A recent post by Gaia Gardener about nice combinations of native prairie plants was timely and I made a mental note to blog this combination, of butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) and catnip (Nepeta cataria) that sprung up voluntarily in my back garden. This one is for you, Gaia! I now have 8 or so Asclepias volunteers around the yard and I've blogged before about my accidental combination of Asclepias and a 'Fiesta' forsythia. The catnip simply grows everywhere. I fact, I weed out more of the catnip than I permit to grow. I wonder if the daylily in the foreground will bloom in time to add to the display?
Gaia's post also reminded me to occasionally look beyond the roses and view the rest of my garden, and while I was in a mood to appreciate plant combinations, there were several other combinations that were particularly pleasing to me at this time of year. Here is an iPhone photograph of a couple of recently planted lilies against the backdrop of tall, stiff 'Karl Foerster'. I'm not that fond of "Karl", but even blurred in the Kansas wind, as it is here, it makes a good foil for the flowers. The pink blooms intruding at the lower right are Griffith Buck rose 'Country Dancer'.
You should always assume that any pleasing plant combination in my garden is the result of a happy accident because, well, because that's exactly what it is. I'm a plant collector by heart and I tend to plop down any new plant that tickles my fancy into the next open available spot, full speed ahead and ignoring the dangers of clashing colors and inappropriate size differentials and wildly differing growth patterns. They can always be moved if they prove they can survive the Kansas climate, right? Here, one of the more colorful lilies has opened up against the fading 'Basye's Purple Rose'. The deep reddish-purple rose makes a nice contrast to the more orange-red lily.
It's probably now obvious that within the past couple of years, I realized that Asiatic, Oriental, and Orientpet lilies are useful to fill in the dreary period between the end of the first wave of roses and the cheery summer daylilies. I'm seeing the payoff from planting a lot of lily bulbs into the beds the past two summers. Here, a nicely colored lily blooms in front of a Yucca filamentosa 'Golden Sword', both in the foreground of a nice, light pink 'Bonica' shrub rose.
Soon, the lilies will fade and other accidental combinations will quietly bid for my attentions. The next round of blooms will be the colorful daylilies against other neighboring plants, and then the late summer flowers such black-eyed susans and daisies will hold center stage, and finally grasses will become the focus of the garden. And then another growing year, along with all its fleeting combinations, will be gone.