Bright and Colorful Shrub Border Summer Blooms within Foliage Frame

Even large-scale plantings, like this one from the street-side display garden at Cornell Farm in Portland, Oregon can offer valuable lessons for home gardeners. This same quartet of plants can be scaled-down and rearranged to create a fantastic garden scene in a more intimate setting at home.

Why does it work and what's worth copying?

In summer, the riot of colorful red blooms erupt within an evergreen foliage frame made up of the ground-covering heather and the skyward reaching Blue Arrow juniper. They're joined by the deciduous, but hard-working Orange Rocket barberry which is alive with easy-care color from spring to fall.

The yellow-green foliage of the Firefly heather is a great summer contrast to the rich burgundy and blue foliage of its partners. But in fall, it ups its game, developing orange to terra cotta tones that extend interest through the winter. The emerging buds and eventual blooms of Calluna 'Firefly' are a deeper pink than some other, typical heathers which adds to the overall zippy vibe of this scene.

The rose was selected for disease resistance and its willingness to forego fussy deadheading and still keep the color coming. You can certainly choose to cut away spent blooms to create a more tidy garden, but it won't hold it against you if you don't.

The actual rose used by Cornell Farm in this planting scheme is Rosa 'Meigalpio' PP17877 Red Drift® Groundcover Rose and I'll update this combo to reflect that once I get it added to our site. However, the look and feel of this vignette can be achieved using Rosa x 'Noare', the rose indentified below, or you could even sub another warm-to-vividly colored ground-covering rose with a hardy constitution and floriferous personality.

Growing Conditions

Zone: 5, 6, 7, 8
Exposure: Afternoon Sun, Full Sun
Water Needs: Average, Low

Design Considerations

Style: Modern
Features: Zippy Color Contrasts, Fabulous Foliage, Flower Fest, Warm Colors, Winter Interest
Focus: Hellstrip / Parking Strip, Mixed Border, Pleasing Seasonal Flow, Curb Appeal
Seasons of Interest: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, Pleasing Seasonal Changes

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Level: medium

Plants In this Combo