Late Spring Plant Combinations

plant combinations for late spring

There are so many things happening in the garden in late spring that it can be difficult to narrow down beloved plant combinations to just one or two options that I like best!   But here are a couple that I’m particularly fond of right now.  As always, I’m looking for the following criteria:

  1. The plants look beautiful for as long as possible.
  2. Different things happen at different times of year (stems, flowers, foliage color..).
  3. The plants are low maintenance and don’t need much watering in dryer months.
  4. There are a mixture of textures to keep things interesting.
  5. The plants are fairly easy to find at a good local nursery or online.

I’ve selected these from my own garden.  First, we have a combo for sun:

Plant Combination For Late Spring

Clockwise from top-left…

What I love about it:

  • Despite this combo looking good in winter, it really sings at this time of year — the Berberis has fresh foliage in a saturated color, the Calluna has lost much of its winter foliage color (but not all) and the Geum and Sedge sway in the breeze while bringing a soft color palette for days that can either feel like February or July depending on the weather.

Next up is a combo for bright shade:

Shade Plant Combination For Late SpringClockwise from top-left…

  1. Tsuga canadensis ‘Moon Frost’ (alt: Tsuga canadensis ‘Gentsch White’)
  2. Cornus alba ‘Ivory Halo’ (alt: Ugni molinae ‘Flambeau’)
  3. Athyrium ‘Ghost’ (alt: Anisocampium niponicum var. pictum)
  4. Heuchera ‘Peppermint Spice’ (alt: Heuchera ‘Green Spice’)
  5. and Cardamine trifolia as a ground covering underplanting (alt: Oxalis oregana)

What I love about it:

  • Sometimes high-contrast is just what you want in a planting scheme, but other times plants with a similar color palette can be just the ticket.  The major players here share some variegation in the foliage, and there’s also a thread of deep purple/red to keep things interesting.  In winter the Cornus stems contrasting with the Tsuga will be wonderful, but this time of year when the Heuchera starts to bloom and the Athyrium takes on some size it’s really lovely.

Author Kate McMillan

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