Bold and Colorful Herbs

Experiment with color when planting herbs. A simple color scheme in a random pattern makes a dramatic statement.
From: DK Books - Herbs
Allium Hollandicum Purple Sensation Round Blooms

Allium Hollandicum Purple Sensation Round Blooms

Photo by: DK - The Complete Gardener's Guide © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - The Complete Gardener's Guide , 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

The deep purple, spherical flowerheads of the allium ‘Purple Sensation’ appear in early summer on sturdy stems. This stately allium looks stunning when planted with silver-leaved shorter plants.

Herbs don't have to be planted in regimented or orderly patterns to be effective. Try to keep the color scheme simple when creating these types of planting as too many diverse colors will create a kaleidoscope effect. Experiment with different shades of just one or two colors, such as the reddish-purple and green used here. 

Materials Needed: 

  • 10 x Allium 'Purple Sensation' 
  • 1 x Foeniculum vulgare 'Purpureum' 
  • 1 x Lavandula pedunculata 
  • 1 x Salvia officinalis 'Purpurascens' 
  • 1 x Alchemilla mollis 
  • 1 x Buxus sempervirens

Border Basics

Size: 3x3 feet
Suits: Perennial herbs and bulbs
Soil: Any fertile, sharply-draining soil
Site: A sunny sheltered corner

Planting and Aftercare 

Thoroughly cultivate the soil, removing all perennial weeds. Position all the woody and herbaceous plants and make sure that they'll have enough space to grow — don't forget that the fennel (Foeniculum) can grow to over 6 feet tall. Once these have been planted, put the alliums in between all the other herbs. In the fall, you'll be able to buy dry bulbs, but at other times of the year, only containerized bulbs are likely to be available. 

Prune and deadhead regularly to keep everything looking its best, but don't remove the foliage of the alliums until it has all died back naturally. The alchemilla may self-seed well, but if the entire plant is cut back hard as the flowers fade, a second flush of fresh green leaves will keep growing until well into fall and winter. 

Allium 'Purple Sensation'
Well-drained soil, full sun

Foeniculum vulgare 'Purpureum'
Well-drained soil, moist soil, full sun

Lavandula pendunculata
Plants that survive outside in mild regions or sheltered sites, well-drained soil, full sun, award-winning plant

Salvia officinalis 'Purpurascens'
Plants that survive outside in mild regions or sheltered sites, well-drained soil, full sun, award-winning plant

Alchemilla mollis
Moist soil, full sun, partial or dappled shade

Buxus sempervirens
Well-drained soil, full sun, partial or dappled shade, award-winning plant

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