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A Few Favourite Design Divas
by MaryAnn Fink

1pt.gif (86 bytes)Many great combinations when grouped add more interest than when featured alone. These groupings bloom together most seasons and hold very well. If these combinations are the foundation for a perennial border or mixed bed it is possible to maximize their impact and have a long sequence of bloom.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Repeating a grouping is recommended as opposed to doing each grouping once only. This keeps the garden's color flowing throughout the garden. Time frame is difficult to assign and varies with areas and exposure. All plants perform well in zone 5, average soil with 2" topdressing each spring with compost and manure.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)I recommend a light dressing in June with half and half combination of triple ground mulch and compost on exposed soil not under or near crown areas. I do not use chemical fertilizers without indication of a deficiency or a soil test. I do increase the oxygen /moisture penetration by hand cultivation with a tool called 'The Claw' and work each bed area monthly to keep micro activity as high as possible. This prevents the need for weeding and assists drainage.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)All groupings are for full sun unless indicated otherwise.

1pt.gif (86 bytes)Start with a few strong and powerful contributors to any garden with Caryopteris 'Longwood Blue', Solidago 'Fireworks' and ornamental shrub Berberis (Barberry). The airy stems and steel blue of the Caryopteris foliage strengthen the uplifting form of this variety of Solidago (Goldenrod) and the natural spray affect of barberry adds contrasting shape and color. Let these stand thru the winter months for structure.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Now play more with form and tones with Dendranthema 'Clara Curtis' and Veronica 'Pink Damask'. These two echo the clean clear pinks in different forms. Veronica's baby pink spikes invite butterflies and the 'daisy look' of Clara ribbons in between Veronica's fuzzy spikes. Her yellow button centers can be accented with a soft yellow Coreopsis 'Zagreb'. Add a skirt of deep purple with annual Heliotrope 'Marine' for vanilla and cherry pie fragrance.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Repeat the Veronica 'Pink Damask' elsewhere with Achillea (yarrow) 'Pink Deb' and Echinacea (Coneflower) either 'Kim's Knee-Hi' or 'Magnus'. Repeat blooming Hemerocallis 'Regal Heir' carries the rosy amethyst of the cone flower and add another touch of butter with its yellow throat. Add deep wine foliage with Eupatorium 'Chocolate' as a backdrop to add more interest.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Follow thru repeating Eupatorium again with tall Garden Phlox 'Orange Perfection' and Achillea 'Red Beauty'. The burgundy foliage of the Eupatorium contrast with the deep 'Deamsicle' peach with a magenta eye of the phlox. The wine color can then be carried to the 'Barbie doll' bouquets of the Achillea in each tiny flower. Dwarf silver foliaged Buddleia 'Nanho Blue' works well with this group and has a lovely soft effect.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Tuck a cluster of deep red Asiatic Lilies behind a strong fall bloomer such as Chelone 'Hot Lips'. Plant in front and to the side Salvia 'Blue Hill and dwarf Daisy 'Snow Princess'. Group with the Chelone, fall blooming Anemone 'Whirlwind' and Aster 'Purple Dome'.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Hot color grouping can include Helenium and copper colored Achillea 'Fireland' with annual Asclepia 'Blood flower'
1pt.gif (86 bytes)A morning sun opportunity can have a woodland theme when trees and shrubs are part of garden. Color can be carried into spring after bulbs are finished by combining yellow Celandine Poppy, Anemone sylvestris and any Aquilegia. Spring color of yellow daffodil 'Cheerfulness' interplay nicely with the soft color of Pulsatilla vulgaris (Pasque Flower). This perennial has silver gray/green foliage topped with furry buds. As they open gradually displaying a small bouquet of pollen colored stamens and the yellow of the daffodil is echoed. Plant purple or clear white pansies in the fall or spring so their small yellow eye also mirrors a touch of yellow. Annual Alyssum often reseeds and adds softness and fragrance to the grouping.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Use space wisely by planting a triangle of Fall blooming Anemones and in the center of the grouping showcase a Dicentra spectabilis (Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart). The pink and white hearts dance in the spring breeze and then goes dormant during the summer so that the wind flowers have room to sway in the fall garden.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Enjoy trying combinations and look for opportunities to regroup. Gardening is a past time meant to be enjoyed and shared.

-MaryAnn is a Garden Consultant, Plant Doctor, Certified Arborist and Master Gardener. She teaches classes for the Missouri Botanical Garden and enjoys all types of gardening for over 20 years.



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