Favourite groupings

paula_b_gardener 5b_ON(5b)June 6, 2014

I managed to eke out a bit more space for a new bed. The sod is off and the compost was delivered yesterday and DH used the rototiller today.

I have plenty of hostas, ferns, and heucheras to fill the new bed but first I would like to see some other people's favourite combinations so I could pick my favourites and copy :)


Ready to go

This post was edited by paula_b_gardener on Fri, Jun 6, 14 at 23:06

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kalija(6 WNY)

That looks like a great spot with super hosta potential! Right now my favorite grouping is liberty; halcyon and eye declare...... something about the blue in halcyon next to the yellow in liberty.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 8:13AM
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This has probably been my favorite grouping of shade plants.
Abiqua Drinking Gourd, Thunderbolt, Color Glory, Fire Island, Summer Breeze, With some Lamnia, ostrich Fern and Maidenhair fern. and Brunnera

This was at my old house. Most of the hostas were moved.

Although TB didn't survive and Color Glory has never been the same since. Summer Breeze and Fire Island have both thrived. ADG stayed. (Brought big daddy which is similar)


    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 8:17AM
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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

Paula, love the metal flowers! I have a feeling this will be a great thread...

Well, I just have to post the pic of June Fever with Peacock Spikemoss. I like to blend the colors of my hosta with the companion plants.

Snow Boy with Green Spice Heuchera

I like how the green in Solomon's Seal sets off blue and yellow Hostas.

I also like to play with contrasting colors around my hosta

and different textures with phlox

Then there's the combos that don't have a long bloom time, like Asiatic Lilies, but when they are blooming--Wow!

or Anemones

I could seriously fill up this whole thread, but I'll try to restrain myself...I love, love plant combos!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 8:30AM
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What a nice new space you have. That's very exciting. Whatever pleases you is the right thing.

I am odd in that I move hundreds of hostas every year. I don't mind doing it and am willing to move the same plant 3 or 4 times in the same year if it doesn't look right. Sometimes it's only 3 inches or 4 inches if the proportions bug me. Most of the moves I make are because the plants which last year looked good are now too crowded. I have no patience with space between them and can't force myself to look at something that displeases me for a whole year. Better to move it the next year and be happy both years, but that's just me.

This first combo is really making me happy this year. I did have to move Neptune over five or six inches and build it's area up with a ring of rocks and more soil. The variety of shapes and sizes is good and the colors harmonize the group to my eye anyway. When Maya Swingtime gets the bit of blue in the leaf it also ties in even more.

These three have been together for a while. I will move Maui Buttercups forward when I get around to it. All cupped but different colors and sizes look good.

When Blue Umbrellas fully opens it will look like an umbrella over the others.

This combo by the entrance to the courtyard and walkway to the front door has changed over the years with So Sweet and Inniswood always there. Because of the location it has to look good right until fall. I worked on this spot last year because they were too crowded. It is now too crowded again. I'll move Lion Heart somewhere else since it seems to fit in the least with the others. I like the it that Blueberry Muffin seems to pop out. Next year I'll probably have to adjust again.

One thing that slowly sunk in last year was that it is very effective to have a contrast of sizes. A sea of hostas the same basic size seem to blend together. This garden had large in the back but too many mediums through the rest of the space. Since I was looking to find some places to collect little plants this became a good spot. Once they were in I saw how much improved it was with the contrast making both sizes show better.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:16AM
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paula_b_gardener 5b_ON(5b)

kalija, jim and funinthesun - thank you, all are wonderful and I have begun to formulate a 'plan'.

I love Liberty and Halcyon together and jim, I agree with you, it is an eye catching grouping worthy of replication :) fun, you have some wonderful companion plant ideas.

Keep them coming because I love photos of other people's gardens!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:21AM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

What a great idea for a thread, Paula. How exciting to start a hosta bed with a blank slate.

I tend to leave a lot of room between most of my big hostas, because they're just too difficult for me to move. I did,however, move Bressinhham Blue two years ago and I have a bed, which has too much blue grey in it but maybe next year. I've been using ground covers here and there to keep the weeds down.

I agree with McTavish that hostas of differing heights and sizes look more interesting and love what she's done in her bed with Frosted Jade, in fact I like all of her beds. I also like the different heights in her hardscape.

Love Funninthesun's companion plantings, especially the blue hostas with the darker heucheras.

I also like Kalija's pairing of Liberty and Halcyon. I may steal that combo. I like the way she's transitioned her plants, picking up a colour from one hosta to the next. I'm trying to do more of that without moving large hostas.

And Jim is a master in colour and texture. He's gotten me interested in Old Glory if I can find a spot big enough.

It's always interesting to see how we all combine plants differently.

Here's my work in progress. I planted the 7 larger plants in the foreground from bottom center going clockwise : Hanky Panky, Montana Aureomarginata, Blue Wedgwood, Camelot, Yellow River, Brother Stefan, and Striptease. They're still unfurling, so I'm going to wait until they've unfurled completely to see what I can add to make them transition better.

Can't wait to see your finished bed.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 12:50PM
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This is one of my favorite spots/pics. Just off to left is Liberty, otherwise none of these shout at me, yet I notice all of them.


Not in order - Spilt Milk, Guacamole, Blue Hawaii, Key Lime Pie, Amber Tiara, Paul's Glory

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 12:57PM
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McTavish I always learn something from your pictures. I tend to be a mover of plants too....it is a learning experience. That's the way I found June, Teatime and then English Sunrise made a great trio. I'm also understanding that it gives scale to the bed or the arrangement if you have more than one size included.

However, I'm working on the concept of a yellow river of leaves running through the garden like the plants flow as water. With a bank of variegated and a bank of greens I figure it would look great. Where there is too much uniform height the eye tends to keep moving until it reaches something upstanding or a break so raising a small one up is interesting as a break from raising up the big guys.

I love your photo Paul. I can distinguish every plant you mentioned. They are easy to find. The small Tiara in the big hosta area is very noteworthy. Instead of a big gold, the small gold stands out. Your Blue Hawaii is intense!

Taken this morning..Thanks all for suggesting English Sunrise as the last of the Three Graces

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 3:00PM
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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

OK, couldn't resist. Here's a few more pics

I use Carex A LOT!

I use lots of different grasses and ferns (please ignore the fallen branch, didn't notice it when I snapped the pic)

and here's the zoomed out pic of the one above

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 3:55PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Left to right going up the hill is Striptease, Fragrant Bouquet and Blue Angel (with a small Fire & Ice tucked in).

Best any plant combo is a June up top and Spilt Milk to the right with a dwarf hemlock and dwarf Arb and a Jack Frost brunnera...among others.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 4:48PM
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Tsuga, your stair step hosta are some of my alltime favorites. The Blue Angel at the top is a great hosta. I would recognize the planting picture anywhere I saw it.

Your planting with Spilt Milk and Paul's as well have convinced me to think about getting that hosta. Beautiful.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 7:50PM
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this is the oldest part of my garden, and I'm pretty happy with it- Love Pat in the middle, Remember Me on the left, and First Frost on the right- I just moved FF into there last year and I like that it and RM mirror each others' color in reverse. Sometimes I look for hostas to contrast each other, and sometimes I like them to have things in common. I have low growing Japanese Ferns up front and high maidenhair ferns in back

I like the Japanese and Ghost ferns next tp blue hostas. Here is Big Daddy next to some ghost ferns and I also like it with the new growth of the dwarf hemlock up front. variegated solomon seal in back is really starting to spread, so that makes me nervous.

And here is a fail- in theory it sounded good. I wanted Blue Hawaii to tower over this hakonechloa grass but that hosta continues to thwart me by not growing tall like it's supposed to. I even dug it up last year and replanted it...I think it's just a dud. Color is nice though.

Basically, I pic spots for my hostas. Then I figure out what looks good next to them, and I generally try to plant those other shade perennials in clusters of three or more.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 8:01PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Thanks, Moc. That pic of the slope was taken last year to update my original from 2011. The dark veins of Jack Frost seem to go well with the green of Spilt Milk and JF's silver seems to pull the "milk" out of Spilt Milk.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 9:04PM
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paula_b_gardener 5b_ON(5b)

Wonderful groupings! Some great ideas for me to get going and plant, instead of simply placing them in their nursery pots all over the new garden :)

I absolutely love the woodland scenes, the hostas look really natural and they standout amongst the other shade plants.

The different elevations are very good, too. My new front bed slopes down towards the road and there is a 3' retaining wall along the front - it is owned by the city and it is ugly :(

Initially I thought small ones in the front, however; with the slope I can put large ones in the front that can overhang the wall a little bit. The smaller ones would still be seen about halfway up. I have field rocks in my garden that I have used as walls but I think I need more, lots more. Using rocks, there are so many more opportunities for displaying different plants in various places.

I have all of the plants listed here except for a couple of the hostas. I have several different types of ferns and I was wondering how to best display them? The ghost fern with the blue hosta looks great.

funinthesun - you don't need to resist - post all that ya got! I am loving all of the photos. Nothing quite like a 'visual'.

Thanks everyone.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:30PM
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paula_b_gardener 5b_ON(5b)

Paul, what it the hosta on the far right of your photo? It has darker edges.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:45PM
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Paula that's Paul's Glory.


Did we get enough Paul derivatives in this message, lol.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 8:50AM
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robo (z6a)

Thanks to everyone for posting your great photos and giving me even more inspiration! I'm still in the acquisition phase, trying to fill up beds, so this is super helpful. I've only been working on my beds for two years so I don't have any mature combos to show, but I snapped this photo this morning to illustrate my love for phlox stolonifera (in front) which has been a fabulous, well behaved, early blooming, trailing groundcover for me in part shade. My favorite companion plant right now and don't the purple flowers kind of foreshadow later hosta flowers? Plus the only phlox I can grow in my shady yard.

This bed has a young acer japonicum aconitifolium and contains Sun Power, June, Satisfaction, a tiny Kiwi Full Monty, and Praying Hands right now. And lots of H. Macra and ferns, gold mops thread leaf and a mini pieris.

This post was edited by robotropolis on Sun, Jun 8, 14 at 9:53

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 9:25AM
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paula_b_gardener 5b_ON(5b)

Paul - lol

robotropolis - keep up the great work, looking good.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 6:35PM
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Little slow on the response to this one...

Here are a coupe of my favorite views/groupings in my garden. It was an overcast day so lighting was a little challenging...

Hostas in view: Touch of Class, Shade Fanfare, Fire Island, Frances Williams (I think), Baby Doll (mini in front), Wheeee (First year), Sum and Substance (way in the back). Also some large jack in the pulpits (tri-leaves) an other misc stuff...

Hosta in view (and not necessarily in focus): Liberty, Francee (maybe?), Praying Hands, Luna Moth, Touch of Class, Pandoras Box, Hanky Panky, Halcyon, Guacamole, Blue Angel (transplanted, so its a bit small) and an unidentified small leaved solid yellow-green hosta.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 3:56PM
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paula_b_gardener 5b_ON(5b)

DFrench, how lovely! What are the large trees in the pictures? Your hostas have no problem growing underneath them, any troubles with the roots? That fabulous bright red plant is Coleus?
Thank you for sharing.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 10:12PM
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