Personal Garden Coach

The Motivational Gardener at Large

Cabernet and Chocolate Anyone? Sumptuous Bright Shade Border June 20, 2010

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What makes you stop dead in your tracks in the garden? This little bed did it for me!  The rich Cabernet tones and choice chocolate foliage in this very small space are layered together with silvers, blues and golds to make a tapestry effect for close up viewing near a gate entry.

This garden is on the North East corner in a very cool and moist area.  The soil was burmed up slightly to accommodate less than ideal drainage and give some scale and dimension to this low spot. Sambucus ‘Black Beauty’ is gaining some size here as one of the anchor plants, along with Rhododendron ‘PJM Improved’.

Winter Hazel, Ghost Fern, Hosta, Muhlenia, Hardy Fuchsia and Carex complete this combination. If you look closely, you may see the ‘Kangaroo Apple’ peeking its head up and getting ready to bust out in a purple flower show for summer soon!

Leave me a comment and tell me what combinations stop you cold, so that you can’t help but stand and stare. Wine and chocolate- yum!


Winterhazel, Buttery Garden Goodness October 30, 2009

Resisting a good plant rescue is very hard for me. When I cam across a severed chunk of buttery Corylopsis Pauciflora a few years ago, it was about to go into the trash pile. Too good to pass up, I thought. And my gamble has rewarded me richly with pastry rich, butter colored, fragrant flowers in the spring and elegantly textured foliage.

Deciding whether I like it more in bloom, paired with deep pink Hellebore in April or with deep pink Chrysanthemums in fall is a tough challenge. Someone putting me up to a decision like that would very likely have to provide some sort of decision make pastry to sway me one way or the other.

Corylopsis is a spectacularly elegant alternative to Forsythia. When placed where you can appreciate the bloom and foliage up close, this plant earns it’s keep and gets better with every season. Pair it with darker foliage plants to really make her shine. I have it in a bed with Sambucus ‘Black Beauty’. Today, the Sambucus foliage has warmed from deep burgundy to a coppery bronze tone. Next to the Corylopsis it’s transcendent.

Winterhazel and Ghost Fern

The most alluring point of interest about this plant to me is not the bloom, it’s the lovely foliage. Delicate, and deeply textured leaves are each a work of art unto themselves. And when they reach fall, the colors of butter yellow turn to ocher yellows and rich rustic amber.

Buttery Winterhazel, Corylopsis Pauciflora



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