Many Hands Pick Good Plants

Speaking for myself, I’ve always found that having to choose plants for a garden project causes acute agony. The moment I pick one plant, a sneaking suspicion that another option would be far better begins to grow in my mind. I obsessively review the plant descriptions, searching for hidden meanings. Then I decide to switch to another plant, and the process starts all over again.

Geranium renardii ‘Tschelda’. Photo:

That’s why I wrote a post about a week ago regarding an oval 4’x6′ raised bed on our parkway that I wanted to make over. The goal was something shorter and tidier-looking. Well, I got quite a bit of useful advice,  and thanks to all the input I am now able to make my final choices. Some people suggested specific plants, and others helped me clarify what I wanted from this bed. So here’s the final plan:

  • Geranium renardii ‘Tschelda’, to spill over  the bed’s edge facing the sidewalk. This one I came up with myself, and I decided to stick with it because it is supposed to be shorter (10″), and the foliage  should be able to withstand a lot of hot sun through the summer. Jean of Jean’s garden helped me realize it was really Geraniums I wanted here.
  • Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’, to stand at the west end of the bed as a specimen, providing late season interest. This was a suggestion of Scott at Rhone Street Gardens.
  • Pennisetum ‘Little Bunny’, along the east end of the bed. I was worried that ‘Hameln’ might grow taller than I want, and this cultivar is supposed to grow only to 12″. Gardensunshine and Plantpostings‘ comments were helpful with this decision.
Calamintha nepetoides. Photo: mgohio
  • Calamintha nepetoides in the middle of the bed behind the Geranium ‘Tschelda’. This is a long-blooming mound of tiny white flowers and a favorite of pollinators. Calamintha was suggested by Rachelle from Talking to Plants.
  • Salvia nemorosa ‘Carradonna’ towards the back of the bed. ‘Carradonna’, also a suggestion of Rachelle, has purple spikes that should provide a nice contrast to the Calamintha.
  • Sedum spectabile ‘Matrona’ will join ‘Carradonna’ in the back. ‘Matrona’, and suggestion of Scott’s, will provide fall color and a contrast with the orange-yellow of the Rudbeckia fulgidas between the raised bed and the curb. I worried this color combination might be too garish, but I think ‘Matrona’ has such a soft pink I think it will work.
  • Sidalcea ‘Party Girl’  – just a couple – will stand next to the Panicum at the west end of the bed. A 3′ mini hollyhock that will provide summer color.
Sedum ‘Matrona’. Photo: Bluestone Perennials

So there it is. Thanks also to Promenade Claire, AbbySunil, and Patrick.

11 Comments on “Many Hands Pick Good Plants”

  1. Very nice, well thought out plan. Matrona is da bomb of sedum. She’s done me right a couple of times.

    I’m thinking we should rename Scott “Johnny Appleseed” of combinations for his inspiration for hordes of gardeners who have seen his combos and keep trying to get the look. I even passed his work on to Timber Press and that individual said they were subscribing.

    • Thanks. You didn’t tell me you had tried ‘Party Girl’. Well, conditions in my garden may be quite different, so I may get different results. If it doesn’t do well then I can buy more plants. By the way, I did buy some white wedding phlox, but I’m putting them in a different bed.

  2. I love it…design by committee! I think you made great choices…and agree on the Geranium…I’ve seen it in other gardens, and even when not blooming, the foliage is fabulous…it has amazing texture that just begs to be touched. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  3. Jason, I love your choices. I’ve never grown any of the renardii species of Geraniums, and seeing your photo has led me to add it to my wishlist. (Surely, I can always find room to squeeze in a few more geranium cultivars!) I love Sedum matrona, which I have growing in both my gardens. I can’t wait to see the combination you have planned in bloom (next year?).

  4. Hello Jason, good luck with your choices and your new border. My way of choosing plants normally goes on what can be done from seed, what’s cheap and what cuttings have I got at the time as well as what’s the latest impulse buy that’s waiting to be planted. I have tried planning several times before but it always seems to go out of the window, it gives the garden a somewhat frizzy look.

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