Thursday, June 5, 2014

Late Spring Perennial Combos

A brief interlude from the peony avalanche... here is an assortment of pleasing combinations of perennials from throughout the garden in late May and early June.

Cotinus 'Velvet Cloak' with Euphorbia polychroma and the puffy seedpods of Pulsatilla vulgaris

I love the fabulous foliage of Cotinus 'Velvet Cloak' (Ok so this is technically a shrub...) with Euphorbia polychroma (Cushion Spurge).

Cotinus 'Velvet Cloak' with Euphorbia polychroma (Cushion Spurge)

The spurge looks splendid with anything strong enough to stand up to it - here with the strongly-colored magenta Geranium 'Patricia'. The spurge bracts are fading, while the geranium is just coming into bloom.

Euphorbia polychroma (Cushion spurge) with Geranium 'Patricia'

Ice-blue Amsonia hubrichtii (Bluestar) with bright magenta Geranium sanguineum (Bloody Cranesbill) 'Shepherd's Warning'. I imagine some might object to this rather odd color combo, but I love it. The neat dome of foliage in the background is calamint. The amsonia grows slowly - this is a young plant, still quite small.

Amsonia hubrichtii with Geranium sanguineum 'Shepherd's Warning'

Geraniums light up the garden in their subtle way in late May-June. Here is another: softest pink Geranium 'Biokovo' behind Sedum 'Autumn Fire'.

Sedum 'Autumn Fire' with Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Biokovo' in late May
The intense magenta color of Geranium macrorrhizum 'Bevan's Variety' might not work everywhere. But I do like it in the shady spot under a lilac, behind Thuja occidentalis 'Hetz Midget'. 

Thuja occidentalis 'Hetz Midget' with Geranium macrorrhizum (Bigroot Geranium) 'Bevan's Variety'
This is Alchemilla mollis (Lady's Mantle), with as yet unopened buds, and one of my favorite geraniums: purple flowered 'Nimbus' with fine, cutleaf foliage.

Alchemilla mollis (Lady's Mantle) with Geranium 'Nimbus'

 In my shade garden, little bluebells are blooming near the Ostrich Ferns. Some Galium odoratum are still in bloom at their feet.

Ostrich fern with Spanish bluebells and Galium odoratum
In this shady spot, blue phlox divaricata perfumes the air while tumbling through a male fern.

Phlox divaricata 'Blue Moon' with Male fern

Another effective shade garden combo is Carex 'Banana Boat' with a brown-burgandy Heuchera, such as this 'Melting Fire'. Nearby companions are Epimedium 'Amber Queen' and Hellebore 'Ivory Prince'.

Carex 'Banana Boat' with Heuchera 'Melting Fire'

A blue self-seeded Aquilegia (Columbine) complements the yellow leaves of this unknown hosta cultivar.

Blue columbine with yellow-edged hosta

Finally, here is a peony for you after all - I love how the hybrid 'Coral Sunset' looks with the blooms of Filipendula hexapetala (Meadowsweet) 'Flore Plena'. The pinky-peach of the meadowsweet buds match the faded color of the peony exactly.

Peony 'Coral Sunset' with Filipendula hexapetala (Meadowsweet) 'Flore Plena'

This year it rained heavily just as soon as this peony began blooming, so the blooms did not last as long as usual. The tall stems of the Meadowsweet also bent over awkwardly. I'm not sure how to support this plant - but it looks lovely at any angle.

Filipendula hexapetala (Meadowsweet) 'Flore Plena'

Here is the deep coral color of the peony before it faded in the rain:

Peony 'Coral Sunset' - newly opened flower


  1. Love the rather unusual combination of the yellow Carex and the dark Heuchera. Your Peonies have great colours too.

  2. All beautiful combinations, Rebecca. I love the true Geraniums and you've done a great job pairing them with plants that show them to their best advantage.

  3. Blue phlox! Wow! I'd love to!
    Your peony are pretty, mine are still in buds. Happy summer Rebecca!


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