Two Plant Combinations

Much of the time I find myself wandering around the garden with a new plant in hand just trying to find a good home. It usually happens as a result of an impulse buy or a plant swap/present that I wasn't really counting on getting. Sometimes I see the plant and think "that would look good over there by the..." but other times I end up just sticking it in a temporary location that ends up not being quite so temporary. Whatever the case I usually have thematic idea for a garden spot, like a color or texture. Take the sedum garden for an example. I have all sorts of foliage colors in the garden but they are all succulent sedums with the same leaf texture and are extremely drought tolerant. I also have a tendency to plant bluish colored flowers more often than others which can be seen in the front gardens with the salvias, Russian sages, and fall blooming asters. This year I've made a concerted effort to try a couple of new ideas, or maybe they are old ideas just done in a different way.

The first combination I'll show you uses a purple and gold bloom combination. Those colors are fairly common together for a good reason, they look really good! Here I've paired up my 'Purple Homestead' Verbena with 'Jethro Tull' Coreopsis.

The next combination has a lot more to do with foliage than flowers, OK it doesn't have anything to do with flowers at all! I was inspired by Nancy Ondra's book Foliage this past spring and I was determined to add a couple of the elements from her book into my garden. Persian Shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus) was the one element I based it around. It has a wonderful blend of colors in its foliage. I matched it up with some standard old Dusty Miller and a couple of ornamental sweet potato vines. Here is the result:

The dark colors are very prominant and I would like to add some more lighter silver colors to the combination. I'm working on propagating more 'Powis Castle' artemisia which would look really nice behind this area as a silver backdrop for the dark purple shades of the Persian shield and ornamental sweet potato. The Dusty Millers are getting covered up and may need some pinching to encourage more bushiness. To the right side of the picture you can actually see a couple leaves from a variegated liriope. There are several others in this spot but they were easily covered by the sweet potato. Please forgive the unkemptness of the grass, I like to leave it long and cut it less often in the summer so I don't stress the grass out (or myself for that matter) in the summer heat!

What new plant combinations have you tried this year? And what did you like best?

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