designing with three’s company
With so many plants to choose from, selecting a combination that works can be tricky. The “three’s company” design technique can help you make decisions about what planting combinations work for you. Start by selecting a single plant as the foundation of your planting. Then decide how you want to organize your combination — by texture, color, plant shape or any combination of these three.
Using cut flowers and foliage, arrange different possible combinations in a vase. You may want to include four or five plants so you can remove those that don’t work. Don’t worry if you’ve combined sun and shade plants; this is just for inspiration. Live with the vase arrangement until you are satisfied with it.
Take the inspiration arrangement with you when you go shopping. Look for plants that are similar to those in the combination but that fit your garden’s cultural situation best. When you’re planting your new garden, you may find you need to add more plants to balance the design. Smaller plants are often needed in larger numbers, while larger plants will overwhelm the space with more than one plant. You can get lots more design tips in Great Gardens Solutions for Small Spaces at right.