Thursday, April 19, 2007

Classic Combos - mag spoiler

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Oregeno and Beebalm in my herb garden.

While standing in the checkout line, my eyes could not help but gawk at the gardening magazines titalating as they are with their lurid colours and suggestive titles: Best garden ever, no fail perrenials, all new, all better, all YOURS.

Anyhow, amoung the ever pervasive BUY MORE NOW theme were several with variations on Plant Combinations. So this month's magazine spoiler* will focus on some Classic Combinations.

Hosta and Astible - shady companions

A true classic, these plants do well in a wide range of light but prefer it on the shady side. Keep in mind that Hosta comes in a huge variety of colours. The suggestions are endless. Try a white flowered astible (or the native foamflower) to highlight the white varigation on a hosta. Or a golden hosta with a dark leafed astible.

Clematis and roses and cranesbill - a colourful trio

Common wisdom goes that clematis likes a hot head and cold feet. If you are not going to underplant, then you should mulch. A classic combination is to grow a clematis through a rose, or to combine clematis with a climbing rose. Roses are commonly underplanted with cranesbill.

The cranesbill flowers in late spring followed by the other two in the height of summer. In fall, the rose and the clematis are cut back, and the cranesbill turns a lovely scarlet colour. Sounds nice, doesn't it?

Daffodiles and daylilies - one covers the other

There is nothing more cheery then daffodil season because it means that winter is really, truly gone (in all but exceptional circumstances like this easter snowfall for many of my southern neighbours this year). But of course, all that sunny beauty does fade and then what do you do? One trick is to interplant with daylilies. Their similar foliage hides the dying back of the bulb, producing a succession of blooms.

Purple Coneflower and Black Eyed Susan - perfect partners

Echinacea and Rudbeckia are both tall, strongly shaped plants with daisy like flowers in complementary purple and yellow. They offer a focal point in the late summer perrennial border.

In my garden, they are combined with columbine, german chamomile and monarda to make a mini-meadow much loved by butterflies and other flyers (oh and me too).

Thyme and Sage - as good as they sound

The names of these herbs alone belong together. They also enjoy similar growing conditions in full sun and sharply drained soil. Both also come in a variety of colours from a purplish leaf salvia to a varigated thyme. They flower at roughly the same time in my garden in shades of pink / purple.


More on combining clematis and roses

A good book on the basics of interplanting for effect -Take Two Plants(available at the Ottawa Public Library). There is a lot of info on colour, though there was certainly a reliance on certain plants. For example, lamium (dead nettle) and cotinus (smoke bush - which is fantastic in flower).

*The magazine plot spoiler will become a regular on this blog. I will take a title from a popular gardening magazine and use it as inspiration (no copyright infringement here) for a post. This post will not (unless blind luck intervenes) replicate what would be found in the magazine but you also won't have to fight through advertisement or intentionally confusing indices to find the information. Enjoy!


jodi said...

I think this is a lovely idea. Some of the magazines are so spattered with advertising that it's hard to quickly browse through and decide if it's worth buying.
Great planting combinations! The newest issue of Horticulture arrived here today, but with deadlines up the wazoo...I may need to wait til you do a plot spoiler...;-)

cheers, jodi

Dawn said...

I am trying to break the magazine buying habit and garden magazines are a big temptation! I have your blog bookmarked and will be waiting for the next "edition" of spoilers.


ACey said...

my best girlfriend would definitely agree with you on adding cranesbills to the clematis-rose pairing...

Kate said...

Now I won't have to buy any gardening mags ... I love the hosta/astilbe combination. It is a challenge keeping astilbe plants alive here though - not so with hostas.

Ottawa Gardener said...

I am fighting the temptation too so far successfully but you just wait until the next time I have a dr's appointment...