Waterwise Garden: Summer Perennials Framed by Handsome Foliage

This plant combination is suitable for full sun and can withstand drought conditions. The flowers that bloom in the summer are not only pleasing to the eyes but also attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. The hummingbird mint (agastache) has spires in shades of apricot and pink, while the coneflowers have sturdy daisy-shaped discs, and the eryngium has prickly crowns. These different flower shapes complement each other well.

The Chamaecyparis 'Blue Surprise' is a dwarf conifer with a steely blue foliage color, while the yellow-green heather creates a low and spreading mat of finely-textured foliage. Both shrubs have similar foliage texture but differ in shape. The gray foliage of the daisy bush is chunkier and larger, which contrasts well with the small leaves of the heather and cypress. The rounded gray foliage of the daisy bush dominates the mid-plane and contrasts in coloring with the over-arching reddish bronze foliage of the smokebush. In late summer, the heather bears pink spires that match the interior coloring of the coneflower petals. The dwarf Japanese barberry has deep burgundy leaves that visually link the ground plane to the canopy created by the overarching Cotinus 'Grace'.

By using these plants together, you can create a beautiful garden that looks great throughout multiple seasons while also conserving water.

To adjust the winter hardiness of this combination to a climate colder than USDA zone 8, substituting a more cold-hardy selection for the daisy bush (Brachyglottis greyi) would be an easy fix. For example, Hebe sutherlandii has similar coloring and overall shape.

Growing Conditions

Zone: 8, 9
Exposure: Afternoon Sun, Full Sun
Water Needs: Drought-tolerant, Low, Occasional

Design Considerations

Style: Northwest Eclectic, Waterwise, Wildlife Friendly
Features: Attracts Pollinator, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Fabulous Foliage, Wildlife Friendly
Focus: Mixed Border, Pleasing Seasonal Flow, Saving Water
Seasons of Interest: Late Spring / Early Summer, Late Summer / Early Fall, Summer, Three Seasons of Interest

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Level: low
Maintenance Tasks: Deadheading

Plants In this Combo