Hello again! We are Ross & Ian – The Fixer Upper’s, known on Instagram for our house and garden renovations. We are currently embarking on our second renovation of a Victorian House and Garden in Hampshire and working with Hillier to bring our garden ideas to life!

Catch up with us on Instagram @ross_and_ian


I can’t believe we are in July already!? July is a great time to look at your borders to see where you have some space for late summer flowering plants. When we think of July we think of the ‘hot’ colours like orange, red and yellow. Although these are not the colours we have chosen so far for our garden, I would love to have a ‘Hot Border somewhere as the colours can offer such joy!

We have therefore chosen our top ‘Hot Border’ picks for July. All of the plants selected will offer your borders much-needed colour throughout summer, into autumn and through to the first frost. Make sure to share your gardens and tag us @ross_and_ian and Hillier @hilliergardencentres in them! We would love to see what you choose.

Founded in 1864 by plantsman Edwin Hillier, the company remains family-run with the fifth generation now actively involved in the family business, looking to inspire the creation of green living spaces for now and the future. Through the Hillier plant nursery situated in Hampshire, over one million plants are grown each year!

Over the years, Hillier has been, and continue today, to be responsible for numerous plant introductions, many of which have become essentials in British gardens. Along with the tradition of innovation through plant introductions, Hillier is also the most successful exhibitor in the history of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, having been awarded 74 consecutive gold medals.


Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

A clump forming perennial that is best in full sun. From early summer to mid-autumn, it produces dark maroon and dark A hardy perennial with sword-shaped, pleated, mid-green leaves. Arching stems of bold tomato-red flowers are produced in abundance in late summer. Add this plant to a ’Hot Border’ for a bright injection of colour. Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ can grow up to 1.5 metres and a late summer flowering plant.

Hillier plant care advice

Height x SpreadPruningSoilSunWater
1m x 1.5mCut back faded flower stems and foliage in winterAny good, well-drained soilFull sun to partial shadeKeep well-watered until established.

Shop Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ online or visit your local Hillier Garden Centre


Dahlia ‘Mystic Spirit’

Dahlias are a must in any garden. Blooming from mid-summer until the first frosts, they are a top performer. The dark bronze, almost black, colouring of the foliage creates a stunning backdrop for the single flowers of light orange with pointed petals and a dark brown (progressing to orange) central disc.

Hillier plant care advice

Height x SpreadPruningSoilSunWater
80cm x 60cmDig tubers before the first frosts and keep in a cool, frost-free area. Replant in a pot the following springAny good. well-drained soilFull sun to partial shade.Keep well-watered until established.

Shop Dahlia ‘Mystic Spirit’ online or Visit your local Hillier Garden Centre


Gaillardia x grandiflora ‘Celebration’

This herbaceous perennial takes a bushy form and flowers from early summer to early autumn. In stunning colour of reds, oranges and yellows, the flowers sit proudly upon upright stems that also feature interesting lance shaped, mid-green leaves.

Attractive to butterflies and drought tolerant, this plant makes a great addition to a mixed or herbaceous border.

Hillier plant care advice

Height x SpreadPruningSoilSunWater
0.4m x 0.35mDeadhead regularly and cut back after floweringAny good, well-drained soil.Full sunKeep well-watered until established.

Shop Gaillardia x grandiflora ‘Celebration’ online or Visit your local Hillier Garden Centre


Gazania ‘Tiger Stripes’

A plant that loves full sun, ‘Tiger Stripes’ is a low-growing perennial and is great for bedding. The flowers will close up on dull days but when the sun shines, so will the plant!

The daisy-like flowers are in shades of red and yellow stripes and bloom throughout the summer.

Hillier plant care advice

Height x SpreadPruningSoilSunWater
0.5m x 0.5mDeadhead regularly to prolong floweringAny good, well-drained soilFull sunKeep well-watered until established.

Visit your local Hillier Garden Centre


Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’

One of the first grasses we ever purchased. It has so much interest to it and you will be easily drawn to its wonderful colour.

Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’ stands erect with linear green leaves suffused with a deep red, producing silvery flower clusters in late summer. The grass is easy to grow in most moist, well-drained soils and may need winter protection if planted in a colder area.

Hillier plant care advice

Height x SpreadPruningSoilSunWater
0.3m x 0.4mCut stems level with ground in MarchMoist but well-drained soilFull sunKeep well-watered until established.

Shop Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’ online or Visit your local Hillier Garden Centre


Lobelia x speciosa ‘Starship Deep Rose’ (Starship series)

This herbaceous perennial provides reddish-pink flowers from summer to autumn. Forming clumps and standing upright, the plant grows as an annual, producing ovate dark green leaves astride black stems. Perfect for an injection of colour in a tropical border.

Caution: Harmful if eaten

Hillier plant care advice

Height x SpreadPruningSoilSunWater
0.6m x 0.4mPrune after flowering Moist but well-drained soilFull sun to partial shadeKeep well-watered until established.

Shop Lobelia x speciosa ‘Starship Deep Rose’ online or Visit your local Hillier Garden Centre


Ophinopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’

A really unusual plant with black leaves, ‘Nigrescens’ is an evergreen perennial featuring clusters of delicate purple flowers that form glossy black berries once the flowers have faded. If you’re looking for a plant to complement a modern garden design then this will work perfectly.

Hillier plant care advice

Height x SpreadPruningSoilSunWater
0.5m x 0.5mNone requiredMoist but well-drained soilFull sun to partial shadeKeep well-watered until established.

Visit your local Hillier Garden Centre


Pennisetum setaceum ‘Fireworks’

A hardy, perennial grass with colourful leaves with stripes of red, pink and green, maturing to a rich shade of burgundy. If planted away from full light in a shaded area, the leaves will turn green with white margins. From mid-summer to autumn, beautiful deep purple flowers will complement against other ‘hot’ colours like red, pink, yellow.

The fluffy seedheads can be also cut to make elegant dried flowers.

Great in borders and containers.

Hillier plant care advice

Height x SpreadPruningSoilSunWater
90cm x 45cmRemove dead foliage in springAny good, well-drained soil.Full sunKeep well watered until established.

Shop Pennisetum setaceum ‘Fireworks’ online or visit your local Hillier Garden Centre


Rudbeckia Smileyz ‘Laughing’

This compact and floriferous perennial produces green foliage branching off of spikey green stems and flowers throughout summer. The large daisy-like blooms give the plant its alternative name ‘Black-eyed Susan’ with their dark brown button-like centre and suffusing deep orange to yellow tipped leaves.

Flowering from June to October, choose this bright addition to light up your borders.

Hillier plant care advice

Height x SpreadPruningSoilSunWater
0.5m x 0.45mCut down to the ground in spring to encourage new growthAny good, well-drained soil.Full sunKeep well-watered until established.

Shop Rudbeckia Smileyz ‘Laughing’ online or Visit your local Hillier Garden Centre


Salvia ‘Blue Note’

A true blue flower! The royal blue flowers of this bushy plant only grow to 75cm tall making it great for filling in smaller spaces around the garden. We would add this to a border for contrast, planting next to deep pinks or yellows or why not plant near to a sitting area to enjoy the fragrance of the deep green leaves?.

Hillier plant care advice

Height x SpreadPruningSoilSunWater
0.75m x 0.5mRemove faded flower stems to encourage re-blooming and rejuvenate fresh foliage. Cut back in winterAny good, well-drained soil.Full sunKeep well-watered until established.

Visit your local Hillier Garden Centre


Salvia x jamensis ‘Hot Lips’

One of the first Salvias we ever planted. It comes back year after year and the bees love it!

This bushy plant stays evergreen (if not cut back by the frost!). The attractive two-tone flowers of bright red and white are elevated by the small fragrant leaves. As summer draws to a close and the days become shorter, you may notice that the flowers become entirely white.

Throughout the plant’s flowering stage, from July to August, it stays floriferous up until the first frost.

Hillier plant care advice

Height x SpreadPruningSoilSunWater
1m x 1mRemove faded flower stems to encourage re-blooming and rejuvenate fresh foliage. Cut back in winter Any good, well-drained soilFull sun Keep well-watered until established.

Visit your local Hillier Garden Centre


Uncinia rubra ‘Everflame’

Another interesting grass that loves a sunny spot and produces small dark-brown flowers in summer. Also known as ‘Belinda’s Find’, ‘Everflame’ is a small plant with bronze leaves that look sleek in appearance with vibrant red edging. As the plant doesn’t get too tall, it’s great for smaller gardens!

Hillier plant care advice

Height x SpreadPruningSoilSunWater
0.3m x 0.35m None requiredMoist but well-drained soilFull sunKeep well-watered until established.

Available in your local Hillier Garden Centre


Veronica longifolia ‘First Glory’ & ‘First Love’

We are bit in love with Veronicas at the moment. Last year we purchased, from Hillier, a Veronica ‘First Lady’ which has perfectly pointed flowers and stands up to 1.2m with narrow leaves. We are so glad to see it comes in other colours which we will be adding to our borders this year, to enjoy throughout summer and autumn!

Veronica longifolia ‘First Glory’

Hillier plant care advice

Height x SpreadPruningSoilSunWater
40cm x 40cm Prune off spent blooms to encourage more flowersAny good, well-drained soilFull sun.Keep well-watered until established.
Veronica longifolia ‘First Love’
Height x SpreadPruningSoilSunWater
40cm x 40cm Prune off spent blooms to encourage more flowersAny good, well-drained soilFull sun.Keep well-watered until established.

Visit your local Hillier Garden Centre


About Ross & Ian

Ross and Ian met in June 2014 and purchased their first property together in August 2016, a 1930’s semi-detached house in Berkshire which was in need of being ‘fixed up’. The house has been rented out for 19 years so was in need of some serious TLC, a lot of the original features were moved (including fireplaces and internal doors) which meant the house had lost its charm and character and this was something Ross and Ian wanted to add back to the house.

So with an exciting renovation challenge ahead, Ross and Ian decided to document their journey through Instagram as a way of looking back on all the things they would go on to achieve as well as share updates with friends and family, and so, ‘Our 1930s Fixer Upper’ was created.

Fast forward to 2022 and now with an audience of over 100,000 followers, Ross and Ian have sold their 1930s home and have moved into a new Victorian ‘fixer upper’, that is once again in desperate need of being brought back to its former glory.


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