When it comes to garden design and plant selection, there's a huge number of enticing and beautiful plants to choose from, and that can make it hard to decide where to start. Narrowing the selection from the many choices can be a challenge. We hope that providing a framework for thinking about it might help.
Plants are a puzzle. Sometimes you solve for X, another time you solve for Y.
Oftentimes, we’re solving for what we want the plant to do, or for qualities we want it to possess. Before you’re a specific plant, you divide, you block, or you frame. You’re a mound, a spire, a froth. You’re bold, delicate, frothy, or flowing. You’re shiny, fuzzy, or spiny. You’re the diva, a great accompanist, or you play a steady background beat. Whatever role you play or qualities you have, then there is a corollary for what describes your perfect plant partners.
Other times, we’ve got a plant that we are starting with, and solving for its best partners. Perhaps there's a plant that I desire for my garden or perhaps it’s in my garden already and I’m looking to add to the scene. That plant has certain attributes or features which then dictate suitable pairings. So we start there.
In both cases, it’s an iterative process: if this, then that. Each choice narrows the field. At first many possibilities, then later very few. The key is to start; start somewhere, anywhere. Make a decision. The next decision will be limited by the first. The third will be limited by the second and the third. And so on. Each plant we add to our grouping, results in an increasingly narrow scope of possible partners.
When the pairing is framed this way, its easy to see that there are any number of possibilities, all of which “work”. No wonder there are so many wonderful and diverse gardens and such a seemingly endless supply of beautiful garden scenes to inspire us!
Need some ideas and direction to get you started? Browse our growing number of plant combo recipes for inspiration.
If you think of plants as shapes, colors and textures first, the combo being built above could be planted a number of different ways, with a number of different plant palettes. In the next post, we've come up with two different planting combinations for two different garden growing conditions, both based on the plant shapes and foliage colors suggested in this sketch. We've come up with a drought tolerant combination for full sun situation and a second version using shade tolerant plants.
Use the eGardenGo Site