Having carefully planned your drifts of color and complementary plantings, you can introduce edging plants for a pretty finish. Soft billowy plants such as catmint, lady’s mantle, little violas, dianthus, and corydalis will blur the precision of adjacent paths and conceal razor-sharp lawn edges.
The best edging plants are mat forming and evergreen, for a permanently defined boundary. If you want a neater result, clip them into shape from time to time. Try the pale mauve Campanula poscharkyana – deadheading it after the first flush of flowers in July often produces a second flowering later on. The Cape marigold has pretty daisy like flowers and dark-green leaves; Anthemis punctate ssp. Cupaniana is similar, with filigreend gray leaves.
Where a border meets the lawn, lay a simple paved edge between the two, level with the lawn. This makes it easier to mow right up to the border’s edge without trimming off any overhanging flowers and helps to keep the edging plants from spreading too far.
COLOR RIGHT UP TO THE EDGE
ABOVE: Nepeta “Six Hills Giant” forms a margin of dense color when planted with red valerian.
RIGHT: Lady’s mantle marks the edge of a border with a froth of greeny-yellow flowers. Its attractive leaves are slightly cup-shaped and often hold a silvery dewdrop in early morning.
OPPOSITE: A mass of catmint forms a colorful border to a rose bed. Clip back hard if it starts to get out of hand.