For many people, gardens are all about the plants. But looking at individual plants in isolation is like a chef only choosing one ingredient based on its taste and ignoring the rest of the dish. It is when plants are combined into successful arrangements that your garden really starts to zing with flavour, to complete the analogy. We’d like to introduce you to a few of our favourite planting associations, starting with a selection from the garden in June.
For full sun: Salvia nemorosa ‘Ostfriesland’ with Alchelmilla mollis
This combination works well as the deep purply blue spikes of the Salvia contrast the rounded forms of the Alchemilla’s leaves as well as its airy flower heads. Likewise the deep colour of the Salvia really sings against the zingy lime of the Lady’s Mantle. For perfection, try adding a few delicate purple Aquilegias – not only will they tone in well with the others, but their leaves turn a beautiful purply shade which matches exactly the spent flowerheads of the Salvia later on in the summer. All you need to do to keep this combination looking at its best is trim the leaves and heads of the Alchemilla when it gets tatty and you’ll have a fresh flush of growth later on in the summer.
A planting combination for shade: Astrantia ‘Buckland’ with Digitalis ‘Dalmatian White’
This combination works well to brighten up a shady corner of the garden, with mound forming Astrantia the mainstay and ground cover, with good foliage and soft white open flowers with dainty pale pink centres, set off with dramatic spikes of lush foxgloves, their white throats speckled with deep pink. Complete the picture with a few ferns and you won’t need much else for the rest of the summer.