There is no task in gardening I enjoy more than composing interesting combinations. The living medium of flowers and foliage combined with the hardscape and garden art provide an ever changing palette of colors, values and textures to delight the viewer. It's a continuous challenge to provide visual interest throughout the growing season. Sometimes things do work out as planned but just as often there are surprises where something self sowed or bloomed where the gardener didn't expect that create wonderful unplanned vignettes. A few of my favorite things in the gardens in early summer...
I planted several clumps of this white astilbe in my terrace garden many years ago and added the white Asiatic lilies not long after. The astilbe has been a wonderful reliable perennial here for almost twenty years and I replant the white lilies from time to time when the voles or lily beetles take their toll. The airy texture of the astilbe and strong form of the lilies provide such great textural contrast that this is a lovely classic combination I'll always try to keep in my gardens.
I added the Hakonechloa 'All Gold' (Japanese Forest Grass) to my driveway garden last year to continue a chartreuse/purple theme I've got going in that area and was surprised this spring to see how great it looks with the Coreopsis 'Moonbeam'. The contrast in foliage textures is great and the color of the flowers harmonizes beautifully with the grass... one of those serendipitous combinations that are so much fun.
Garden combinations are not just about the plants but also how they visually interact with the hardscape and garden art... I really loved the juxtaposition of the soft and airy flowers of the Cotinus 'Golden Spirit' against the cement bird bath... Another happy accident
A wider angle view of the birdbath area of the driveway garden shows more of the chartreuse and yellow flowered plants I've included there over the last few years... The Calluna vulgaris aurea (Scotch Heather) has been a great edging plant that helps soften the edges of the driveway. Love the texture of that plant contrasted with the purple heavy leaved form of the Sedum 'Purple Emperor'. Also included in this vignette are Sedum kamtschaticum, Lysimachia punctata 'Golden Alexander' (Loosestrife) and a new addition of Symphytum x uplandicum 'Axminster Gold' (Comfrey). These bright colored plants provide a light area to contrast with the bluer greens of the dwarf evergreens and Fargesia rufa (clumping bamboo) behind the birdbath. The strong red/violet of the Euphorbia cotinifolia (an annual that is just leafing out) creates another great complementary color contrast.
In a shadier area of the back garden I've included more chartreuse foliage plants. They are especially valuable to create light value focal points in areas of the garden that don't get a lot of sunlight.This combination includes my favorite hosta 'Golden Teacup' that I bought from its creator Dr. Jim Wilkins several years ago. It's joined by the classic Hosta 'Frances Williams' and one of my favorite Heucheras 'Key Lime Pie'... Again all these colors harmonize and this vignette achieves it's interest from the contrast in shapes and textures of the plantings.
Another classic and realiable hosta 'Gold Standard' looks great next to the airy foliage and flowers of Geranium sanguinium 'New Hampshire Purple'. The Hakonechloa 'Albo Striata' (Japanese Forest Grass) again provides a contrasting texture and a harmonizing color to the hosta....
Also in the shade garden I quite like the contrast between the shape and color of the dwarf Hosta 'Cracker Crumbs' next to the Heuchera 'Palace Purple'.
More red-violet/chartreuse contrasts in this vignette showcasing the rich color of Heuchera 'Berry Smoothie' and Hosta 'Daybreak'
And so it goes, another day in the garden another combination to enjoy, change or rearrange....