Successful planting combinations, partner plants with comparable vigour and that are adapted to the same growing conditions.
Phlox paniculata ‘Butonic’ is the focus of our attention here. Not only is its colour strong, but the bud shaped flowers have a crisp outline that contrasts with any more typical open flowers surrounding it.
Apparently this cultivar was found by a phlox collector in the northwest of Russia in 1993 and given the cultivar name ‘Butonic’ on account of the fact that this means bud in Russian. This is a unique cultivar since its flowers never actually open, rather remaining as swollen buds for many many weeks from mid to late summer.
Its planting partners shown here all have slightly different flower forms. The pink flowered Hydrangea serrata ‘Tiara’ has lace-cap type flower heads with open flowers surrounding centrally grouped flower buds.
The Astilbe ‘Fanal’ is an old variety that still deserves to be grown. It is low-growing and its flower plumes are one of the richest coloured of all. The buds open in succession affording it a long flower season and thereafter its seed heads will continue to play a role in the planting scheme. In spring its newly emerging foliage is a rich bronze colour fading to green during summer.
In this shady corner of my garden under the bows of a Acer palmatum ‘Burgundy Lace’ grows an impressive clump of Dryopteris goldiana. This fern is one of the tallest, broadest and most handsome of east coast North American natives.
In the background is a wide spread patch of Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’ bringing light into the most shaded area of this border. This particular grass cultivar varies in colour depending upon light levels. Here it is pale green, but in full sun it lives true to its name. I prefer it growing in shade.