Plant combinations can be evocative! And for me, this small front garden had me thinking about a scene in nature right away. Here in California it was a grassy meadow with an oak tree (see photo below.)
But I was also excited by the 2-plant choices. Great idea to use the lovely Armeria maritima (Sea Pink) to create the effect of a low grassy, undulating field.
As you can see, this plant’s small pink pom-pom blooms are rampant, and perfectly timed for all of the gorgeous spring new growth and flowers of the Pieris japanica (Lilly of the Nile Shrub.)
Garden Ideas: Borrowing From Nature
Here’s a photo taken in Morgan Hill, California near Henry Coe State Park.
It’s an absolutely gorgeous area and represents a familiar scene in California. Hopefully, with a little imagination you get the idea. In the two plant combo: Armeria is playing the roll of the Grasses while Pieris is playing the roll of the Oak tree.
This two plant combo is so simple and successful, and it’s partly because it unconsciously borrows from a familiar scene in nature.
Looking at this from a design perspective, I’d say that the unconscious peace and joy the above 2 plant combo was able to bring to me is largely due to principals of Japanese garden design and learning from nature.
The artful way of using two well chosen plants, (a shrub and a ground cover) – creates a memorable vignette, where a lovely (dominant) tree grows surrounded by less dominant ground cover. Rather, than showcasing a single specimen, of Armeria (Sea pink) as in a small alpine or rock garden planting, massing this plant creates a strong visual effect!
Small gardens require careful planning because in a tiny area the slightest flaw, overgrowth, clutter or imbalance will be magnified in effect. –A Japanese Touch For Your Garden.
About the 2 Plants in this Two Plant Combo:
1. Armeria maritima – Sea Pink – This CA native, is a tightly clumping perennial, forming tussocks of grassy leaves. Tiny pink blossoms are borne in dense round heads above the leaves, on naked stems. Very popular in rock gardens, bank planting and foregrounds of perennial borders. Environment: Full sun; moderate to occasional water once established, and well drained soil.
2. Pieris japonica – Lily of the valley shrub – These shrubs are quite bushy and have attractive layered branches. I’m guessing that this variety is ‘Mountain Fire’ which is compact and has bright red new growth, which contrasts beautifully with it’s deep green mature foliage. Flower color is a creamy white. Environment: Light shade to full sun along the coast; medium shade inland. Pieris’ likes well drained, acidic soil and regular watering and doesn’t like high summer heat, particularly at the roots. Maybe then the lawn of Armeria serves even greater function – it definitely serves up form.
What do you think about this combination. Do you like it? Do you want to create a small vignette in your space? 🙂