There are those clients that love that grassy, wispy, pastel and herb look. For lack of a better term, I call these my “roadside” weed plantings. As pale and fragile as they appear, they just hit their stride as the summer begins to wind down. Cooler night temperatures don’t faze them one bit. One of my most favorite weedy combinations-the big wispy species, verbena bonariensis, and an ornamental grass.
I am a fan of ornamental grasses-espcially the thin bladed wiry types that stand up well. This hedge of panicum virgatum is a welcome textural change from the dark stiffly formal yew hedge pictured above. When I add verbena bonariensis in front of this grass, something good starts cooking. It might very well be that orangy cast typical of a panic grass setting seed; the lavender verbena flowers seem more intensely lavender.
This simple and soft flower/grass hedge transforms a strictly formal evergreen garden for the summer months. Running the entire length of the landscape on both ends of the pool, its cloud-like appearance is on one hand in stark contrast to the modern chaises, and on the other, friendly in feeling and color to the loosely planted pots.
Alyssum, lavender, silver posie thyme and tricolor sage make a pale ruff around a blue foliaged escheveria in this old stone box. The peach flowers of the echeveria-a bonus. Though delicate in appearance, these plants are drought and frost resistant. It interests me that something so fragile in appearance can withstand hit-and-miss care. Plant combinations such as this one are as foolproof as they come. Deadhead the lavender, and shear the alyssum once in a while-that’s all. Their only enemy-too much water.
jjThere are other grey foliaged plants that are just as rugged. Though I am not so fond of the cut-leaf annual dusty miller, the paddle shaped leaves of cirrus dusty miller I find very appealing. The texture of simple shaped leaves, repeated in a smaller version with the silver helicrysum, is a great contrast to the needle foliaged icicle plant. The saucy and ferny foliaged plant in the center-a silver centaurea. Only the white nicotiana in this basket would fuss if you forgot to water.
The trailing plant front and center in this pot-showy oregano. Though they show poorly in pots early on, they fill out beautifully. The papery bracts are the palest green, lavender and peach.
Once you have seen Kent Beauty oregano, you will want to grow it.
These plants are fairly diminuitive growers, so not so much grooming and shaping is necessary. Though it is late summer, no plant is overgrown, or threatening the well-being of a neighbor. This pot has shown well the better part of four months.
The big pots have grass, a broad leaved bamboo, and a tall dahlia as centerpieces. The pastel petunias have that same loose weedy look as the grassy beds. One would never suspect this planting was photographed in late September. This pleases me, as I so hate to see a season come to a close.