Tag Archives: plant combinations

The garden is coming together

This weekend was the first time I noticed that the garden was starting to “pull it all together”. By that I mean, it is becoming less and less about the individual plants and more about how they act together as a whole. A collection of plants is becoming a “garden”.
Here are some samples of the “garden”:
Panicum (Switch Grass) ‘Rotstrahlbusch’, Monarda (Bee Balm) and Juniper ‘Wichita Blue’

Achillea ‘Moonwalker’, Sedum ‘Matrona’ and Sorghastrum (Indian Grass) ‘Sioux Blue’ 

Too many mention

Astilbe ‘Deutschland’ and Physocarpus (Ninebark) ‘Diablo’

Mountain Mint, Panicum (Switch Grass) ‘Rotstrahlbusch’ and Monarda (Bee Balm)

Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet’ and Miscanthus ‘Variegatus’

Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet’, Viburnum ‘Emerald Lustre’ and Amsonia (Eastern Bluestar) ‘Tabernaemontana’

Again, too many to mention

Viburnum ‘Aurora’ and Miscanthus ‘Gracillimus’

Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet’, Chasmanthium latifolium (Northern Sea Oats) and Panicum ‘Northwind’

Geranium ‘Brookside’, Asclepias Incarnata (Swamp Milkweed) and Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet’

Astilbe ‘Deutschland’ and Nepeta (Catmint) ‘Walker’s Low’

Little of everything

Angerus sisterium and Runningus brotherium

Revengus brotherium (rare cultivar) and Runningus sisterium


Slipanslideum (Male version, less hardy)
Keep these plants active and outdoors and they agree to photos like this:
And they even eat lunch sitting NEXT to each other:
A great weekend on many fronts.

From a different angle

I’ve been a “hardcore” gardener for about twelve years now. 
“Hardcore” meaning I eat, sleep and drink all things plants and dirt. 
I’m not sure if I’m more amazed that it’s been that long or that it has been that short of a stretch of time. It seems like it all started a long time ago yet it has gone so damn fast. Sorry, I am consumed with time and my age of late, as the big 40 approaches. But enough about me …
… actually, more about me. What I now find fascinating about my gardening self (narcissism anyone?) is that I never took as much as one photo of any of my gardens until I started this blog a little over two years ago. What was I thinking? That is ten years of my history that can never be recovered. The world is missing out.  
OK, truth is, most of those old garden photos would make me cringe in embarrassment. I still remember planting a bunch of Verbena in a perfect line, like a group of soldiers, thinking “This gardening thing isn’t as difficult as everyone makes it out to be”. If I had documented my early gardening days, I could have easily lead a class on how not to create a visually stimulating garden. 
So what’s my point for today? I’m not really sure … I actually have forgotten as I type this. Oh yeah, I wanted to talk about how obsessively photographing my garden has allowed me to enjoy it in ways I never imagined. 
My dopey friend had recently asked me “Seriously, haven’t you run out of photo opportunities in your garden at this point?”. I may have agreed with him before I started this blog but now I clearly realize you can never run out of photo ops. Plants are changing/evolving week by week or even day by day and that alone gives you an unlimited pool of photo options. 
What I’ve also realized now, more than ever, is that when taking into account unique and different viewpoints/angles at which a garden can be photographed, the garden gains so much more “depth”. These viewpoints/angles not typically viewed by “Joe Passerby” have opened the door to so much more and keep me coming back for more.      
So though we are technically still in early spring, there is no shortage of interesting and captivating plant activity. Even if I have to lay on my stomach or climb a tree to view it. Here are some recent samples:                                      
Spring bulbs at their peak, emerging perennial foliage and evergreens fully recovered from the winter, look good as I walk up my front walkway (actually as I lay down on my front walkway):   

Creeping phlox just coming into bloom and falling over a copper colored stone I dug up on my property a few years back (taken while holding on to a tree with one leg):

Color me crazy, but I love the simple contrast of vibrant green foliage and a textured stone (some how taken while lying on my side and avoiding squashing multiple plants):

Loving the temporary color contrast between the Catmint and Astilbe foliage (which will change to a deep green in a few weeks). Skillfully snapped while performing a full blown squat:

When I step out of my garage, this is what I see directly to my right (photographed with one foot in the garage while in a yoga pose). I love how the Calamagrostis ‘El Dorado’ grasses shine so early in the spring. I need more “cool season” grasses. Also love observing the foliage change from bronze to bright green/chartreuse on the Thuja ‘Rheingold’:  

I’m knee deep in a blue foliage obsession right now and for whatever reason, I like this blue juniper as a backdrop to the Leucojums (snapped from deep in my garage). Also loving that the juniper is not quite hiding the propane tank behind it. Nice touch of orange, eh?:

Have a great weekend and garden your ass off!


Loving this time of year

Funny thing happened the other day. I started taking photographs of some newly developing blooms:

And while they were interesting and a nice jolt at this point in the summer, I soon found myself taking photos of other parts of the garden. I think it was inspiration from my recent visit to the New York Botanical Gardens and the “foliage lushness” of their perennial gardens. 
My grasses, perennials and deciduous shrubs are nearing their peak, foliage-wise, and their contrasting colors and textures are meshing well. Throw in some blooms here and there and I realize that this may be my favorite time of the year out in the garden:      

How you feeling about your gardens these days?

“Plant Combinations” from Fine Gardening magazine

A funny thing happened last night after I posted yesterday’s rant about my frustration with gardening. In the mailbox, was a special issue from Fine Gardening magazine that could not have been timed any better:

While on Twitter recently, I had read a tweet where the magazine was looking to send copies of Plant Combinations to garden bloggers for their review. I jumped all over it as I have been a loyal reader of their magazine for years and the title alone fired me all up. The funny thing is, it has been chaotic at home of late and I completely forgot that this issue was on it’s way.

As soon as I had some time to sit down and read through it, I was immediately taken with the angle they took. It is all about using commonly known and readily available plants in combinations that are creative and unique. These consistent performers (purple coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, yucca) often aren’t trendy enough for some gardeners but the issue shows you how to reimagine them in an original way. My mind is still spinning as a result and I’m ready to start moving plants around again to try and mimic what is in this magazine. One that comes to mind is matching Yucca ‘Golden Sword’ with geraniums.    

Also, I was super psyched to see a bunch of photos of plantings that include brown sedges (Carex). I have talked about my love of these in the past and I now feel vindicated. Take a look at these and I guarantee you’ll be with me on it. Pinkie swear.

Between reading all of your comments last night and diving into this magazine, my bipolar gardening personality is swinging back in a better direction. If you can’t find this issue in stores, click here to buy it on-line. It is absolutely worth the price.


Garden Photo of the Day