Cottage Gardening forum→What does this planting need?

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Name: Cosette
Idaho (Zone 4b)
Jun 7, 2015 8:54 PM CST
I'm on my third growing season in my home and my borders and beds are starting to fill in. Yay!
However, this area next to my front porch and walk needs a little tweaking. I like the billowy look, but there is a little too much "sameness". I'm thinking it needs a different texture, such as lamb's ear. Maybe similar heights is the problem?
Thanks in advance!

P.S. Right now the main players are centranthus ruber (red valerian, Jupiter's beard), various columbines (white, burgundy, pink), campanula (peach leaved bellflower), and walker's low nepeta. Also, I'm in zone 4.

Thumb of 2015-06-08/PutteringinIdaho/611e08

[Last edited by PutteringinIdaho - Jun 7, 2015 9:41 PM (+)]
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Missouri (Zone 6a)
Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Jun 9, 2015 9:35 PM CST
so I am assuming this is in full sun?
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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Jun 10, 2015 8:00 AM CST
I think every planting needs something blue!
But it is nice the way it is!
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Jun 10, 2015 8:31 AM CST
you have too many little things. You need something with some bulk, something with a large leaf, maybe even not a plant at all. How about a stand with a bird house on top or a gazing ball?
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Jun 10, 2015 8:51 AM CST
I guess I should be more specific, you don't have a focal point. Something that pops out at the person when they see it. A main attraction.
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
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Jun 11, 2015 3:06 AM CST
How about a large dramatic flowered plant like a lily clump.
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
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Jun 11, 2015 6:44 AM CST


The space remaining doesn't appear to be enough for a large-leaved plant with light color tones, so I'd agree with the garden art assessment. Choose something proportional that's light colored, or with visual heft, and or the gazing ball mentioned previously. Once there's a centerpiece to catch the eye, the sameness of plant heights and leaf sizes will become complimentary, and less of a distraction.
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Name: Cosette
Idaho (Zone 4b)
Jun 11, 2015 8:18 AM CST
Thanks everyone! I love your ideas.

The spot does get a good amount of sun, with afternoon shade. I'm open to removing some of the self-sown pink columbine to make room for whatever plant or art is added.

I have the beginnings of a lily clump there (I dug up one precious Conca d'or bulb from a small patch in another border).

I have some purple sensation alliums in another bed, I bet a handful of those would give this area the focal point it needs in the late spring, then the lilies would take center stage for a few weeks in summer.
Name: Lee-Roy
Bilzen, Belgium (Zone 8a)
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Sep 12, 2015 10:20 PM CST
A big leafed hosta, a tall slender siberian iris or a grass like Pennisetum or Carex
West Central Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Dec 7, 2018 9:12 PM CST
I agree with the Belgian dude. You need a hosta. The big leaves give you the contrast you need. Can hosta live in full sun there? You're in the same zone as I am, but I know I get a sunburn out there, even in the winter. I can probably survive a sunburn better than the hosta.

Mar 23, 2019 11:49 AM CST
Hi Colette
Lovely garden you have there Thumbs up
I would consider a standard rose, variety ' bonica' it will not let you down!
One the best for all summer bloom,and very suited for the cottage garden
'Look' not sure if it's attainable in the US.
Anyway have fun.
Kind regards
Name: aka Annie
WA-rural 8a to (Zone 7b)
Sep 15, 2020 7:02 PM CST
Bonica can be found on several rose websites...might be small.

Sep 19, 2020 11:03 AM CST
Rose Bonica sept 19 still looking good.
Stay safe
Thumb of 2020-09-19/Meandmyroses/28cbc3

Sonoma County, California, Zon
Nov 29, 2020 11:25 PM CST
I was going to recommend maybe white Alliums as a focal point, but I think I would also consider a bright, tall Dahlia in an eye-catching shade (dark red, perhaps), and perhaps lady's mantle towards the front for contrast -- the foliage is running together visually.

Although I love the general look of the garden! Bravo!
Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
Sunset Zone 15
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Dec 4, 2020 1:38 PM CST

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Note, thread originated summer 2015
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Missouri (Zone 6a)
Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Dec 9, 2020 8:16 AM CST
Don't know if the original poster is still around, but I do think alliums would look nice. I love them. The trouble is they bloom such a short time. I have heard of people painting them, spraying them w glitter spray ect, as the heads stay on for quite a good time. The height they ad is sure a nice touch.

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