• Greg Graves

Plant Combinations

Larger grouping

One of the secrets to a good garden are good plant combinations. Sometimes they are just trial and error but there are a few rules that make it a bit easier and a whole lot more satisfying.

The first thing is to keep in mind the right plant in the right place. Just because something looks good together in the nursery doesn’t mean they will grow together well. Do a little research and learn the plants soil requirements, flowering time, water requirements and ultimate size. Most of this information should be on the tag.

Color and texture

It helps to take into consideration color. Not just the bloom color, but also foliage color can really help make a combination work. It also extends the season of interest of the combination. The bloom will only be there for part of the season but the foliage will hold the combination together the rest of the time. If you combine plants that bloom at different times that will also help extend the season of interest. At Old Goat Farm we color coordinate some of the beds. For example, one bed is all pinks, red and burgundy. Regardless of what plant goes in that bed it needs to be in that same color range. They all bloom at different times but it always looks good. This is a good tip for gardeners that like to buy plants in ones. At least if all the same colors are together they look like they belong together. In another bed we group blues, whites and silvers.

texture and contrast

Having different textures will make all the plants show up against one another. It the texture is all the same the lines tend to get blurred and none of the plants will stand out except for the flowers. Using a large leaf against fine foliage or a grass make both plants show up better. Using large foliage and grasses also makes more of an impact when the plants aren’t in bloom.

Rather than look at the garden as a whole, which can be overwhelming, look at it in small sections or groups of three to five plants. Chose one of these plants to be the focal point and the others to be the supporting cast. This can change when maybe one of the supporting plants starts to bloom and the original focal plant has lost its bloom. All the plants should pull their weight for the whole season. After you are happy with one combination just piece together a few more.

Form and texture

If you need inspiration visit nurseries and public gardens. Take a little note book and make a note of what you like and what works. Don’t just do this in the spring when everything is going gang busters but later like now, late summer, when you think your garden isn’t as satisfying as you would like.

Don’t be afraid to experiment, that is the creative part of gardening. You can also come out to Old Goat Farm this weekend because we will be open.

Color and texture

Texture and contrast

Color and texture

Blue White and Silver

Larger combination

Supporting plants changing to focal points


Miniature plants grouped together


Color and contrast


#design #color #plantcombinations #springephemerals #OldGoatFarm

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20021 Orting Kapowsin Hwy. E.
Graham, WA 98338
Phone: (360) 893-1261
E-mail: oldgoatfarm@comcast.net