October 19, 2009

A B C: A Favorite Flower Combination

I could grow fields of this garden combination and be perfectly pleased... if only it could look this good to enjoy all summer long!
A = agastache 'Purple Haze' (or 'Black Adder')
zones 6-9, full sun

B = bee balm (monarda) 'Raspberry Wine'
zones 4-9, full sun

C= coneflowers (echinacea) 'Prairie Splendor'
zones 3-9, full sun
This trio bloomed beautifully together all of June. The combination consisted of 3 agastache, 1 bee balm and 5 coneflowers when planted in September 2008. This was the first year of bloom, an example of how fall planting can provide great results as the perennials have a chance for root development.

Unfortunately, the agastache 'Purple Haze' grew far too tall to continue in the current location. For some reason, this agastache didn't like to be deadheaded after getting so lanky. I moved the agastache out to the butterfly garden.

By also growing agastache 'Black Adder' in the deer resistant garden all summer, I have decided that it is a better agastache choice for this location and has the same purple spires. A better agastache in my opinion, 'Black Adder' has looked full all summer, still has rich purple spires and taken to deadheading quite well.

This particular bee balm 'Raspberry Wine' has very large stems that are noticeable when deadheaded. I recommend cutting it back severely after it finishes blooming if it is in a prominent location (this is by my front porch). Use annuals (I had zinnias here until yesterday) to fill in the space if you are left with a hole in the garden. An aggressive grower in rich soil, you only need one of these plants. You can divide it in autumn or spring, but I find I get the best blooms from monarda if it is divided in autumn.

These coneflowers (Prairie Splendor) will bloom after deadheading all summer. I still have blooms on these plants. The 'Prairie Splendor' reseeds in the garden, so I also have plenty of kids to transplant to other locations next spring. You could direct sow seeds now and have a few blooms by late summer of next year.

I love the color combination of purple, deep pink and raspberry. The different bloom shapes add interest to the grouping, so repeating these plants in a different color scheme, could also provide interesting results. I will definitely repeat this combination... somewhere in the outer gardens, if I can find some space!

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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