Blue Heron landscape Design | 2011 July

July 2011

30 Jul Magazine Review – Fine Gardening’s ‘Plant Combinations’

Recently my daughter was asked what magazines she liked to read. Her answer, “if you want to read a magazine in our house you’d better like flowers and gardens, because that’s all we have.” The sarcasm in her tone cut the air like a knife, but it didn’t bother me one bit, and when asked recently if I would like a review copy of Fine Gardening’s ‘Plant Combinations; 82 proven plans for any situation’, I gladly accepted.

‘Plant Combinations’ is a Best of Fine Gardening feature, and as such must be purchased in addition to your subscription. The first question one might ask is, why bother? I have asked myself the same question, usually just before I purchase a special issue and lose myself within its pages for days. The editors of Fine Gardening do an amazing job of traveling around the country, speaking with horticultural professionals and photographing gardens and plants, and then presenting them in an inspiring manner each month. These special issues, add depth to the discussion, and are worthy reference materials. Let’s take a closer look at ‘Plant Combinations’.

‘Plant Combinations’ considers garden building through the eyes of the plant lover (or plant geek as we like to call ourselves). Divided into three sections, “Popular plants for Sun, Partial Shade, and Shade”, associate editor Michelle Gervais, offers example of plants and combinations for each garden condition. Each section builds its examples off of and around a list of proven performers. For “Sun”, the stars are; Purple Coneflower, Mexican Feather Grass, Lamb’s Ear, Purple Fountain Grass, Sea Holly, Yucca, and Sedum. Partial shade offers; Black-eyed Susan, Bronze Sedge, Golden Creeping Jenny, Hardy Geranium, and Joe Pye Weed. In “Shade” the stars are Hosta, Carpet Bugleweed, Heuchera, Fern, Rodgersia, and Japanese Forest Grass. Each plant is profiled, with growth characteristics and additional cultivars, and is shown, through photograph, in the garden, in combination with a variety of other plants. These photographs are the real stars of the issue. The information provided is excellent, and suggestions for use helpful, but a picture is worth a thousand words, and these drool worthy photos use every allotted word. Another benefit of the suggestions, are that they are all perennial in nature. Some not hardy in the colder regions of the country, but when planted within suggested hardiness zones, each will provide many years of enjoyment in the garden without having to replant each year.

You’ll find ‘Plant Combinations’, a great inspiration for your next gardening project, and also very helpful for those garden edits that we “plant geeks” are so prone to perform. You’ll also find ‘Plant Combinations’ enjoying a long shelf life amongst your garden book collection, or even right there on your coffee table. Now about spending the addition dollars for this issue, are you still asking yourself why?


This special issue was supplied to me by the publisher for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are mine and remain my intellectual property, until such a time that my children deem me unfit to make rational decisions. At that time all rights will pass to the chipmunks tunneling through our stone walls, and the moles uprooting our garden.

A word about book reviews on the Blue Heron Landscapes Blog:

Reviews posted here are intended for the inspiration, education, and enjoyment of the reader, and as such will not include negative reviews of any material. Reviews are not intended as critique of all published material, but rather to expose the reader to noteworthy tools that will help in the process of becoming better gardeners and designers, and to provide enjoyment on their garden journey.


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16 Jul Foliage Follow Up – July 2011

Foliage Follow-Up is the brainchild of Pam Penick over at Digging. As Pam states, “it’s a way to remind ourselves of the importance of foliage in the garden”. A very worthwhile task, as foliage is the true star when it comes to interest in the garden. So enjoy these photos, and when your done head over to Digging, and see what is adding interest in Pam’s garden!

Ajuga 'Black Scallop'

Asarum europaem

Hosta siebodiana 'Elegans', Hosta 'Spilt Milk', Actea simplex 'Pink Spike'

Heuchera 'Plum Pudding'

Heuchera 'Caramel'

Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' & Hosta sieboldiana 'Elegans'

Hosta 'Color Glory' & Physocarpus opulifolious 'Summer Wine'

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