When you get right down to it, perennials appropriate for edging a bed are hard to find. Many of those short enough to fill the bill tend to sprawl and dominate all the space. The first plant I chose for the border of my front garden was Nepeta ‘Blue Wonder.’ I liked the long lasting sprays of blue flowers it produced and I figured it could endure the hot sun and dry conditions there. It was pretty, but quickly became a maintenance nightmare, taking over the small beds and covering most of the walkway unless I cut it back. You can see here how dominant it got.
I’m always looking for plants that flower abundantly and have good foliage you can rely on later. Even better are those that don’t require deadheading or look ratty after flowering.
Calamintha ‘White Cloud’ is one I’ve come to rely on, and I don’t know why more people don’t plant it. It’s tough as nails-hardy from zone 5-9, and doesn’t mind dry soil or beating down sun. It’s in the mint family but isn’t aggressive, in fact-it grows rather slowly. It’s just the right size - about 10” high with sprays of tiny white flowers with foliage that that gives off the aroma of peppermint as you touch or brush past it. It’s a tidy little beauty that adds fullness to the front of the border without taking over the show. Plus, it doesn’t need deadheading or cutting back to keep it looking good.
Its airy flowers lend a soft quality to the front of the garden that can stand alone or with other plants.
You can use it to knit other plants together in the middle of a border.
Or you can pair it up with foliage plants such as multihued heucheras and small grasses or this combination of purple sage and golden oregano I put together.