A Brief Guide To Combination Gardening

Last Updated on

Think of your garden as a theater production with a set, a cast of characters, and an entertaining story. Every garden tells a story, even if it is wild and overgrown. This might be your preference, but if you want to shape it with your own vision, consider ‘groups,’ or ‘combinations’ of plants and flowers that complement each other.

Every garden is unique; they all have their own particular conditions in terms of soil type, size, and shape, areas of shade and sunlight. Firstly, you will have to evaluate your garden or your ‘set’ to see what is possible. Some gardening styles already exist, formal and informal, border gardens, cottage and prairie gardens.

You can think of these as templates that can be easily laid down, but don’t be afraid to use your imagination more freely. Maybe you want something that feels open and wild or neat and controlled, like a Japanese garden. Whatever you come up with, remember that for a garden to offer perennial interest, you will want to use a selection of trees, shrubs, bulbs, climbers, annuals, and perennials.

Here are some combinations we like at Calloway’s Nursery:

Angelonia Angelface White is a beautiful annual that can also work as a delicate perennial. It blooms from late Spring to late Summer with white pea-like flowers emerging from the green foliage. It thrives in full sunlight and well-drained soils. A recommended companion to this is the Petunia’ Supertunia’ Bordeaux, which has a similar growing season, sunlight, and soil conditions to the Angelface but displays an incongruent appearance, lovely purple, and pink plummy flowers.

Burgundy Lace Japanese Maple is the sort of tree a garden can be built around. The gorgeous burgundy color is strongest in the autumn months, making it a perfect centerpiece. However, it is also perennial, altering its color throughout the year. Enjoy its neat, almost precision-cut leaves wisping in the breeze. An excellent complement to this in your garden is the Coral Bark Maple. It is another four-season tree offering interest throughout the year but will offset the burgundy maple in the autumn with stunning golden foliage.

If you want your garden to be edible as well as beautiful, consider planting Bountiful Blue Blueberries. This is a small shrub generally grown for its sweet fruits known to be excellent for the heart in several ways. The berries are ripe for picking from early to mid-summer and can be used to make smoothies and delicious pies. Combine this with a strawberry bush, it will produce its fruit at the same time of year, adding color and giving you plenty of options.

Not all theatre directors like to get their hands dirty, and not all gardeners do either; that doesn’t mean a great play can’t be designed, or a beautiful garden created. Does this sound like you? If so, there are some pick and plant services available that allow you to get creative without the heavy lifting.

Just imagine your perfect garden, then bring it to life.