Today, we’ve become a little more sophisticated in our gardens. We realize that straight- row planting is a technique with graduated heights, but it’s not really a design.
Now, we prefer something other than straight rows, perhaps with a little bit of textural change, complementary colors with some contrast, and a variety of textures.
As we look at this bed, the dominant plant is the Senorita Rosalita Cleome that is in the background. It’s is a new, improved spider flower type that’s shorter, more compact, keeps it’s foliage, and blooms like crazy all summer long.
In front of that, we’ve highlighted it with a rose Vinca that also takes Kansas' heat, wind, and drought. And, now that we have a short-to-tall contrast, we can offset it on the corners or ends of the bed with a calico ornamental pepper, which has white leaves with a purple portion to it. The purple peppers add color and texture, and, again, we’re still in that purple – violet – rose- kind of tones.
For a little motion, as well as a change in texture, we’ve added the Wind Dancer grasses in the back corners to repeat the corner design front to back. But now, it’s this light, airy, grass that moves -- even in the slightest breeze. This motion is kind of mesmerizing. In the winter, we set and watch the flames in our fireplace, and, in the summer we can sit here and enjoy our flowers, color, motion, and texture changes. It’s an enjoyable experience to have a bed with some design, rather than just straight rows.
This feature story prepared with Alan Stevens, Kansas State University Research and Extension State Leader, Horticulture. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.