There are certain combinations of colors, textures, even scents that absolutely excite me. As a gardener, I look at my plants as groups of ordered visual delights. Think of it like music which is an ordering of sound. Without the restriction of notes and measures, sound is just well, sound. Random bangs and crashes. Scratching and tinkling. No particular order. Just sound. Like the one a tree makes in the forest when no one is around. Whoomph.
By the same token, a garden is an ordering of plants. That is precisely the problem when weeds invade and take over in your small spaces. Then things are chaotic and a vicious cycle occurs when you become discouraged. But a well-ordered garden is like a fine dining experience, the perfect wine for the perfect dish. And you crave more and more to repeat the event.
I’ll show you a few current combinations that have become happy companions.
Here are purple tulips resting with a lunaria, or honesty plant, in bloom. The colors are the same yet completely different forms, one large, one small.
Two extreme examples of hosta color. They are both cool, and contrast each other deliberately.
Here is the other side of my hostas. The huge, blue vase shaped one I think is the Krossa Regal. The one next to it is part of the original collection found when I moved into this house. I kept several pieces and have them placed around the yard. They were the only hostas here. I thought them quite ugly and plain at first, but am appreciating their swirling individuality as the years go by.
Struggling to keep a burgeoning yellow leaved euonymous in bounds. It is growing together with a David Waterer spirea. Both seem to enjoy each others’ company, and in the spring the euonymous needs to be cut back to encourage dense (and bright) form. The spirea can wait until it finishes its blooming, sometime in early summer. Then I need to seriously prune this back and hope it recovers enough to return next year. I like the serrated leaves, which go nicely with the smooth waxy leave of the euonymous.
Now we come back to tulips. These pinks are the only ones of their kind, that seem to be in a good spot for them. They come back, and even seem to be increasing this year. This is rare for tulips, who generally die out after the first season. But I’ll leave them be, and see what transpires. They are next to a chartreuse hosta that has been divided from one in the pond area. The pond plant has hit hard times with constant onslaught of ferns, mint and asters, not to mention errant pieces of ivy. So I moved cuttings around the yard, where I need a gentle shade of green. This hosta can take sun, so it was placed under a white hydrangea. I like the green color against the pink of the flowers.
Not a great picture; windy day when I took this to catch the grape hyacinths before they dropped. They are not really in sync because the azalea opened a little after the grape hyacinths did demise. They will leave a spot of spindly grassy leaves, then die back for the summer. But they did really well this year, and I will leave them in their spot.
Just like anything else, the juxtaposition of plants with their unique textures and colors is important in a garden. Whether your garden is wild, or orderly, has a lot to do with how you place the plants.
So experiment, be bold. We will return to this topic again, as it is really a good one and one that can be discussed as the garden goes through its seasons.