Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pleasing Associations...

In the garden today I was noticing how certain plant combinations catch my eye. Like this 'Moonlight' Nasturtium that has climbed three feet to sit proudly atop this Rosemary. I planted a seed last spring, that's all. She took it from there!
~Click any photo to enlarge~

And these apple leaves glowing in the new poppy foliage.

Or the amusing juxtaposition of the microscopic flowers of Fuchsia thymifolia, and their more full-figured relative.

Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender' has entwined herself firmly into Nandina 'Firepower' near the bubbling water pot. I only introduced them, I swear! She took over all on her know the type.

The Begonia richmondiensis and Coleus are waning a bit, but doing a good job of propping each other up.

I love how the renegade Fig has cozied up to the Bambusa oldhamii. He's an escapee from the neighbor's yard, and has agreed that he will remain a shrub. This is one season's growth, not bad...

By late autumn, many plants who were planted a tidy distance apart have bridged the gap, like this orange Diascia who is now chummy with the Coleonema 'Sunset Gold.'

Or the Woolly Thyme that is now sliding right under the Yucca out for those sharp tips!

I notice other things, like how Aeonium 'Thundercloud' and Pittosporum 'Golf Ball' do such completely different things with purple and green...

And how Stipa arundinacea (OK, OK, dang, Anemanthele lessoniana, hate it when they change my friend's names!) glows in sharp contrast to Senecio vitalis.

Or how the foliage of California Poppies and Artichokes springs fresh in winter; I love their similar color and form, at different scales.

Grevillea 'Coastal Gem,' Purple Sage, and Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' settle in for a long, sunny winter on top of this south-facing wall; the perfect spot for a trio that likes things warm, lean, and well drained.

The Dwarf Pomegranate and Stachys 'Primrose Heron' are about the same size now, and kinda fighting over the arm rest. But Pom will continue on to small bonsai-d treehood, while Prim will maintain dominion at ground level. A lot of my garden started small; Pom was a tiny beast in a 4" pot last spring; he'll be fun to train.

Stipa tenuissima (OK, OK, Nassella tenuissima, sheesh), Salvia apiana, Limonium perezzii and Senecio vitalis win the low-water, easy-care combination award this year. Yes, Nassella is a prolific seeder, but a regular grooming with a wide-toothed comb helps to keep this tendency in check and the blades free to move in the wind.

Volunteer seedlings of Lavender Stoechas multiply each year in my park strip and are the opening act and sidekick for the spring bulbs planted there. With the fall rains, the Dutch Iris are already up.

These harmonious associations in my garden please me, like when I introduce people I like and they become friends. They confirm that
my instincts are good, but theirs are better; I can only control so much. Perhaps the most credit I can take is giving them opportunity to grow
as they will.


  1. Lovely pictures, thoughts and writing...erna

  2. Liza and John's Garden has chosen you for the BEST BLOG AWARD

  3. Erna, thank you as always! would love to see your garden in Paraguay sometime.

    John, whoa, really? What does that mean? I better visit your blog and find out, thanks!

  4. Great foliage and flower combination pictures Laura well done on your detailed observations.

  5. Beautiful plant combinations. Lovely photos too... I love the light in many of them.

  6. Do you feel like a gossip columnist reporting the latest couplings among the rich & famous, Laura? Also have to keep track of their name changes.
    These are fun - but the part that gets me is volunteer Lavender stoechas ...such temporary tenants here, and they never reproduce!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  7. I love all the associations the garden develops, some planned, some not, some ephemeral, others rooted in the earth and seemingly forever. I'm especially drawn to the "figboo" combination you discovered. The giant fig leaves against the bamboo culms is really beautiful!

  8. @Pat, thanks! High praise from a plantsman like you!

    @Carol, thanks for visiting! The low light this time of year has been KILLER for photos; I see pretty pictures everywhere...

    @Annie LOL! Exactly...just call me the plant paparazza...

    @James, thanks for visiting, I love your blog. And I agree about our natives taking on a new life in fall and winter: Heteromeles is my absolute favorite berry to use for wreaths.

    Y'all come back now, ya hear?

  9. beautiful eye for color combinations which i'm also passionate about and the photos are great, i'm enjoying your blog


  10. Thanks for visiting Noel, your blog is a treat too! Aloha!

  11. Beautiful combinations as always. I agree with James, we can plan beautiful plant marriages, but sometimes the accidental ones are even prettier.

  12. Just beautiful, beautiful, Laura! And I love it that you comb your grass. LOL.

  13. Thanks, Susie...loved your 'mixed messages' post!

    Haha Kylee, it's VERY satisfying to comb my grasses: big handfuls of fluffy seedheads and a sleek coif left behind. Reminds me of detangling my daughter's hair when she was young, with MUCH less squirming!