What a Combination

07 May 2016

Tips and advice from our garden experts

There we were, my little boy and I, ordering his usual chicken nuggets at a place we probably shouldn’t frequent so often.  But, after all, he did have a good soccer match… "Just don’t tell Mom", I pleaded. What got me thinking past this, though, was the question posed by the order-taker. “What do you want in your combination”, she robotically moaned.  Combination…perhaps not overly important in a fast-food meal (as my mind wandered while we waited), but a critical component to a new or rejuvenated landscape!  Combination, and the possibilities this word brings, is as key to your landscape as a chicken finger to an 8-year-old.

Things just kind of go together. The trick is to study and consider these things.  Plantings and other garden elements thrive on the juxtaposition of leaf color, shape, size, and texture. Successful landscape design is a seamless and flowing grouping of plants, arranged around the home’s architecture and other hardscapes.  Masses, linear arrangements, or single specimens work to create the backbone of the harmony that is sought.  Please consider these examples of combinations that I consider pleasant and well suited to various applications throughout the Lowcountry:

»  Native- Upright Yaupon Holly, Eastern Red Cedar, Sabal Palmetto, Needle Palm, Purple Sage, Spartina Grass, Oakleaf Hydrangea

»  Tropical- Chinese Fan Palm, Papyrus, African Iris, Sago Palm, Breeze Grass, Gaura, Split-leaf Philodendron, Autumn Fern

»  Stately- Little Gem Magnolia, Japanese Boxwood, Sasanqua Camellia, Limelight Hydrangea, Japanese Yew, Mondo Grass, Japanese Maple, standard-form Crape Myrtle

Allow yourself the time to make qualified and thoughtful choices when purchasing plants.  It’s not quite as easy as picking Combo #4 at your favorite take-out, but the rewards can and should be longer lasting happiness.

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