Saturday, March 15, 2008


Webster defines ensemble as a group producing a single effect. In the garden, it is probably my favorite endeavor. It is one thing to appreciate the beauty of a single flower, but quite another to view it as one part of a group. The possibilities are limitless. You can mix textures against each other, as well as colors, size, and lights against darks. Blue is blue on its own, but contrast it with yellow and it is zowie blue!

For me, the most challenging part of making a garden is mixing plants for effect. First you have to know which plants can survive in similar growing conditions with each other. The art of combining comes next. If you get it right, it's exhilarating! Other times nature does it for you, but even then you have to pay attention or you might miss a grand ensemble.

I planted some Daffodil bulbs last fall, in a bed of Veronica umbrosa 'Georgia Blue' hoping the combination would succeed. When I saw the first yellow buds forming on my daffodils, I could see the bed would be even more 'smashing' with another color. I found the perfect 'Georgia Blue' companion when I stumbled upon some annual phlox, named Phlox Intensia 'Cabernet.' The burgundy flowers were just what the blue needed to punch things up a bit. I also love the little hint of blue on the inner most part of Cabernet's petals. When the Daffodils began to open I knew I had a pleasing combination.

I don't consider the garden 'going' until the ensembles start. Once they do, they provide the inspiration to keep at it. As I prepare for the spring, summer, fall, and winter the biggest thing on my mind is the artful combination. ---And I'm off....

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