Friday, April 19, 2019

My Favorite Spring Plant Combinations

I took photos of some of my favorite flower combinations in preparation for my Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day post but, as it turned out, I'd accumulated so many flower photos, I couldn't bring myself to include these in my already lengthy mid-month post.  So instead, I'm throwing them into a separate post!

Not all my flowering plants complement each other, a fact that was emphasized this month when, triggered by our heavier-than-usual winter rains, everything in my garden sprang into bloom seemingly at once rather than unfolding in a more restrained and orderly fashion.  However, for this post, I'm going to focus on the combinations I found most pleasing.

Here are some from the back garden:

Cotula lineariloba (aka brass buttons and big yellow moon) mingles comfortably with self-sown Gazanias and Erigeron kavinsianus (aka Santa Barbara daisy) on one side of our backyard fountain.  Cotula is a rampant grower.  I pull most of it late in the season when it gets ratty but it always comes back.

On the other side of the fountain, Felicia aethiopica echoes the color of the blue Dutch Iris (Iris x hollandica).  I thought the new Iris I planted this year would be identical to the established bulbs but the falls on the new flowers are a shade lighter.

A wider shot facing the opposite direction shows the same Iris and Felicia consorting with white flowers: Santa Barbara daisies, Alstroemeria 'Claire', and Argyranthemum frutescens 'Mega White'.  My new favorite Salvia, S. heldreichiana, is also visible in the background.

Another wide shot, taken from the opposite direction, shows Salvia heldriechiana in the foreground with the Felicia and Iris in the background.  Echium webbii (right), just coming into bloom, adds another blue note.  In the distance, you can see Ageratum corybosum sited next to the house.

The flowers of Arctotis 'Pink Sugar' have just enough orange color to mix well with the self-seeded Gazanias and Lotus bethelotii 'Gold Flash'.  I probably wouldn't have planted the Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas) so close to the Arctotis myself but it seeded itself there.  The white flowers of Ozythamnus diosmifolius (aka rice flower) temper the association in this bed and the Ageratum corymbosum in the background carries the eye beyond the lavender.


The area surrounding the lath house offers this nice yellow and blue vignette:

I couldn't resist planting blue Pericallis (aka cineraria) and Nemesia 'Sunshine' as accents at the base of Euryops chrysanthemoides 'Sonnenschein' 


On the south end of the front garden we find these combinations:

Grevillea 'Superb' blooms year-round here but Cuphea 'Vermillionaire' is currently providing a nice color complement

This mix on the other side of the flagstone path is more foliage than flowers but I appreciate how the soft green of Artemisia versicolor 'Seafoam' blends with the brighter green Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt' (left), while contrasting civilly with the burgundy foliage of Cordyline 'Renegade', the red stems of Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset' , and the flowers of Helleborus 'Anna's Red' (right).  Less visible are the burgundy buds of Leucadendron 'Jubilee Crown', which I'm happy to report I've managed not to kill this time.

I have mixed feelings about this view.  It's pretty enough but, once again, I was sold mislabeled Freesias.  Last year, I got pinks instead of blue.  This year I got a LOT of yellow instead of blue.  Although the yellow Freesias echo the agave blooms in the distance, those will soon be gone and, unless I pull out the bulbs while I can still see their foliage, all those yellow Freesias are going to irritate me year after year.  Do Freesia growers have a blue bulb shortage or something? 


The area surrounding the front entry to the house is looking particularly frothy right now.

There are at least 5 Coleonema album planted in my front garden, all of which came with the house.  They bloom in tandem with the Santa Barbara daisies, giving the area a light, bubbly feel.

The foliage of Coleonema album (aka white breath of heaven) has a delightful scent.  Regrettably, I can't say the same for the flowers.

Coleonema pulchellum 'Sunset Gold' is still covered in pale pink flowers with Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy' blooming alongside it, now joined by a host of blue and purple blooms, including: Lavandula stoechas 'Double Anouk', L. multifida and, in the background, the first spires of Echium candicans 'Star of Madeira'

This vignette is tucked just to the left of the plants featured in the prior photo.  Here, another Lavandula stoechas mixes with Euphorbia characias 'Black Pearl' and more Santa Barbara daisies.


The north side of the house provided one of my very favorite plant combinations in early spring.

While I'm not sure about the touches of pink here, I love the mix of Grevillea 'Scarlet Sprite', the self-seeded white and blue Osteospermums and the blue Limonium perezii.  Since this photo was taken, I've cut back the Osteospermums in the hope of getting a second flush of blooms before it gets too hot and the plants assume a low profile for the summer.


If you've visited my blog with any regularity, you've probably heard me describe my back slope (i.e. the area that lies beyond the hedge visible in the last photo) as "hideous."   It usually deserves that epithet - except in Spring when a riot of pretty weeds helps to transform it.  It hasn't reached its peak yet but I can honestly say I don't mind spending time down there right now.

This flat area at the bottom of the slope between the lemon tree and the three Pittosporum 'Silver Magic' that mark the boundary of our property (left) has calla lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) and California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) in bloom at the moment.  With the end of our rainy season and a rise in our daytime temperatures, the calla lilies are already fading.

As the calla lilies fade, Centranthus ruber, effectively a weed here, is just coming into bloom.  Within a month, pink blooms will dominate the entire back slope.

For the moment, however, splashes of white, chartreuse, and purple dominate the slope's main bed.  The chartreuse color is provided by Euphorbia 'Dean's Hybrid'.  The white flowers are Pelargonium 'White Lady' and Carpenteria californica (aka bush anemone).  Bearded Iris and Lantana add touches of purple and lavender.


That's a wrap for this week.  I'm off to Santa Barbara County on a plant shopping expedition this weekend, not that I have any business buying more plants.  But I'm sure I will.  I hope you have a chance to do something you enjoy this weekend too.


All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

18 comments:

  1. Centhranthus ruber and nasturtiums were the most frequent "weeds" in San Francisco gardens, which was just another of the wonderful aspects of the city to me. Too hot here for nasturtiums, too wet for Centranthus, and the bulk of the weeds here are tougher customers altogether.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was surprised that Centranthus could take the dry conditions in my garden, particularly on that back slope where it's a challenge to grow anything. Their self-seeding was a bit over-the-top following the winter rains, though, and I clearly didn't do enough thinning.

      Delete
  2. These are all lovely, but the combination that really sings is the Spanish lavender, chartreuse Euphorbia, and white daisies. The soft reds on either side set off those colors well without drawing attention to themselves (unusual for reds!). It's the dark intensity of the lavender flowers that makes it -- another magical effect of real winter rain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Nell, Lavender stoechas is looking fantastic. It self-seeds a little for me - we'll have to see if it spreads itself around a bit this year.

      Delete
  3. Well, the yellow Freesias may annoy you because they aren't what they were sold as, but the color combo of blue and yellow is satisfyingly complementary, and I think it looks good. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed this post, thanks for doing a special post showing the plants in combo. Your floriferous garden is delightful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had SO many yellow Freesia already, Alsion, I wasn't prepared to introduce more. Last year, I relocated the pink Freesia I got in lieu of the blue ones I thought I'd bought but I'm not sure where I'd move this new batch of yellow bulbs. I may offer them up for adoption within my neighborhood.

      Delete
  4. Beautiful gardens Kris! Everything in bloom and such a variety. The winter rains have blessed the gardens and given you a profusion of beauty. Beautiful combinations of flowers and a wonderful garden tour.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Always a pleasure to view your gardens, Kris. Impossible to choose a favorite view!
    Have a wonderful weekend. I'll look forward to what goodies you bring back from your field trip. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do have a working list of items I'd like to "fill in" selected areas, Eliza - not that my lists ever seem to actually impact my purchases ;)

      Delete
  6. Devil's beard is an invasive alien weed for us.

    Blue freesia sounds like a new horticultural variation - so probably rarer. I still prefer the species to the vivid large flowers.

    I like your frothy bubbly welcome at the entrance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The white Coleonema does add a wonderful light feeling to the front entrance, Diana. It's a great plant in and out of bloom, although I do wish the flowers had a nicer scent but maybe the problem lies with my nose - I haven't heard anyone else complain about the smell.

      Delete
  7. I love the froth out front. It does make you think you are in the clouds. Sweet. I know the feeling of getting a marked wrong plant. So irritating. Have fun flower shopping, not that I am encouraging you to purchase more plants or anything. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Last year I said maybe I should stick to buying my Freesias in bloom so I could be certain of their color but I really didn't expect to get something other than the "blue" variety identified on the bag's label 2 years in a row, Lisa :(

      Delete
  8. Should we all be so lucky to have so many flowers in bloom that we have to highlight them in two separate posts!

    You are a plant combination guru - all of your beds are incredible. I'm now in the "information gathering" stage when it comes to my ornamental beds and there is just so much to consider! In planning them out, I'm trying to be conscious of the progression of blooms and will undoubtedly make many mistakes where combinations just don't work out. I have to say, though, that I enjoy "tweaking" things almost as much as coming up with the original plan, so I'm ok with that. Can't wait to see what follows you home from Santa Barbara ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was meticulous about designing my beds when they were first planted (after we tore out our lawn section by section). I'm not nearly as careful when it comes to the tweaking required when a plant dies or fails to inspire me - then it's more a matter of: which plant I fell in love with without having a spot for can I shoe into that space? I hope your tweaking proceeds more smoothly than mine, Margaret.

      Delete
  9. So many gorgeous combinations. I admire your planning and tweaking as I mostly just plop the plants in wherever there's space.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My "tweaking" amounts to the same thing, Peter - and whatever plan I originally had slowly devolves.

      Delete

I enjoy receiving your comments and suggestions!