These are low-growing plants used for the front of flower beds, either annuals raised under glass and bedded out in the spring, or sown in the open where they are to flower, or perennials. Although they are seen more often in public parks these days, rather than in private gardens, they can, nevertheless be most colorful. The contrast of colors is a matter of individual taste. Yellow, red and blue are contrasts in all their shades, and the variations formed by the union of any two of these produces a harmonious effect.
A great variety of plants can be used for this purpose. Edging plants raised from seed include candytuft (iberis), convolvulus, such as ‘Royal Marine’, which carpets the ground, Dimorphotheca, ‘Glistening White’, the cheerful yellow edged white, free-flowering Limnanthes douglasii, Linaria maroccana, mignonette, the sky-blue Nemophila insignis, ‘Tom Thumb’ nasturtiums, midget sweet williams and Virginian stock. Plants used for bedding out in May include dwarf antirrhinums and dahlias, ageratum, dwarf asters, lobelia, mesembryanthemum, nemesia, dwarf petunias, portulaca, Phlox drummondii, tagetes, and verbena. In early spring polyanthus and small primulas, such as the purple ‘Wanda’ and the cherry-pink `E. R. Janes’ are most attractive and good use should be made of crocuses, scillas, muscari and other miniature bulbous plants. Pansies and violas may be bedded out to give color throughout the summer months.
For a more permanent edging use can be made of box (buxus), dwarf lavender, and the trailing evergreen Euonymus radicans, particularly in its silver and golden variegated forms. A neat form of edging between a lawn and a border is made with paving stones interplanted with various dianthus, thymes, campanulas, aubretias and saxifrages.
For the formal bedding schemes the following are among the many plants used for edging: alternantheras with various-colored foliage which can be clipped to keep them dwarf, echeverias with their beautifully colored rosettes, the mat-forming Cerastium tomentosum, or snow-in-summer; mesembryanthemums in many brilliant colors, sedums, sempervivums, the creeping Herniaria glabra, and Stellaria graminea aurea. These and many other bedding plants are still used extensively in formal planting schemes in parks, particularly at seaside resorts.