Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Playing with combinations

I try to make groupings of plants that look especially well together. Sometimes the effect is very pleasing and sometimes not.

One of my favorite combinations. Lots of color and texture, each complimenting the others.
An interesting combination, but not my favorite. The Dr Rupel clematis and Eglantyne rose are both in one large pot set amongst other perennials. A darker clematis would probably have looked better with this pale rose. (All the associated hassle of keeping perennials in a container summer and winter wasn't worth it anymore, so I gave the pot and plants to my sister. )
I like this combination of shape and color.
I showed this pair earlier in the spring. It was a happy accident that the iris picked up the chive color and that they bloomed at the same time. A photo from June. Clematis look good with roses. I bought several to plant beside roses and let the vine trail around and through the rose and nearby perennials. In some cases it was too messy, but this pair looks good together. Keeping the vine where you want it is a challenge. Both these flowered haevily through June.I wasn't thinking when I put yellow yarrow beside a pink rose. It turned out better than I could have ever hoped for. The yarrow compliments the yellow center in Peace and they look good side by side. The yarrow's ferny silver foliage helps by makeing a nice contrasty texture. Lambs ear (at the bottom) is great with pink.

This isn't my favorite combo but it's not horrible. It needs something more, but what? Maybe it would look better if I added another daylily the same wine color as the eyes.
Silver lambs ear and May Night just don't make a pleasant combination. Both the colors and the shapes just aren't complimentary. It needs something added to make this pair look their best.
This looks even worse in the garden than in the photo. In my defense, I didn't expect them to bloom at the same time. Thought the sea holly would bloom later. If I replaced the liatris with some darker oriental lilies might work better.
I like these two daylilies together. The deep wine color is perfect with the yellow and gold . The dark daylily is almost black when it first opens and fades to a pleasant red/purple later in the day.


flydragon said...

You have such a great variety of plants in your gardens. I'm so jealous. Loved that pic of the dark purple clematis with the yellow rose, the one of the iris with the chives and the last one of the 2 daylilies. Great!!

beckie said...

Marnie, color combinations are so induvidual. What one person likes another may not. But, I thinks all of your are pretty. You do such a wonderful job of making your plantings look full and lush. My pointer slipped on me and I went way back in your posts-as I was moving up to comment, I was struck by all your lovely flowers and your diverse plantings. Your gardens must truly be show worthy! You really have that 'green thumb' flare.

Cosmo said...

Marnie--I love your combinations--i like to mix color and texture, too. I really like clematis and roses together, though yeah, it's hard to keep it looking neat 9especially 10' off the ground!) I thought all of your combinations were lovely, but yes, maybe a darker flower among the daylilies and what is it--salvia? Anyway, gorgeous plantings--you've inspired me!

troutbirder said...

Interesting post on combinations. I need to think about this more as normally I can't match my shirt with my pants correctly. I found the liatris (blazing star) interesting as last night we were visiting a native prairie in Iowa and found the ones very similar but slightly more pinkish.

pat said...

orange and blue (purple) all the way!

Naturegirl said...

The chives and iris photo is stunning!I find when we look at the whole garden with all its color somehow it never appears the same in
select images. All your colors used in your garden are my favorite.Pinks lavender soft yellows and whites..that's what catches my eye.
Red is NOT a color I use in my personal garden but have 1 patch of red beebalm to atract the hummers.
I wish you a lovely weekend in your colorful garden. hugs NG

Roses and Lilacs said...

Good morning.

Flydragon, after visiting so many interesting garden blogs, I thought I had a very limited variety:) I know I have more than enough. I've bought very few plants this year.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Beckie, I agree, combinations and colors are individual things. This is more or less a game for me. I read books and magazines written by professional landscapers who talk endlessly about combinations--and other things. Its just an idea to play with:)

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Cosmo, this is something I read about and wanted to experiment with. I love to experiment with different ideas. The idea does have some merit but it has a lot to do with personal taste.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Troutbirder, I know you're a bird watcher and probably insects and butterflies too. Butterflies are attracted to the liatris. Later in the fall, the finches will hang on the stalks and eat the seed.

Mine is commonly called Blazing Star, there are several other varieties. My father has a white one which is really a stand out.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Pat, LOL, I agree you can't go wrong with that combo.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Naturegirl. I don't seem to have much red this year, just a couple roses. I like red. It does tend to overwhelm the colors around it.

Cordwood Cabin said...

They're beautiful...I feel a sudden urge to plant buckets, urns, and beds full of beautiful colors!

Gail said...


I think you have some wonderful color combinations! If they happen in my garden it is purely accidental! Although posts like yours (I love this one) are helping me take a more active role in putting plants together. I have read about clematis and roses and it seems a good combination and wonder if it works better with climbing roses and clematis? When I look at your photos I have to say more often than not your combos are working.


Anonymous said...

I love that purple clematis with that yellow rose. But being opposites on the color wheel makes them a great combo! It's good to experiment, you never know unless you try. And the Iris with the chives is a very interesting combination as well.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Cordwood cabin. Better get to planting, summer is almost over;)

I loved the Quantrill history and doll. Your creations are so unique. I love them.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Gail. It seems to work very well with climbing roses. I had a nearly white climber New Dawn that I planted with two clematis vines. I kept the clematis from strangling it. Last year New Dawn died from rose rosette disease and the clematis filled up the trellis without missing a beat.
If you can find a tiny clematis at Home Depot for $3-4 you can experiment.

Roses and Lilacs said...

In my reading about garden combinations they don't mention the color wheel. That is something I need to pay more attention to.

It's something fun to think about--especially on long winter evenings while you read and reread your catalogs.

Kim said...

I enjoyed your comments on why some groupings do or don't work. Sometimes I've looked at an arrangement, and haven't liked it, but not understood why. Now I have a clearer idea, thank you :)

Kim x

Layanee said...

I love that eryngium even if you don't like it with the liatris. White liatris would be okay. All the other combinations are inspiring.

tina said...

I don't know how I missed this post, especially since it is on my sidebar. I even had to look to see I had commented-must be senior moments. I LOVE the iris/chive combo, but all are so very beautiful.

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Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
I swear I left a comment here the other day, but with the way blogger has been eating comments lately, it must have evaporated into the tubes.

I love your combos, especially with those shades of purple (can you tell I'm a fan of purple??). Isn't that 'May Night' salvia a great plant? We put two more of them in this year and would like to find more space for more.

Have to agree with the unhappy mix of liatris and Eryngium, which are two of my favorites, don't get me wrong ... just not together! LOL Maybe you just move the liatris elsewhere this fall, and I doubt it would mind being moved too much, it's such a tough plant.

Now, now, go for more red! As our gardening friend Frank always says, "The only thing better than red is more red!" :-)

Sweet Repose said...

A walk through your gardens must be a true feast for the eyes. I LOVE that last photo of the day lily, they are my all time faves...the grasshoppers don't eat them.


Kathleen said...

I think my favorite combo of yours is the chives & iris too. They're gorgeous together. Don't you love it when that works out? I also like roses & clematis together even tho I don't have any planted that way at the moment. It's really thought provoking to consider all the combinations ~ color, texture, bloom time, etc. ~ makes your head spin (or at least mine). I'd say keep doing what you're doing, it looks great!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Kim, I'm learning too. It's fun to try different things to see which looks best.

Layanee, I like Eryngium too. I just cut a few stalks to dry for winter arrangements. I hope it keeps that misty blue color after it is dried.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Good morning Tina. LOL, I do exactly the same thing. I either skip a favorite blog or go there twice because I forgot I just visited.

The iris/chives combo seems to be the favorite.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Good morning IVG. I thought I was the only one whose comments vanished without a trace. LOL, where do you suppose the go?

I had already decided I needed to add more red next year. I like red impatiens among the hosta but didn't plant any this spring.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Sharon, one of the few plants that have no pests. I can see why it's your favorite. I'm pretty pleased with it too.

Rose said...

Lovely combinations, Marnie. I'm always trying to think of what plants will look good together, and it's not easy to consider color, height, texture, and bloom time all at once. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't. I like the irises and chives and the lilies with the salvia. But they all work well, even the ones you say you don't like.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Rose, I know what you mean. There is a lot to consider.

There are also a lot of articles written on combinations that are supposed to be beneficial in repelling insects. Anyway that's something else to consider.

Dog_geek said...

Beautiful flowers and beautiful photography! I definitely don't put enough thought into color combinations in my gardens - I usually happy to just fill in the empty spots with whatever is on hand. You have a much more artistic eye than I do!

(BTW - I saw on your profile that you like Virginia Lanier. I enjoyed every one of her Bloodhound books - I only wish that she had started writing them years earlier!)

marmee said...

r & l,
love the darkness of the daylily at the end especially next to the yellow. the same with the clematis and roses , great combination. although i do imagine it was hard trying to keep the clematis from taking over.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Marmee, yes, I really should keep up with the clematis. Instead of taking over, I find they want to travel on the ground more than I like. Some want to move a little and give a plant neighbor a little hug which isn't always the best thing:)

Roses and Lilacs said...

Good morning Dog-geek. I was just re-reading one of Virginia Lanier's books last weekend. When I finished, I was struck again by the fact that there will never be another. It's almost like the loss of two friends, Virginia and Joe Beth.

Do you read Susan Conant or Donna Ball? I especially like Conant and have been a fan for many years.

Catherine said...

Beautiful combinations! Like an artist brushing on the perfect complimenting & contrasting colors! That first capture is a gorgeous combination~what a gorgeous rose~and I love how dark the clematis is...and the silver foilage is the perfect color and adds wonderful texture~I think after you garden for a while you learn that texture is as important ast color and flowers!:) And don't you love the happy accidents~that sometimes end up being the most perfect combo's!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Cat. Thank you for your kind words. For some reason the happy accidents are always my favorites.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

The combinations you find most pleasing are those which have a color echo going on - the yellow heart of the dark Daylily with the yellow Daylily, the yellow Yarrow with the yellow heart of the Rose. The problem with the last photo of the silver foliage with the blue flowers is that the textures are too similar, as the colors look good together. The only idea I have for that combo is to add a scrambling type dark blue Clematis in there - Rouguchi or Petit Faucon might work there.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi MMD, I think the salvia/stachys and the liatris/eryngium combos are too similar in upright growth habit, color and texture. For me liatris is a hard plant to work with. It doesn't look any better with daylilies or salvia. It does look ok with rudbeckia. It would look good with helianthus or any of the denser sunflower type plants--even tansy. Of course it's all personal preference.