Creating visual interest with foliage is often just as attractive (or even more so) than using ‘flowers’ . The choice of colours is more subtle, but gives a sophistication that most flowers lack. In this dry-ish area under some huge trees, I planted three annuals – the lovely silver Plectranthus argentatus. Behind them, I put three perennial Cimicifuga (now known as Actaea) ‘Hillside Black Beauty’ for height. These hardy gems produce very fragrant spires of white flowers in the early autumn. I love their scent – very Hippie Shop in my brain’s memories. Up front, I used a mixture of hardy Sedums. The dark, shiny one is my favourite -‘Postman’s Pride’. The mauve/green one is ‘Purple Emperor’. I am noticing lots of seedlings appearing from this plant. They are all quite mauve and I am just letting them go where they want to. These plants flatter each other and are equals in the interest department. By using just two shades, the result is calming and different than neighbouring sections of this large island bed.
Pink is not one of ‘my’ colours. I was surprised to find this pretty moment in my own garden the other day….an accident Mother Nature approved of. The peony is ‘Chiffon Clouds’ from Song Sparrow Nursery in the U.S. They ship to Canada and have the best tree and herbaceous peonies I know of. The fluffy pink spire is from a Rodgersia aesculifolia I planted for its early foliage, which is dark chestnut brown. There are several dark brown cultivars in the trade, but they do ‘green-up’ as the season progresses. The airy little white flowers are from Gillenia trifoliata. This is a plant worth finding ! It is very very hardy, being a native to America’s Eastern woods. It doesn’t spread at all. An undemanding cutie that blooms for months and mingles well in any situation. What I like about all these plants is that they are a bit uncommon, but not hard to grow. Quite the opposite, actually. I think annuals like Alyssum and Petunias are harder to keep looking good than any of these examples. The longer you garden, the more you unconsciously seek a new thrill by combining the unexpected – often to better effect than you ever dreamed of !