By Marianne Binetti
My favorite plant combinations are couples that work well together to solve problems and make each other look better. Meet these couples with perfect marriages of convenience.
Purple Fountain Weeping Beech and Doublefile Viburnum
The Purple Fountain weeping beech tree, above, is a tall, dark and handsome specimen. Now marry it off to the lacey, pure-white wedding gown look of a doublefile viburnum and you have a stunning bride and groom with a beautiful contrast in form and foliage. Got deer? Together these two say, “Not tonight, deer.”
Sedum Angelina and Red Head Sempervivum
It is hard to keep plants in an urn alive without daily watering, but these two sedums make a dramatic union without any drinking problems. Hardy golden sedum Angelina drapes over the sides and surrounds the focal point sempervivum, or hens-and-chicks. This variety is called ‘Red Head’, and both survive Northwest winters.
Creeping Jenny and Black Mondo Grass
This ambitious couple adds flair to my front yard bed and also keeps down the weeds. This bed is in dry shade, which helps to control the domineering personality of the blond creeping Jenny. But I still need to get snippy with her at least once in early summer so she won’t overpower the dark edging of the black mondo grass border. I would rather snip than weed any day. Both plants add year-round foliage color.
Pieris, Thuja and Clematis
I love variegated foliage in front of a solid-green backdrop. This combo looks great all winter. Variegated Pieris japonica stands out against the dark-green Thuja ‘Emerald Green’ hedge and creates a living wall into a garden room. In summer the purple clematis adds some excitement to spice up the marriage. You don’t need a lattice for clematis when you grow a combo like this, and all three thrive in an area near cedars with very acid soil.
White Bark Birch and Purple ‘Rose Glow’ Barberry
Winter landscapes light up with the white bark of birch trees, and the contrasting dark foliage of a drought-resistant purple barberry brings out the best in this couple. The barberry in this photo has creamy-white variegation in the new spring growth and is called ‘Rose Glow’ barberry. Another low-maintenance duo that solves the problem of deer damage.
What plants have the perfect marriage in your garden?