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Top five planting combinations

Words: Phil Clayton, Features Editor of The Garden

1 Creative use of colour & texture

The Daily Telegraph Garden is filled with unusual plants, assembled in creative and effective groupings.

A standout plant for me was ruby-red Dianthus cruentus, its heads of flowers carried atop slender stems. It was used well with the metallic purple globes of Allium christophii, ground-covering New Zealand native Acaena, billowing bronze fennel and an acid-green flowered cow parsley, which on closer inspection, proved to be flowering plants of common parsnip!

2 Perfect planting for a hot, sunny spot

Toward the back of the superb Cancer Research Garden is one of my favourite bits of planting from the show for a hot, dry, sunny spot. A ferocious looking succulet Agave is sofened by purple-flowered onion relative Tulbaghia, silver-leaved sub-shrub Convolvulus cneorum with its silky white flowers, silver artemisia, and Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna' with slender violet blue spires of flower. Grey rosettes of Verbascum echo the shape of the agave behind.

3 Cool corner with textural contrasts

In a cool, moist corner of the RBC New Wild Garden were combined blue Himalayan Poppy (Meconopsis baileyi) with its shimmering bright blue, silky flowers and a purple-flowered selection of Iris sibirica. The silvery-purple foliage of both shrubby Rosa glauca and upright herbaceous Thalictrum delavayi formed a tonally effective foil.

4 Herb garden with a modern twist

In a contemporary take on a traditional herb garden, this planting design in the B&Q Garden has drifts of rosemary, borage and lavender beautifully combined in low, gravel mulched raised beds. To provide contrast, lightly shaped domes of shrubby Elaeagnus ebbingei with relatively bold silvery foliage rise through the sea of herbs.  Floral colour is provided by a purple Rosa Burgundy Ice ('Prose'), while at the edges, thyme forms low fragrant ground cover.

5 Looks good enough to eat - and it is!

In another part of the B&Q Garden lightly shaded by a pleached lime, productive plants are used together with panache. At the back rise the leafy stems of Purple orache (Atriplex) which can be eaten like spinach, while flowering chives, ruby chard with its showy red leaf veins and red leaved sorrel are combined with a dark purple flowered heartsease (Viola), the blooms of which, like those of the chives, make tasty additions to salads.

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