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Planting partnerships: Alchemilla, lavandula and stipa tythorne garden design.jpeg

Garden design solutions: 3 fantastic planting partnerships

Successful plant partnerships are key to achieving good planting design, so we thought it would be worth sharing some of our favourite planting combinations. Ultimately, whether or not two plants look good alongside one another is really a subjective judgement, but the following combinations work well for us.



1. Acer ‘Bloodgood’ & Verbena bonariensis

This is a great combination for mid- to late summer. Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’ is a glorious ‘focal point’ Japanese maple. Its large, delicate-looking leaves flutter in the breeze and provides lovely dark red foliage colour and interest.


Offering seasonal height and additional long-lasting interest, the perennial Verbena bonarienis has long slender stems and multiple clusters of tiny violet/purple flowers. Put them together and they really ‘sing’. The Verbena’s angular rigidity contrasts magically with the billowing softness of the Acer, and its cool purple flowers juxtapose against the warmth of the Acer’s leaves. Simply beautiful.



2. Geranium ‘Johnson's Blue’ & Foeniculum ‘Purpureum’

This is a partnership that works in multiple ways, but one that is largely based upon contrast. Geranium ‘Johnson's Blue’ is an attractive mound-forming perennial with large mid-green leaves and long-lasting soft blue flowers. Foeniculum ‘Purpureum’ (bronze fennel) is a tall perennial with soft, feathery foliage and ‘sprays’ of tiny yellow flowers.


Both are beautiful plants in their own right, but together they are a winning combination. Yes, the blue and yellow flowers complement one another in terms of colour, but the height differential also works. With both plants flowering throughout the majority of the summer, this is a combination that can be enjoyed for several weeks.



​3. Alchemilla mollis, Lavandula ‘Hidcote’ & Stipa gigantea (pictured above)

This is a three-plant grouping that provides superb colour and textural enjoyment. For a start, the fresh yellow-green flowers of Alchemilla mollis look glorious alongside the strong purple of the Lavandula. Then we can enjoy the Alchemilla’s broad and rounded mid-green leaves sitting just perfectly alongside the Lavandula’s thin and softer silver-grey foliage.


Add the tall and majestic grass Stipa gigantea into the mix, and we really do have something very special. The added height of the Stipa contrasts beautifully with the relatively low-growing Alchemilla and Lavandula, whilst its oat-like seed heads atop long, arching stems seem to dance in the slightest breeze. A wonderful combination for a sunny spot, these three plants never fail to make us smile.



Finding great planting combinations isn’t an exact science, but the three listed above are a great starting point. Why not take a look at your own garden and find other pairings which work well together?

Tythorne Garden Design provides professional fixed-fee garden design solutions for customers in Grantham, Stamford, Newark and surrounding areas. Let's see how we can help you to enjoy your garden more. Call us on 07900 224 239 or 01529 455 355.

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