Let’s design a new sunny border to brighten up these dark winter days! Which plants will thrive in Burgundy’s clay soil? Winters can be very cold here (-17 Co is no exception). To make things worse there was no rainfall in July and August. For most plants those are stressful conditions. And who has time for careful maintenance of a garden these days? And what to do with the garden of a ‘maison secondaire’ in Burgundy? We must choose plants that love heavy chalky clay soil, are fully hardy and resistant to drought. Also plants must be not too attractive for rabbits, slugs and sometimes deer. And to add to this already tall order: they must be attractive and must not fall over.
Plants seen in the neighbourhood
Omnipresent in the (neglected) gardens of our neighbours are the orange daylily (Hemerocallis) and the yellow goldenrod (Solidago). Not very original, but they are a good starting point and of course we can always go for more interesting varieties/colours within the same plant family.
More plants for a dry and sunny border
In my Burgundy garden I try not to water my plants. As a consequence I see phlox, asters, coneflower (Rudbeckia) and Helen’s Flower (Heleniums) suffer in extended dry periods. Lovely as they are, you may want to stay away from those. Other plants are less suitable because they are quite invasive: bellflower (Campanula persicifolia ‘Coerulea’). But ornamental grasses are doing wonderfully here! Very useful: crane’s bill (Geranium, many varieties and colours), sage (Salvia), goat’s beard (Aruncus), Irises, tickseed (Coreopsis), yarrow (Achillea), catmint (Nepeta), wild marjoram (Origanum), Phlomis, blue star flower (Amsonia orientalis), stonecrop (Sedum) and peonies of course! And let’s not forget vervain (Verbena bonariensis). Not fully hardy, but selfseeds freely, and so pops up in unexpected places (not everybody likes that but I do).
Interesting plants to try
So these plants could well be the backbone of our future drought-resistant border in Burgundy. Plants marked with an asterisk I came across in my extensive garden library and on the Internet. They should well be worth trying. And since I find it hard to go without asters, phlox and coneflowers I looked for drought-resistant varieties. Here’s what I found: Aster oblongifolia ‘October Skies’, Aster ericoides ‘Blue Star’ and ‘Pink Star’, Phlox amplifolia and, closely related to the amplifolia family, Phlox paniculata ‘David’. Also Rudbeckia missouriensis. I’ve put al these plants in an Excel sheet and selected them by flowering period.
I’m going to try and make a border that flowers the whole year round. But we live here full-time. When you are in your ‘maison secondaire’ only during the summer you must of course choose plants that flower in the months you are there. I’ve chosen varieties in the colours that I like. Sometimes there are alternatives. Feel free to ask me. Other questions are also welcome and perhaps you would like to share the plants thriving in your Burgundy garden with the readers of Burgundy Today!
|30 Plants for a dry and sunny border||English name||↑||❀|
|Achillea filipendula 'Parkers Variety'||Yarrow||100 cm||7-8|
|Agastache rugosa 'Blue Fortune'||Anise Hyssop||80 cm||7-9|
|Amsonia orientalis||Blue Star Flower||40 cm||6-7|
|Aquilegia 'Ruby Port'||Columbine||70 cm||5-6|
|Aruncus 'Horatio'||Goat's beard||120 cm||6-7|
|Asclepias tuberosa*||Butterfly Weed||50 cm||7-9|
|Asphodeline lutea||Jacob's wood||90 cm||4-6|
|Aster oblongifolius 'October Skies'||Aster||40 cm||8-10|
|Centaurea montana 'Carnea'||Cornflower||40 cm||5-6|
|Coreopsis verticillata 'Moonbeam'||Thickseed||60 cm||7-8|
|Dianthus carthusianorum*||Carnation||70 cm||6-7|
|Dictamnus albus 'Albiflorus'*||Gas plant||90 cm||6-7|
|Eryngium alpinum*||Sea Holly||70 cm||6-7|
|Geranium 'Rozanne'||Cranesbill||50 cm||5-10|
|Iris germanica||Sword lily||80 cm||5/9|
|Limonium latifolium*||Sea lavender||40 cm||7-8|
|Nepeta racemosa 'Walkers Low'||Catmint||60 cm||6-10|
|Origanum vulgare 'Herrenhaussen'||Wild Marjoran||50 cm||7-9|
|Paeonia||Garden Peony||100 cm||6-7|
|Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah'||Switch Grass||120 cm||9-10|
|Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Hameln'||Fountain Grass||150 cm||9-10|
|Perovskia abrotanoides 'Little Spire'||Perovskia||120 cm||8-9|
|Phlomis russeliana||Jerusalem Sage||80 cm||6-7|
|Phlox amplifolia||Largeleave Phlox||140 cm||6-9|
|Rudbeckia missouriensis||Coneflower||50 cm||6-9|
|Salvia nemerosa 'Caradonna'||Sage||60 cm||6-8|
|Saponaria lempergii 'Max Frei'*||Soapwort||35 cm||7-9|
|Sedum telephium 'Matrona'||Stonecrop||80 cm||8-10|
|Stipa calamagrostis||Feather grass||90 cm||7-8|
Next month: plants for the partially shady border. In March: How to make a planting plan. In April: how to go about realising it. To be continued!