Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How to Create Captivating Plant Combinations, or Have Daylily, Will Travel

I've been going through my photos from last summer, trying to organize (we're supposed to get organized in January, right?!). I came across a series I took one mid-summer afternoon of a daylily that came with my house. Since I don't know it's name I call it 'Liberty'. All I know is that it is an older variety, planted more than 25 years ago. I have also found that while I like it...I'm not sure why because I feel like no matter where I move it or combine it with its color fights with something!

So, inspired by Vita Sackville-West, I plucked a bloom and wandered about the grounds... yeah. Because my house and garden look so much like Sissinghurst. I hear it all the time.

Let me start over.

I picked a flower and walked around looking for possible companions in spots I know the daylily will be happy. Daylilies are easy, full sun to part shade (the more sun the more flowers) and nearly any soil conditions, though diminished flowering in hot, dry spots. Here are some of the photos I took!

with Rudbeckia. I like this, the daylily's color doesn't look muddy

with Daylily 'Paprika Velvet'. 'Liberty' looks a little muddy, however, the deep rich orange does a little blendy thing I like. And I like daylilies with other daylilies. Perhaps a yellow...

with tiger lilies. Doesn't grab me. I was thinking orange, burgundy spots...oh well. Not bad but not fab, either.

with a yellow variegated vinca. I kind of like this. And it's the start of a theme...

with apple green Hosta plantiginea, Heuchera 'Palace Purple', chartreuse Sagina subulata 'Aurea' aka Scotch Moss

with Hosta 'Frances Williams' and Amsonia

with Euonymus 'Emerald and Gold'

with Hosta plantiginea and Hydrangea 'Annabelle'

I'm still not sure I love the daylily with anything. It looks ok in several photos but after looking at it for so many years I know what happens to me when I look at it in my garden. It has a lot of brown that to my eye falls flat at certain times of the day and if I see it anywhere near pink my eyes bleed. I may try it up front with all the greens and yellows but I may also decide it's time to let it go. Maybe someone else would like it better and let it shine in their garden!

This is one way to play. As I wrote above, I learned this while reading articles of Vita Sackville-West's. She would wander around with a bloom, looking for other plants to combine and make the most of all present. And I know from reading of many other wonderful gardeners, they do this as well.

And while you're out walking around, take some photos - they give you the perspective to observe things like a plant's form and texture and how it combines and contrasts with surrounding plants, and allows you to learn to trust your eye, to know what you find pleasing.


  1. I love that "anywhere near pink my eyes bleed" - too funny. It and anything yellow would do that to mine... So you haven't moved it yet? My vote would be to the greens - the euonymus maybe. Or perhaps it needs orange. Everything loves orange. (Or is that just me?)
    Thanks for visiting Blithewold and welcome to the interweb blogosphere!
    (If you can set up your comments to accept name/url and anonymous it makes it a little easier for people like me who can't get wordpress id, etc to work...! )

  2. @ underwaterer, I'm leaning towards moving it come April up by the greens, if I can squeeze it in by the euonymus that's my top choice! Not much orange up there - I am so with you about orange. What a color to make a combo sing!
    Thanks for the tip about my comments, I am still so learning in the blog arena.
    And thanks for stopping by!