What Are Unique Plant Combinations that Thrive in Garden Designs?

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    What Are Unique Plant Combinations that Thrive in Garden Designs?

    In the search for innovative and thriving garden designs, we've gathered insights from Landscape Designers and Arborists to uncover unique plant combinations. From the surprising success of a Holly and Sage privacy screen to the symbiotic relationship between Japanese Maple and Maiden Grass, here are four distinctive pairings that have brought unexpected vitality to gardens.

    • Holly and Sage Privacy Screen
    • Dynamic Annual Bed with Focal Points
    • Elegant Sansevieria and Bedding Plant Mix
    • Synergistic Japanese Maple and Maiden Grass

    Holly and Sage Privacy Screen

    Recently, I have mixed Eagleston Holly and Texas Sage together. I installed the Holly in the back of the bed on 6-foot centers and installed the sage in the gaps towards the front of the bed. I offset the Sage about 4 feet in front of the Holly. This will make a great privacy screen and provide a great color contrast.

    Irrigation Tip: When running the drip irrigation, we install one single line of drip to the Sages, while we ran a drip loop around each Holly to help ensure they get more of the water than the Sages. Installed November 2023.

    Matt CookLandscape Designer, Fossil Creek Tree Farm

    Dynamic Annual Bed with Focal Points

    In an annual flower bed design, consider spreading petunias as a border if the bed is slightly raised, or 'Be Bold' bidens as a border on a ground-level bed. Behind that, place lantana, which comes in various color combinations and is multicolored, absolutely stunning. Behind the lantana, add bunches of taller-growing, lavender-colored salvia. Plants of interest or focal points in this garden design, which would be taller and grab people's attention, include Giant Elephant Ear with red leaves, and Amaranthus tricolor 'Joseph's Coat'. Other options are Cleome 'Sparkle Mix' and the red, short-variety castor beans. These are a few of my go-to plants.

    Dave SaboHead Gardener

    Elegant Sansevieria and Bedding Plant Mix

    Sansevieria (Snake Plant) and Alternanthera dentata (Jacob's Coat), or any lower-growing bedding plant you have on hand, can be used. Sansevieria adds vertical drama, and maybe even elegance, depending on its partner. It is incredibly easy to propagate by division and tolerates a wide range of cultural conditions.

    Benson Marshall
    Benson MarshallHorticulturist, Kinloch Golf Club

    Synergistic Japanese Maple and Maiden Grass

    I paired the Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) with the maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis) in a garden for one of my customers. Initially, this combination was more about contrasting aesthetics: the delicate, red leaves of the Japanese maple against the tall, feathery plumes of the maiden grass. However, as they grew, I noticed a fascinating synergy. The maple provided dappled shade, which helped protect the maiden grass from the intense midday sun, reducing its water stress. Meanwhile, the maiden grass's robust growth created a microclimate that kept the soil slightly cooler and more humid, benefiting the maple during the hottest months. This combination thrived and brought an unexpected harmony to the garden in terms of growth conditions and visual appeal.

    Dylan Heath
    Dylan HeathArborist, Apex Arborists