MINTER: See-through flowers bolster any garden
One of the missing elements in many of today’s gardens is the “see through” effect, which simply means using plants that flower in a very open and loose form to accent other plants around them.
See through plants allow you to enjoy their beauty while, at the same time, enable you to see the combined effect of their companions.
These so called “see throughs” are often so light and wispy that the slightest breeze provides gentle movement, adding another delight to the garden. A well known garden photographer brought this to my attention at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania when he was specifically shooting through these plants to capture some pretty interesting effects.
Some of the most fascinating see throughs are the sanguisorbas. The bottle brush-like flowers on this varied plant family are quite delightful. From tiny three-centimetre pink flowers to huge seven-centimetre rosy pink plumes, these are must-have garden plants.
I’m surprised at how many folks have never seen or heard of them, but when they first spot them, it’s an instant love affair.
Growing from 48 to 27 cm and spreading to approximately 40 cm, sanquisorbas bloom, depending upon the variety, from June through July. Their foliage is small and quite elegant, adding texture to both perennial beds and containers, and they will tolerate full, hot sun or partial shade. I like using them to centre blue perennial geraniums or short leucanthemums for a delightful combination effect. My favourite varieties are S. Tanna and Pink Tanna (zone 4).
One plant that’s still a sleeper in many gardens are perovskias (zone 5). This silver-leafed jewel flowers from June through to frost, loves the hot sun and combines well with so many plants, especially ornamental grasses. Perovskias blue spire has been the standard variety for years, even chosen as the Perennial Plant of the Year, but the introduction of P. Little Spire is a blessing.
Its tiny blue flowers, accented by silver foliage, make it a standout with shorter evergreen grasses like the darker carex varieties and with all the pennisetums that start blooming in July. It’s also a natural with rudbeckias, heleniums, phlox and late blooming blue salvias. It’s a superb plant that can create an instant effect even if planted now. Autumn mums would also benefit from this great companion.