The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

Favorite Combinations

6 Comments

Mine is a young garden, just coming into its fourth year. I have been busy, busy, busy planning, digging, building and planting new beds.

“You have extra Yarrow? Sure! I’ll take some.” … “Black-eyed Susans? Sure!” … “Oh, yes I’d love to try some Tarragon.” … “Isn’t anyone going to take that last Purple Cone Flower?” … “What did you say this was? I’m sure I can find a place for it.” … “It spreads? That’s okay, I have a whole new bed I just dug up.”

It seems I tossed plants here and there and everywhere however careful my plans. I just can’t resist a give away plant. I can’t resist stopping at the nursery. I can’t resist purchasing mail order plants, either. Such as it is with a gardening addict. “Hmmm, I thought that Persicaria would look great there but that red is well, really bright. I know! Some Cardinal Flower over there for balance and some pinks and purples blending in between …”

I continuously focus on what I need to do, or would like to do, in the garden. There’s the whole new fence line. There’s still the front yard, or what remains of it. There’s that narrow south side with the undying Bishop’s Weed and the see through kitchen window that needs a major overhaul and a view. There’s … STOP!

I decided to pause, to look through some of photos of the garden, acknowledge what I have done and pull out some combinations that I rather like. Yes, Forget-Me-Nots spread and may be common, but I love their complimentary sea of blue as a backdrop for spring bulbs and flowers, and they are native. Blue creeping phlox has the same effect. I think I would like to encourage more of this combination throughout the garden.

Daffodils and Forget-Me-Nots in the Bird & Butterfly Garden

Lady Jane Species Tulip, Blue Phlox and a surprise Forget-Me-Not in the “front yard”

Poppies float above Forget-Me-Nots along the Nice Driveway

I love what I have done in the “front yard.” The many low spreading plants in different shades of green – blues, yellows, chartreuse – intertwining with one another and accented with purple and burgundy is so interesting to me. Even the textures of the leaves – soft and fuzzy, bristly, spiky, fleshy – add to the senses. I would like to encourage more of this combination in my backyard garden (which I tend to spend more time in), so that I can appreciate all of its little intricacies. Setting up a chair in the sidewalk and staring at my front garden is just asking to be the star of neighborhood gossip.

Chives, Thymes, Sedums and Lamb Ears in the “front yard”

A woven tapestry of plants with Black Lace as a back drop in the “front yard”

Sea Holly pokes through the leaves of Black Lace in the “front yard”

I don’t have room for too many large trees but I do like the way the Blue Spruce commands attention right outside my new back door. I love how Lamium ‘Orchid Frost’ skirts its blue needles. In the fall and winter, the stems of Cardinal Dogwood somehow don’t just turn red but cast a deeper shade of blue on the spruce.

I do like the way the grasses and flowers combine in my Bird & Butterfly garden. The Bee Balm and Purple Cones are hot in the summer and then the Susans, White Cones and Aster start to mellow. I am hoping this flow between blooms and grasses continues in the newly planted Woodland Edge as it starts to fill out.

I particularly like this combination of yarrow and sage. I would like to add more striking combinations like this throughout my garden.

Yarrow ‘Coronation Gold’ and Meadow Sage ‘May Night’ along the Nice Driveway

What about you? Are you focused on what needs to be done or changed in your garden? Maybe you can afford a moment to sit back and focus on what you do like about your garden. Is there a combination that you love?

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Author: Kathy Sturr

Cultivating art, growing soul, and creating plant-based food in the beautiful 1000 Islands, New York and Cedar Key, Old Florida.

6 thoughts on “Favorite Combinations

  1. In March, when it is cooler and kinder, we'll work on our Don't Look That Way bits.

  2. Kathy I have been thinking of the many changes and projects..some I am set with and others I need to wait…I am removing invasives like buddleia for sure and replacing with trees and shrubs for birds and other critters…I have to redo the front still and need to live with it for another year to look it over and see what I like and don't like…then I will work a plan for fall and hope to redo then…love the combos you chose especially the forget-me-nots and coneflowers.

  3. Oh, my! For such a young garden, you have done such a great job! Beautiful! I bet your front garden is the envy of the neighborhood. I hope you get the back garden just the way you wish. I have so many projects, I've become a bit overwhelmed. I don't know where to start first!

  4. What a beautiful post…so many wonderful combos! I especially love the one with the Chives, Sedum and Stachys…such a great combination…very soothing and charming! I love the re-seeders and spreaders too…they can overwhelm you at times, but they make for such amazing, unplanned pairings!

  5. I'm constantly thinking about what needs to be done or changed in the garden, and guilty of not taking enough time to just enjoy what I have already accomplished.You have some great combos there, I'm particularly fond of the cool blues, pinks, and purples. Oakleaf Hydrangea is my favorite new plant for adding color, structure, and texture.

  6. Thank you for also taking a moment to appreciate my garden as well as yours! I find much encouragement in your comments. I'm going to keep on planting and you do the same!

Thank you for joining me in the making of my garden!

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