26th Jan, 2011

Great Garden Combinations

Thinking about perennial combinations in the middle of winter is folly of course but what else to dream away a miserable dull winter day?

I asked one of my favourite gardeners, Monique Dobson, if she would come up with her favourite combo and this is what she sent me:

This is Gentian scabra ‘True Blue’ with Hakonochloa macra ‘All Gold’  and a dazzling combination it is

Gentian scarbra 'True Blue + Hak

The hak is Japanese hedge grass and it has practically no down time at all. In spring all it needs is to be whacked back to the ground the minute there’s new growth and it will be popping out looking absolutely great.  You have to wait until late summer  for the gentian to look this good and for this moment.  They are glorious plants and that blue is so intense it carries for a huge distance. But what’s so smart about this combination is that the gold background makes it pop even more than usual.

This is an Asian gentian and hardy to Z5 but it needs sun though not hot full sun and must have really well drained soil. What a great genus because there’s a gentian from almost every part of the globe and it’s a fantastic plant to collect.

I’ve tried G. septemfida but  ignored the well-drained part and it drowned in the spring flood.  Next time I’d put it in a raised bed with lots of organic matter in the soil.

I got an e-mail from Darrell Probst the developer of this cultivar (cultivated variety). He says:

“It is a hybrid of several species including Gentiana makinoi and so it is tolerant of a variety of situations. It will take full sun in all of Canada as well as most of the US. It is actually hardy to at least zone 3 and should be fine in most garden soils although it might turn chlorotic in especially alkaline soil.”

If you have a combination that’s as stunning as this one, send it to me and let me comment on it.  I’ll throw in some of my own as well. It’s going to be a long winter.

Responses

Hi Marjorie,
What a great way to prepare for the gardening season ( it will come).
There seems to be too much emphasis on garden problems and what went wrong, and, whereas we can learn so much from our mistakes we also need to take stock of our successes.
I will forward one of my favourite combinations soon ( when I can figure out how to do that).

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I can almost feel the earth, well I did until the foot of snow this week :(. One of my favourite combinations is in early spring. The soft blue petals of Forget Me Nots towering over the pure purple of ole violas. mmmmm and I’m not such a fan of blue in the garden, but for that view I let them be 🙂

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