Summer borders at Nymans

Colourful summer borders in the gardens at Nymans, West Sussex

From planting out in early May, until the first frosts of autumn, the display in the Wall Garden is a feast for all the senses.

The garden is well known for its vibrant, flamboyant mixture of flowers and has an outstanding display of bulbs in the springtime, as well as annuals, trees and shrubs throughout the summer filling every nook and cranny.

The summer borders in bloom
The summer borders in bloom

Summer borders

The Messel family lived predominantly at Nymans in the spring and summer months, returning to their London home in the winter, so the garden was planted to hold most interest in these months. One of the highlights of the garden are the famous summer borders which were planted in the Edwardian period to give maximum colour impact -  they're still as flamboyant and colourful today as they were back then.

Verona fountain in the wall garden
Verona fountain in the wall garden

Planting Scheme

The summer borders consist of a double border measuring 50 meters on each side, with the beautiful Verona marble fountain as the focal point. The border is a mix of herbaceous perennials which tier down to a double row of annuals at the front. Dahlias, Cannas and Sunflowers also feature in the borders. We plant around 5,000 annuals into the front of the border at the end of May each year which are all grown here in the Nursery.

Sunflowers at Nymans
Sunflowers at Nymans


The colour scheme for the blocks of annuals change each year and every effort is taken to make sure the colours do not clash with the structure of grasses and perennials staying the same each year. This year we've planted some exciting new additions such as Coreopsis ‘Early Sunrise’, Coleus ‘Chocolate Mint’, Sunflower ‘Munchkin’, Zinnia profusion ‘Cherry’ and Calendula ‘Indian Prince'. 

The border flowers well into October, but they reach a climax of dazzling colour and beauty in July and August. The plants you might expect to see in flower are a mixture of heleniums, rubeckias, veronicastrum, cosmos, salvias and a mixture of annuals.

Elegant and bright - red salvias
Red salvias


Nymans is a garden of inspiration and experimentation and as part of this ethos we have designed and planted an exciting new Salvia border, with around 48 different cultivars and species near the rose garden.

The colour and plant combinations last long into the season you will even see some species such as Salvia leucantha, Salvia elegans and Salvia uliginosa flowering well into November. Salvias not only look good on their own but sit well with a range of plants such as Dahlias, Penstemon, grasses and Phygelius. Salvias are easily propagated and can be grown in array of places from pots to long herbaceous borders.