French-style floral flair

Close your eyes and think of France ... or just take a gander at Virginia and Richard Mullins’s garden in Seattle. The couple asked designers Madelyn Katzman and Bob Lilly to give them something colorful and French.

And they got it, in a stunning classic style.

This little vista seems more Mediterranean than maritime, with its formal composition, gray gravel, stately urn, and clipped boxwood. And look: It even includes lavender, seemingly whisked from fields in Provence.

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The picture is one of balance, perhaps achingly so if it were not for the infusion of bold color brushed like oils on a cool green canvas. The drifts are compact, nicely edited.

And the juxtaposition of height – coneflower up, sedum down, checkerbloom up, hydrangea down – is softly bobbing, not lurching.

And as far as the focal point goes: Doesn’t the verbena – front and center – seem to have that come-hither look? Mais oui.

NOTE: Creative Combos is an occasional feature focusing on highly effective plant combinations. You can find others in this series herehere, here, and here.

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