Striking Foliage & Colorful Combinations
When designing a garden, one of the first things I consider is foliage.
I like flowers, especially those that are fragrant, but often they are fleeting, while foliage lasts for months and some evergreen types add year around beauty.
To me, combining plants, pairing them up, is the fun part.
Consider which plants will complement one another, as well as which ones will provide a contrast.
When selecting plants for your landscape, look beyond blooms, consider the shape, size and texture of the leaves. And remember, the best combinations occur when the cultural requirements of both plants are met.
Artfully combining a variety of plants, including both deciduous and evergreen, that offer interest in several different seasons, adds up to a dynamic landscape.
To create your own dynamic landscape, try these plants from the Southern Living Plant Collection:
1. October Magic™ Inspiration Camellia
For part-shade, camellias are hard to beat.
The shiny evergreen foliage of camellias provides a contrast when paired with dark purple-leaved forms ofPurple Pixie® Loropetalum. By adding herbaceous plants and bulbs, the scene is even richer. A combination I like features Camellia sasanqua October Magic™ Inspiration with a chartreuse selection of Heuchera, commonly known as coralbells.
This 'Inspiration' offers beautiful white and magenta blooms in autumn (often well into November) and glossy rich green foliage throughout the year. Ideal for a hedge, specimen or screen, it is also happy growing in a decorative container.
2. 'Angyo Star Fatshedera
Another shade lover that will also take part-sun is Angyo-Star Fatshedera. Growing 5 to 6’ tall, it has a semi-upright habit and striking variegated green and white leaves that resemble those of the common sweet gum but without the messy fruits.
I have seen it growing with Farfugium japonicum‘Jitsuko’s Star,’ a perennial that produces yellow flowers in late autumn.
The foliage of Angyo Star™ provides a bright contrast to the green rounded leaves of the Farfugium and looks good year around.
3. Jubilation™ Gardenia
Gardenia, with its delightfully scented blooms, always reminds me of my grandmother, who grew a large specimen in her back yard.
These days I grow a smaller variety called Jubilation™ in a container. A more dramatic combination I have admired at the Atlanta Botanical Garden features it trained as a hedge.
In summer, dark-leaved cannas, coleus and zinnias provide a bold contrast, the perfect seasonal guests.
4. 'Big Daddy' Hydrangea
By pairing up deciduous and evergreen shrubs, like ‘Big Daddy’ Hydrangea and Yewtopia Plum Yew, your garden will offer interest during every season. And the huge flower heads of the hydrangea will make even more of an impact planted against a backdrop of the dark green needled Plum Yews.
Other companions to consider for 'Big Daddy' hydrangeainclude Bigfoot™ Cleyera, October Magic™ Snow Camellia and Robin™ Holly.
Remember when you select plants for your landscape, consider who their companions will be and choose garden mates who will enhance each other.