VARIETY is Not the Spice of the Garden

When planning your flower border, do you automatically want to plant every type of flower that is grown? Unfortunately, most of us who love to raise flowers neglect thinking of the overall effect in our search for something new.

When I plan improvements in the perennial border, I usually relax in the lawn chair, observing the bare spots in the garden many times during the gardening season.

Not Garden SpicePin

If you are planning to order various colors of phlox, veronicas, or Lythrum, resist the temptation to order several of one color and plant them at intervals about six feet apart through the border. 

The bed size will regulate your planting, but the repeated bloom of the same flower in the border will tie your border together and avoid the scattered look.

Many flowers are too expensive to buy on a mass scale. These flowers are welcome on the border as an accent or specimen.

Advantages To Dividing Plants

There are advantages to dividing plants. Many flowers are attacked by insects and diseases. 

If you have other plants started you will never have to reinvest in a plant you have purchased. This is a decided advantage unless you have an unlimited garden budget.

Repeat planting doesn’t mean every flower that is planted must be repeated in the border but several major flowers give an organized look to the garden.

Shasta Daisies

After Shasta daisies reach maturity (they can be divided often), I use them in clumps of three throughout the border, spacing them the desired distance apart. 

When a garden visitor arrives while daisies are at their peak, spaced planting gives the illusion of having a garden of daisies when there are but a few clumps. 

After the Shastas are dormant, they take little room while another major flower, such as veronica, is coming into bloom.

Clumps of Irises

Clumps of irises through the border give a garden of color in the spring, and the sharpness of the foliage adds to the contrast of plants through the summer. 

If you plant irises in the border, keep them planted in fairly high mounds to give good drainage and avoid rot.


One of the best flowers for the garden effect is Lythrum. They have a long blooming period, and when sheared back, they will bloom again for most of the summer. 

Lythrum `Morden’s Pink’ is a choice variety that grows three to four feet tall and can be separated often or left in huge clumps without affecting its pink spiral-like bloom. 

Lythrum ‘Robert’ grows about 18” inches tall, and the bright pink enhances other flowers in the border.

Try this repeat method of gardening. Too much variety in the garden is as much distraction as too much jewelry on a well-groomed woman.

44659 by  Virginia Pennington