The Herbaceous Border

First laid out in 1946, this planting is a classic example of the traditional English herbaceous border.

Unlike other areas of the Garden, this border relies entirely on herbaceous perennials. These die back to a rootstock each winter before bursting back into life again in spring and flowering through the summer.

The Herbaceous Border in late summer

The planting is designed to provide interest from April to October. The display begins with tulips in a range of colours, followed by early, mid-season and late flowering perennials. The plants are arranged in layers, with the smaller plants positioned at the front of the border and the taller plants toward the back. Occasionally we allow a few of the larger plants to make their way to the front to break up the formality.

Key plants are repeated along the border to create a sense of continuity to the planting. Peonies, lupins, phlox and asters are utilised for this role, flowering in succession through season. 

Traditional, hand woven staking is used to support the plants when in full growth. All of the material is cut annually from our coppice at The Harcourt Arboretum, providing us with a sustainable source of staking.

Although the concept of this border is traditional, the plant selection is contemporary. By selecting new cultivars we ensure the inclusion of plants that perform better for longer and are more resistant to pests and disease.

See the Herbaceous Border in full flower here.