Some Edgy Ideas

FN 1.1 ASP Sprengeri 0001
Asparagus Fern when you least expect it

One of our garden beds is up against a building, under a tree, and behind some shrubs. Heavy shade like that can be a challenge, so we took some regular old Blue Ribbon Asparagus Fern and used it as an edging. We’re happy with the results because it’s a look you don’t see everyday. We just used straight Asparagus Fern—there’s nothing fancy about it.

FN 1.8 Bed 8 MG 4927
Experiment with the new and the old familiar

Take a cue from our Fern excursion and challenge yourself to think outside the box when it comes to edging, whether it’s for spring, summer, or fall. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new or old familiar plants in atypical situations. Sometimes you’ll find you’ve come up with a beautiful display.

FN 1.2 SAL Mysty 0004
Plant ‘Mysty’ for me

For example, we have a new, shorter Blue Ribbon Salvia called ‘Mysty’. It’s a cousin to the ‘Black and Blue’ or ‘Mystic Spires’, which is a larger, vegetative Salvia. This one is more compact; it’s a very good bloomer, very dense. Typically we use Salvia as a mid-to-back of the border plant but ‘Misty’ would be good down front in a larger garden. It grows about 12–18 inches.

FN 1.5 CAP Calico 0035 copy
‘Calico’ pepper stirs the pot—there’s a lot going on here

Ornamental Peppers are always fun to use because they lend extra texture and dimension to a design. The breeders have been doing a lot of work so there’s a whole plethora of new varieties: green leaf, dark leaf, variegated, orange fruit, red fruit, purple, or yellow fruit, or all mixed on one plant. Some colorful Blue Ribbon Peppers to try are ‘Black Pearl’, ‘Chilly Chili’, ‘Sangria’ and ‘Medusa’.

One important caveat: be careful where you use Peppers. When we plant them where they’re easily accessible, people—including children—tend to pick them and eat them, and some varieties are extremely hot.

FN 1.7 Bed 15 Marigolds MG 2278
Retro marigolds for a rich jolt of color

Marigolds often get overlooked because they’ve been around forever. Some designers feel that they don’t want to use them because Grandma had them in her garden. Well, that just makes them retro so there you go—they’re cool. Plus they’re good, tough plants that produce a nice bed of color, which is reason enough to use them. Try our Blue Ribbon Taishan Marigolds in Gold, Orange, or Yellow. We even have a Blue Ribbon Vanilla in creamy white.

A good rule of thumb is to keep some basic old school classics on hand and make them fresh by creating innovative color patterns and texture combinations.

FN 1.10 COL Vino 0001 copy
Coleus ‘Vino’

Now, take one step back from the edge. Keep in mind that whatever you use behind that edging will affect its appearance. For a dramatic look we like to use a darker Coleus variety—‘Vino’, perhaps—to make the colors in front of it pop.

Remember, if you use any trailing plants near high-traffic walkways make sure the path is kept clear for strolling visitors.