungainly growth habit (see Comparing the growth habit of different roses) and you can see how some of its buds are looking a bit shrivelled, but it does have a unique colouring and a certain grace.

Rosa ‘Summer Song’
Rosa ‘Summer Song’

This is probably the best it has looked all summer.

Rosa ‘Summer Song’

I’m starting to see some definite autumn colour in the bright border, with the golden foliage of the Crocosmia and the red-stemmed Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’.

Clockwise from left: Euphorbia grifithii ‘Fireglow’, Buddleia ‘Miss Ruby’, Crocosmia ‘Emberglow’, Geranium ‘Anne Thomson’

I cannot recommend Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’ enough.  It is fabulous from the first sprouting in spring to its flaming bonfire in autumn.

Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’

Euphorbia schlingii is another one to receommend.  It is tall, so I use it at the back of the border.  It is starting to mottle, but what beautiful mottling.

Euphorbia schlingii

I need to do a little bit of editing in this border this autumn.  Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae (Mrs Robb’s Bonnet) is coming out.  It is just too much of a spreader, and has not been respecting the personal space of my lupins.  It is going to be a long process, extricating its wandering roots, but I am going to be operating a zero-tolerance policy.

Gladioli and Euphorbia foliage

I haven’t mentioned much of the third English rose in my bright border, ‘Thomas a Becket’.  This was wonderful in its first flush, and has had a long lull.  But now he is back with a vengeance, dripping blooms all over the place.

Rosa ‘Thomas a Becket’

He has very lax stems, that bend and bow with the weight of bloom.

Rosa ‘Thomas a Becket’

He looks fantastic with Buddleia ‘Miss Ruby’ and Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’.

Clockwise from top left: Buddleia ‘Miss Ruby’, Rosa ‘Thomas a Becket’ and Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’.

One more?

Rosa ‘Thomas a Becket’

Buddleia ‘Miss Ruby’ gets a bit neglected, and is another victim of The Wandering Hands of Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae.  This buddleia was chosen for sentimental reasons, being the name of our dog, rather then garden-worthiness.  Her blooms are rather small and quick to go over.  But I do rather like her all the same.  I like the hair-net look.


After all this magenta, let’s have a little interlude of lilac-blue, from Geranium ‘Rozanne’.  This geranium is always hailed as the longest and most prolific flowerer of all geraniums.  She does do a good job, but I think I prefer ‘Orion’ or ‘Azure Rush’ (see also A Gallery of Geraniums).

Geranium ‘Rozanne’

A much darker purple comes from Salvia ‘Amistad’.  I love the dark shine to the unopened buds at the top of the stem.  They have a roughly chiselled look.  So handsome.

Salvia ‘Amistad’

I have one spike of Gladiolus ‘Black Star’ keeping going.  It’s as though it saved itself in order to shine out all alone.

Gladiolus ‘Black Star’

Very late to the party in the Bright Border is Persicaria ‘Blackfield’.  This nestles under the rowan tree, being reasonably happy in its shade.  It is another victim of that swine, Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae.

Persicaria ‘Blackfield’

In a few weeks, these modest little flowers will be one of the few pops of colour in this border, and I will be glad of them.

This next image feels like a novelty after the bone-dry summer we’ve had.  Water droplets standing proud of Alchemilla mollis.  Where would I be without Lady’s Mantle?

Alchemilla mollis

I will leave you with a long view of the Bright Border.  You can see it is getting a little tired, and losing its swagger.  But I will just reassure it for now that it looks Absolutely Fabulous, darling.


If you too have a penchant for colour, you might like My Top 10 Colour Combinations 2018.  Or you might like to see more of the Bright Border in Supersonic or Beautiful Bokeh.

If you want to join our little plantaholic rehab group for ageing rockstars, then click on the ‘Follow’ button below.  You will get an email each time I publish a post, to keep you bang-on trend, whatever the season.

18 Comments Add yours

  1. So lovely. You still have so much blooming, My borders are mostly green now as we settle into fall. The nice thing is, I can still enjoy your garden and photos since your seasons are not as severe as ours. Hopefully we’ll have a fall this year and not go right from the heat of summer to the cold of winter.

    1. Ali says:

      That’s really interesting. I do like having four distinct seasons. Though I would love it if summer were twice as long and autumn and winter a little shorter. But things as they are really does make me appreciate spring and summer.

  2. bcparkison says:

    It may be close to the end of the season but every thing still looks wonderful to me.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you. It is still bringing me a lot of pleasure.

  3. Chloris says:

    I love the blooms of late September. Your roses are still looking fabulous. I agree about ‘Summer Song’, what a gorgeous colour, but I wish she would stand up straight and not hang her head.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes! Posture is everything!

  4. Dee says:

    I think I must like garish too. It works in our harsh sunlight. 😉

  5. gaiainaction says:

    Such beautiful colours! A joy to see and food for the soul, thank you.

  6. dogwooddays says:

    Thanks for all the vibrant flowers – I’ve spent much of the day in bed with a cold, so it’s lovely to see such bright visions now! And one of my favourites – Rosa ‘Summer Song’ – oh my!

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you for such a lovely comment. X

  7. Heaven … pure heaven! Truly beautiful and makes me dream of having a garden again. I’ve been doing my in-laws garden all weekend and am clearly unfit as I woke up this morning seriously stiff! Happy days even if it wasn’t my garden! Katie x

    1. Ali says:

      I’m very pleased to hear from you, Katie! Hope you are ok. I sent a thingy for your website – I don’t seem to get email notifications for comments so a) apologies for not replying in previous conversations and b) I’m missing you already!

  8. Heyjude says:

    Your garden is still singing loudly. Geranium ‘Anne Thomson’ seems to have been flowering forever, but I must admit I do like the blue ones more.

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