Principled Gardening – The Final Chapter: Proportion

Today is the last Monday of the month, the last day of the year, and the last installment in our Principled Gardener series – we have one last design principle to look at and that is Proportion.

Proportion is related to Scale – in fact the terms are often used interchangeably, but I consider them to be different enough to present separately. You may recall from Part 7 of this series that Scale refers to the size of landscape elements in relation to their existing surroundings, i.e adjacent buildings, neighbouring buildings/trees etc. Proportion on the other hand, is the size of landscape elements in relation to each other and to the design as a whole. It can also refer to the ratio of one dimension to another, such as width to length.

So how do we know if the various elements and dimensions in our design are proportionate to one another? To some degree this must be intuited, but there are a few guidelines that may be helpful.

For relatively simple designs, the rule of thirds, or an adaptation thereof, can be used. As it pertains to landscape design, this means elements or dimensions that relate to each other in a 1:3 or 2:3 ratio.

This is most effective when applied to linear dimensions. For example, in my own front yard the linear distance from the street to the house is roughly divided into thirds, one-third being garden space and two-thirds lawn space. (Please ignore the goofy little strips of lawn at the bottom on both sides – bad design.)

PROPORTION - front yard

If however, we look at the horizontal dimension of this same yard, the rule of thirds isn’t adhered to. The existing walkway is too far to the right, and more significantly, the overall or cumulative width of the side beds is only 14 feet – less than the 20 feet needed to satisfy the rule of thirds.

PROPORTION - front yard 2

Both beds would have to be wider to make up one-third of the total horizontal space, but the current position of the walkway and the two Cotoneaster shrubs preclude this option.

While these horizontal proportions may be less than optimal, the overall proportions are still quite favourable – at least on paper. However, because the yard slopes somewhat, the garden area in front of the house appears much shallower from the street. This makes the lawn look disproportionately large in both directions – a real source of frustration for me. It could of course be remedied, but not using the present design lines. I get tired just thinking about the work required to execute effective change, not to mention the expense. You can see why good design requires some forethought, preferably expressed first on paper. I suspect if I’d known what I was doing decades ago when I began this whole thing, I would have designed something very different. Sigh.

For now I’ll just have to resort to that hypocritical mantra of many a parent, teacher or boss: ‘Do as I say, not as I do’.

But enough about me.  Let’s look at a simple design that puts the rule of thirds to work. The example below illustrates a symmetrical design using the rule of thirds to achieve good proportion. You can see that all of the rectangular spaces relate to one another in a 1:3 or 2:3 ratio – the lawn area is 2/3 the width of the property, the dining area is 2/3 the width of the lawn and the seating area is 2/3 the width of the dining area.

Rule of ThirdsIn addition each rectangle is in itself proportioned such that the shorter dimension is two-thirds the length of the longer one. The result is a design with very pleasing proportions.

PROPORTION - plant material

The rule of thirds can also be applied to plant selection, albeit loosely as plants don’t reach an exact height, but rather a range – keeping this range in mind can help you achieve well proportioned planting arrangements.

In the photo on the right, two Syringa sp. together with Picea pungens, illustrate one such plant grouping.

Containers too can be arranged this way – many ‘nesting pots’ are trios that bear a 1/3, 2/3 relationship to each other. Planting them in a similar or identical manner is very effective.

These 3 containers on my client's front deck display good proportion based roughly on the rule of thirds. Photo: Pat Gaviller

These 3 containers on my client’s front deck display good proportion based roughly on the rule of thirds. Photo: Pat Gaviller

The rule of thirds is not always easily or realistically applicable – existing hardscapes, the shape of adjacent buildings, positioning of property lines, or even the design itself, can make this tool ineffectual. Many of the elements we add to our gardens – be they plants, focal points or furniture – don’t really lend themselves to the use of this ratio either. This is when we just have to rely on our intuition and common sense.

Consider a tiny bird bath or piece of statuary – it might appear lost in an expanse of trees and large shrubs, but be right at home amongst smaller perennials. Likewise, that gargantuan classical fountain may look ridiculous adorning a small urban patio, but fit perfectly into a more grandiose courtyard or terrace, as illustrated in the photos below.

Court of the Lions, Alhambra, Granada, Andalusia

Court of the Lions, Alhambra, Granada, Andalusia. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Gardens at the Livadiya Palace, Crimea, Ukraine.

Gardens at the Livadiya Palace, Crimea, Ukraine. Photo Credit: Andrew Butko, Wikipedia

Another way we can ensure good proportion in our landscapes is with the use of a grid. To do this, draw a series of vertical and horizontal lines on some trace paper and place over a plan view of your property. It’s most effective if you can make the size of the grid square relate to the house in some way, but be careful not to make the square too small or the whole purpose will be defeated. In the example below, I’ve chosen a grid square that is the same size as the house indentation in the right corner.

GRID

The grid lines are then used as an outline for the design.

PROPORTION - RECTILINEAR

Your choice of design concept isn’t limited to straight lines as the grid is just a template – arcs could be inserted into some of the corners to create an Arc & Tangent design. Each arc would necessarily segment or bisect a grid square.

PROPORTION - ARC & TANGENT

For circular or curvilinear designs a grid can still be used, but because there are no straight lines it must be more loosely interpreted. Ideally the outermost point of an arc or circle should extend to a grid line – since this isn’t always possible using up a half grid square is acceptable.

GRID - circular

Regardless of the concept, the spatial relationship that now exists between all design elements, is one of good proportion.

GRID - RECTILINEAR Colour

GRID - CIRCULAR Colour

So ladies and gentlemen, there you have it – design principles in a nutshell. It’s been a long process – thanks for your patient reading.

Happy New Year to Y’all
Sue
 
 
© Sue Gaviller and Not Another Gardening Blog 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sue Gaviller and Not Another Gardening Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Are You Done Yet?

I’m not.

Getting there though – just a few gifts left to take care of, mostly stocking stuffers really. How about you – still looking for some last-minute Christmas gift ideas? Well maybe we can help.

Is there a gardener on your list? Good – we gardeners are easy to buy for. Gardening can be hard work, so anything that makes it a little easier on us is always appreciated. Ergonomic secateurs, long-handled shears, a really good pair of buttery-soft leather gardening gloves, gardener’s soap and hand balm – all make very thoughtful gifts. Or how about a beautiful gardening book?  A gardener can never have too many of those – we especially like books with big glossy pictures (my husband calls this plant porn).

Not a gardener? Sorry I can’t be of much help then – our Sommelier extraordinaire has some ideas though…….

The Spirits of Giving

by Len Steinberg

It’s that time of year. We’re preparing for the season of giving and not everyone on our list is easy to buy for. Some already have everything they need, some are just picky and some we just don’t know very well.  I have some solutions for you.

Rich foods, baking and sweets are a big part of the Christmas Season. There a number of wines that will work very well with those sweet indulgences and make excellent gifts.

Port

This is a fortified wine which finds its origin in the Douro Valley of Portugal. Port is produced by arresting the fermentation process with neutral spirits – this preserves the natural sweetness of the grapes while boosting the alcohol level to 17 to 22%. It comes in a number of styles:

  • Ruby, a young fresher style.
  • Tawny, a barrel aged oxidized style which is classified by age.        
  • LBV or Late Bottled Vintage, which fits in the middle of the two styles. I feel LBV port is one of the best values on the market.
  • Vintage port, declared in only the best years, has great longevity in bottle and is of course pricey.
Tawny Port

Tawny Port. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Port is usually served after a meal and pairs well with baking, chocolate and nuts.

The classic cheese pairing would be Stilton, and Christmas cake or Christmas pudding also work splendidly.

Dessert Wines

Dessert wines come in a number of styles:

Late Harvest Wine

Late Harvest wines are produced from grapes left on the vines for an extended period of time, which allows for a concentration of flavour and sugars. This style of wine is produced around the globe, Canada being a premier producer, along with Alsace, Germany and Australia. Look for grape varieties of Riesling, Vidal, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. They pair well with fruit flans, caramel tarts and strong cheeses, even blue cheese.

Ice Wine

Ice Wine is a unique production process that can only take place in colder climates. Grapes are left on the vine to freeze to temperatures of -8 to -10 Celsius. The grapes are then picked and fermented into beautifully structured dessert wines. Canada produces some of the world’s greatest examples of Ice Wine, from both Ontario and British Columbia. In Quebec they are producing Ice Apple Ciders that are delicious. These wines are concentrated and as a result the prices tend to be a little higher.

Ice wine grapes frozen on the vine. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Ice wine grapes frozen on the vine. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Ice Wine is produced mostly from white grapes like Riesling or Vidal but some producers are making wines from red varieties like Cabernet Franc. These wines present rich fruit on the nose and due to the high acidity, are much crisper and more structured than you might expect. They pair well with a full range of desserts – be sure to take into account the grape variety when pairing.

Sauterne

Sauternes and other Botrytis Affected wines are quite extraordinary. The grapes used to produce these wines are infected with the benevolent form of Botrytis cinerea or Noble Rot. This fungus breaks down the cellular walls of the grape which causes the fruit to lose moisture, concentrating the sugars and flavours, and developing bold structure.

Botrytis cinerea on Semillon grapes. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Botrytis cinerea on Semillon grapes. Photo credit: Wikipedia

In the Sauterne region of France the classic grapes used are Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, in a blend.

In Alsace, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Muscat grapes are used. You can find BA wines from many wine-producing countries, including Canada and the US.

Sauternes are the standard for this style of wine. They have great cellaring potential, improving with age. They are complex enough to be paired with savoury dishes, classically Fois Gras and Roquefort. For dessert pairings, accent flavours of apple, pear, cinnamon or exotic fruits. Ginger Bread is always a favorite too.  These wines come in many price ranges, with the quality being directly linked to price.

Champagne and Sparkling Wines

These are the sought-after wines of celebration.

Champagne uncorking. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Champagne uncorking. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Sparkling wines are made around the world, but the classic bubbles – true Champagne – comes from Champagne, France. Here the wines are produced in various styles, from 3 grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

Champagne is produced by secondary fermentation in bottle, producing the mousse or bubbles we love so much. You can find less expensive sparkling wines that use the Charmat or tank method of production, like Prosecco or Asti.

All sparkling wines are very versatile and make excellent aperitifs, on their own or with the addition of a flavoured liqueur. As well, they can be paired with almost any course with an affinity to seafood, shellfish and fresh fruit.

The gift of wine is always a treat, but there are also alternatives for those that prefer stronger beverages.  Choose someone’s favorite Whisky, Brandy, Tequila, or Rum. For those who don’t imbibe there are Sparkling Ciders, and Alcohol-free wines and sparkling wines.

Essentially there is something for everyone in the world of wine. Let’s raise a glass to the season.

“To Life”
Len
© Sue Gaviller and Not Another Gardening Blog 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sue Gaviller and Not Another Gardening Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A Nice Pair Part 2 – What Should I Have to Drink With This?

‘Tis the season.

Depending on your cultural or religious background you might be participating in the frenzy of shopping, cooking, eating and drinking that is the Christmas Season. So many decisions still to make – like what to buy for Mom or Dad, son, daughter, boss or in-laws. Or what delectable delights we’re going to dish up for our guests. And what kind of wine should we serve with that?

Resident Sommelier, Len Steinberg, offers some helpful hints…………..

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

by Len Steinberg
 

Winter has arrived with a vengeance. I know weather varies by locale but when you live anywhere in Canada you just can’t escape the cold. The seasons change, as do our appetites and menu choices. Fall and winter fare tends to be on the heartier side. We move away from the lighter meals of summer to the rich flavours of comfort food, like braised and roasted meats, stews, and soups. These, along with the texture and flavours of root vegetables and hearty grains, will be on the menu for the duration.

The switch to winter fare also brings the change on our palates for wine. Not to suggest that there isn’t a place for fresh whites and lighter reds, but the seasonal changes in cooking styles call for heavier wines to match the weight of our dishes. The whites tend to be fuller and richer in texture while the reds are deeper and more structured.

Here is a quick look at a few seasonal dishes and some possible pairings.

Roast chicken is one of our favorites. We still like a dry Riesling for this one, but an oaked Chardonnay or a Bordeaux White is also a great match. If the sauce is rich, a chipotle rub for example, a medium bodied red like a Cotes du Rhone or Pinot Noir is a good fit.

Baked ham or roast pork is a fine choice for a hearty meal. Once again a white may be on the menu, possibly Viognier or an Arneis from Piedmont. Reds work too – maybe a Spanish Grenache, a medium bodied Zinfandel from California, or a Barbera.

Pasta in our house calls for red wine. A Chianti, Valpolicella or Chilean Carmenere is always nice.

Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma region in California

Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma region in California.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Stews of any sort call for bold reds. Whether lamb or beef, braised meats have that concentrated richness from the slow cook. I like to use a similar wine in the sauce while it simmers. Merlot, Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon will enhance the flavours of the dish.

Roasted beef or lamb is rich protein and the flavours demand the structure of big Reds. I reach for Bordeaux Reds or Meritage Blends, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz or Nebbiolo to round out the meal.

This is a great time of year to explore the world of wine. Try a new producer, country or grape variety. Wine can be a fun and inexpensive way to ‘travel’ to warmer climes as we endure the storms of winter.

Malbec vineyard in Cahors, Southwest France

Vineyard in Cahors, Southwest France. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Take a beautiful Malbec from Southwest France.

As you inhale the complexity of the aromas, close your eyes and imagine standing in the vineyards on a warm summer afternoon.

Works for me.

Cheers,
Len
 
© Sue Gaviller and Not Another Gardening Blog 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sue Gaviller and Not Another Gardening Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

A Nice Pair

………Of plants that is.  (Well what did you think I meant?)

Now that winter is here to stay,  I thought I’d take this opportunity to profile some ‘pretty plant pairs’ that caught my eye this year, and why it is they look so great together. I actually started writing this post months ago. Each plant pair I profiled had a clever name and was followed with the subheading ‘Why This Works’. However after visiting a favourite blog, Christina Salwitz’s personalgardencoach.com, I discovered that I’d been beaten to the post (no pun intended). Christina has just co-authored a beautiful book on plant combinations and shared a couple of sample pages in her Aug. 1st blog post. Like me, she’s given her combos clever names, like ‘Strawberries and Chocolate’, and after each one has a subtitle ‘Why This Works’.

Wow – really? Yes really. I guess great minds think alike.

Anyway my first thought was to abandon the idea altogether, but I decided to go ahead and just rework my format. Besides they’re really very different approaches – Christina’s is a fabulous ‘how-to’ book on creating artful foliage combinations. Mine is a more casual read, a haphazard ‘see how pretty these look together’ approach. I’ll still tell you why they work though – sans the subtitle. And I’m keeping my cutesy names……….

Courtin’ Couples

Stella and Karl

When combining plants, it’s important to consider contrast and/or repetition of colour, form and texture. Hemerocallis ‘Stella d’Oro’ and Calamagrostis acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ make a subtle but effective combo, for a couple of reasons  –  Stella’s strappy  foliage is a broader version of Karl’s grassy foliage and the same dark green, so provides repetition.

Hemerocallis 'Stella d'Oro' and Calamagrostis acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’

Hemerocallis ‘Stella d’Oro’ and Calamagrostis acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’. Photo: Pat Gaviller

As well, in early summer when the grass sends up its vertical inflorescence, the soft arching form of the daylilies contrasts beautifully with the upright form of the grasses. As the grass turns to gold in late summer, it will echo the colour of Stella’s blooms. The two look striking together as a linear planting along the fence and will become more so as they both mature.

Stella and………….another Karl?

Hemerocallis 'Stella d'Oro' and Campanula carpatica v. turbinata ‘Karl Foerster’

Hemerocallis ‘Stella d’Oro’ and Campanula carpatica v. turbinata ‘Karl Foerster’. Photo: Pat Gaviller

That’s right Stella is cheating on Karl – with another of the same name. Here she’s seen with Campanula carpatica var. turbinata ‘Karl Foerster’, bred by famed Swedish hybridizer Karl Foerster, who of course also bred the aforementioned grassy Karl.

This Campanula cultivar is used extensively in Europe, but can be difficult to obtain here – I special ordered mine years ago. No matter, C. carpatica ‘Deep Blue Clips’ will do quite nicely.

The key to this combo is the colour contrast, as well the contrasting forms – the fountain shape of Hemerocallis arches nicely over the rounded mound of Campanula. Nice pair eh?

Stella and Ruby

Tsk, tsk – Stella you do get around don’t you! This time she’s with Berberis thunbergii ‘Ruby Carousel’ – a stunning combination. Stella’s bright gold blooms contrast beautifully with the barberry’s dark wine-coloured foliage as well as the texture, and her arching form repeats the form of Ruby’s horizontal arching branches.

Hemerocallis ‘Stella d'Oro' and Berberis thunbergii ‘Ruby Carousel’

Hemerocallis ‘Stella d’Oro’ and Berberis thunbergii ‘Ruby Carousel’. Photo: Pat Gaviller

Okay enough of Stella’s tawdry affairs – let’s move on to something more appetizing.

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Palatable Pairs

Guacamole and Plum Pudding

Hosta 'Guacamole' and Heuchera 'Plum Pudding'

Hosta ‘Guacamole’ and Heuchera ‘Plum Pudding’.
Photo: Sue Gaviller

Guacamole & Plum Pudding? Blech! That sounds decidedly unpalatable – sure looks pretty though doesn’t it?  The contrast in hue is lovely, and since Hosta ‘Guacamole’ and Heuchera ‘Plum Pudding’ are both foliage perennials, this colour combo is offered on the menu all season long.

Though both are very coarse-textured (large leaves), there’s still textural contrast because the Hosta leaves are so much larger, and their leaf shape differs significantly.

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Peaches and Salmon

Heuchera ‘Georgia Peach’ and Begonia ‘Nonstop Salmon’

Heuchera ‘Georgia Peach’ and Begonia ‘Nonstop Salmon’.
Photo: Sue Gaviller

C’mon now, peaches and salmon? That sounds awful too. However it looks quite delicious – the muted coral-rose leaves of Heuchera ‘Georgia Peach’ are a lovely foil for the bright coral-red blooms of Begonia ‘Nonstop Salmon’.

The contrast of slightly fuzzy Heuchera foliage with the waxy surface of Begonia leaves, also contributes to the success of this container combo.

As well, the lobed foliage of both nicely echo each other.

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Peaches and Cream

Now that sounds yummy – like summer brunch on the patio.

These two foliage plants display understated colour contrast because they are both muted hues.  Variegated foliage like that of Cornus alba ‘Cream Cracker’ always makes an eye-catching backdrop for warm colours like this Heuchera ‘Georgia Peach’.

Heuchera ‘Georgia Peach’ and Cornus alba ‘Cream Cracker

Heuchera ‘Georgia Peach’ and Cornus alba ‘Cream Cracker. Photo: Sue Gaviller

While one might think that the two-toned colouring of each would make for a ‘too busy’ picture, it really doesn’t. The veining of the Heuchera leaves presents quite differently from the dogwood variegation so they don’t compete visually with one another. In fact they make a truly scrumptious pair.

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Berries and Cream

Sorbus decora berries and Cornus alba 'Cream Cracker'

Sorbus decora berries and Cornus alba ‘Cream Cracker’.
Photo: Sue Gaviller

Mmmm, this too sounds tasty. The berries from a client’s Sorbus decora were so plentiful that they hung down into the Cornus alba ‘Cream Cracker’ below. As I said of the previous pair, variegated foliage is an excellent foil for warm colours. Here the effect is even more stunning because the berries are also very bright against the more muted tones of the dogwood foliage.

The Cornus leaf petioles are the same plum-red as that of both the Sorbus leaf petioles and the peduncle/pedicels of the berries, hence providing subtle repetition.

As well, the peachy pink colour of the changing leaves is a lovely contrast to the berries – tasty indeed!

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Opposites Attract

Red-violet and Yellow-green

Red-violet and Yellow-green, as seen in this pairing of Paeonia ‘Morning Lilac’ and Spiraea bumalda ‘Goldmound’, are opposite each other on the colour wheel. Using these complementary colours together makes a dramatic, eye-catching combination – generous amounts of basic green foliage should therefore be included to soften the high contrast.

Paeonia ‘Morning Lilac’ and Spiraea bumalda 'Goldmound'

Paeonia ‘Morning Lilac’ and Spiraea bumalda ‘Goldmound’. Photo: Sue Gaviller

Blue and Orange

Hemerocallis fulva (tawny daylily) and blue Delphinium

Hemerocallis fulva (tawny daylily) and blue Delphinium.
Photos: Sue Gaviller

Another complementary pairing, Hemerocallis fulva (tawny daylily) and two different shades of blue Delphinium team up to create a really outstanding combo.

In addition to the beautifully contrasting colours, the fountain-like form of Hemerocallis contrasts nicely with the very upright growth habit of Delphinium.

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Seasonal Fare

When choosing plant material, don’t forget to consider those many barren winter months. This twosome – Picea pungens var. glauca (Colorado blue spruce) and Prunus mackii (Amur cherry) – provides striking colour contrast throughout the off-season when little colour is present in our gardens and landscapes. The colour combo is effective because the blue-green of the spruce needles and the red-orange of the cherry bark are opposites, or complements.

Picea pungens var. glauca and Prunus mackii.

Picea pungens var. glauca and Prunus mackii. Photo: Sue Gaviller

Light and Dark

Just as opposite colours create high contrast, so does the combination of light and dark. This dark wine-coloured Hemerocallis ‘Purple d’Oro’ is gorgeous next to bright white Leucanthemum superbum. The sunny yellow daisy centres pick up on the lemon yellow throat of the daylily offering some nice repetition too.

Leucanthemum  superbum and Hemerocallis ‘Purple d'Oro'

Leucanthemum superbum and Hemerocallis ‘Purple d’Oro’. Photo: Sue Gaviller

Sun and Stars

Heliopsis helianthoides and Liatris spicata.

Heliopsis helianthoides and Liatris spicata. Photo: See Gaviller

False sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) and blazing star (Liatris spicata) make a dazzling duo.

Their successful partnership is due in part to the colour contrast, but also because of their textural differences – feathery spikes of mauve stars pair beautifully with the bright rays of sunny gold.

A casual pairing with real visual punch.

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Take a Walk on the Wild Side

A Woodland Pair

Actaea rubra and Matteuccia struthiopteris

Actaea rubra and Matteuccia struthiopteris. Photo: Sue Gaviller

Using native plants in our garden compositions can create a setting that looks very natural, as if Mother Nature herself planned it.

In this woodland pairing, the rich red berries and dark green toothed foliage of Actaea rubra (red baneberry) look striking with the light green, lacy fronds of Matteuccia  struthiopteris (ostrich fern).

(Please note that all parts of Actaea are poisonous, especially the berries, hence the common name ‘baneberry’.)

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Mother Knows Best

Sometimes Mother Nature does indeed put things together in the most charming way, as with this delightful duet – Aquilegia canadensis and Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens. Each of these wildflowers offers unique form that complements the other, and the very visible yellow stamens of the columbine nicely repeat the colour of the lady’s slipper. Couldn’t have done better myself!

Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens and Aquilegia canadensis

Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens and Aquilegia canadensis. Photo: Pat Gaviller

Threesome Anyone?

When I first espied this colourful combo from a block or so away, I noticed only the purple Salvia nemerosa ‘May Night’ and the bright yellow-green Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ but as I approached, camera in hand, I realized that a pink peony had flopped down to join them. I wanted to push it out of the way but then decided I quite liked this little trio – the plump pink peony was a pretty addition to the spiky sage and creeping groundcover, and actually softened the intense colour contrast between the two.

Salvia nemerosa ‘May Night’, Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ and Paeonia sp.

Salvia nemerosa ‘May Night’, Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ and Paeonia sp. Photo: Sue Gaviller

Whenever I go clothes shopping, before I buy that must-have new sweater, I ask myself “what have I got to wear this with?” Remember this the next time you’re out plant shopping – before you buy that must-have new shrub or perennial, ask yourself “what have I got to pair this with?”

And be sure to check out Christina’s book.

Stay warm,
Sue
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© Sue Gaviller and Not Another Gardening Blog 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sue Gaviller and Not Another Gardening Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.