Creative plant combinations

Use silver foliage to blend plants of many colors in the landscape.

David McDonald
PATHWAY COLOR: Susan Ryley of Victoria, British Columbia, uses plants with silver foliage to create a charming scene.

This stunning garden showcases two "lessons" in effective – which is to say gorgeous – landscaping.

1. Silver – or gray, if you will – is a stellar transition, easing the interplay between differing colors.

2. Garden art – in this case, a handsome, painted terra-cotta urn – can be used not only as a focal point, but as a beacon.

The cherry-lipstick colors of the rockrose shrub (Cistus creticus) seem to be put on a pedestal by the white-flowering campion (Lychnis coronaria ‘Alba’) and the downy, ferny foliage of partridge feather (Tanacetum densum).

The color of the rockrose flowers in the background is echoed by a paler version in the hardy geranium in the lower left – thematic, yet kept at arm’s length by the cool grays.

Gardener Susan Ryley plans on progressive perennial color in her Victoria, British Columbia, garden, too. The gray-leaved alyssum’s yellow flowers may have passed, but the partridge feather’s yellows will soon arrive.

The gray urn is placed alongside the gravel-and-slate, two-toned steps as a signal: Hey, folks, step right this way.

It’s kind of like a mullet haircut: business in the front, party in the back.

Note: This is an occasional feature focusing on highly effective plant combinations.

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