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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

See website, design work and favorite flowering plants at  gardengurumontreal.ca

Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

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Tuesday
Feb172009

An Interesting Perennial Combination

Before clicking on the image to see more plant combinations from Jan and Mieke Bastiaens make sure that your pop-up blocker is working!Jan and Mieke Bastiaens garden on 35 acres in a small village south east of Flanders in Belgium. Their web photos of perennial combinations are the most inspiring to be found anywhere on the internet. I first used this photo to accompany my introductory blog but decided to move it here instead because it deserves special attention.This is one of the most powerful perennial combinations I have seen online. What you see here is exactly what most of my clients ask for when I plan their gardens. Unfortunately, the combination in this photo is not suitable for most of them.

The pink perennial in the foreground is Peony "Bowl of Beauty". Like all peonies, this is an easy care plant that deserves a blog posting all to itself. The purple-blue plant in the background is Hesperis matronalis. Hesperis is a perennial that grows to 3 or 4 feet tall, in zones 3 to 8 and blooms in late spring. Most gardeners avoid it because it is a vigorous self seeder and once its seeds become established in the garden, it will pop up everywhere for years to come. After it has bloomed, this perennial loses its leaves.If you are planning to use it, in spite of its vigor, it is best to plant it behind later- blooming perennials that will fill the void or, as in this case, behind a plant whose leaves create a camouflage.

Most of my clients do not tend to their gardens themselves so it would be unfair to plant Hesperis for them. That is unfortunate because there are very few blue perennials that will bloom exactly when the peonies do, and blend so well with them.

Hesperis is for the adventurous gardener who is not afraid to take on a challenge and whose garden is large enough to accomodate its wild nature.

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