How would you combine these flowers?

herbal(z7 MD)February 20, 2012

I posted this on the winter sowing forum, but didn't get much response (Perhaps I should be more patient). I figured I may have posted in the wrong forum.

Well I love all of these flowers individually, but I need advice and suggestions on how to coordinate these babies in my yard. I'll list my seeds, some I will wintersow, and others spring sow.

I have many different areas around my home I'm working on. Full sun beds, a dry woodland area, a path lined with young butterfly bushes set 6 feet apart, filtered sun areas...

Sw. William 18"

Chinese purple bell vine

Columbine 30-36"

Canterbury Bells 2-3 ft

Black eyed susan 1-3ft

Delphinium 2-3ft


Hollyhock pink single, black watchman,

peaches & dreams 4-6ft

Ox eye daisy1-3ft

Purple coneflower 2-3ft

Cosmos sea shells mix 3-5ft

Sunflower sun gold 4-5ft

Sunflower velvet queen 5-6ft

Sunflower sunspot dwarf 2ft

Sunflower autumn beauty 5-6ft


4 o clocks 2ft

Cosmos bright lights 3ft

Zinnia California giant white 3ft

Zinnia California giant pink 3ft

Zinnia Thumbelina mixed 6"

Zinnia Pinwheel mix 1ft

Dusty miller 18"-24"

Cosmos daydream 3ft

Bachelors button mix 2ft

Marigold brocade mix 12-14"

Sweet pea knee-hi mix 24-30"

Statice sinuate mix 2ft

Calendula 18-24"

Calendula pacific beauty mix 18"

Carnation chabauds mix 2ft

Alyssum royal carpet 4"

Pansy jollyjoker 6-9"

Pinks double gaiety 12"

Poppy Shirley double 18"

Red poppy under 2ft

Purple peony poppy 3ft

German chamomile 24-30"

Cleome rose queen 3-4"

Forget me not 15"

Larkspur 24- 30"

Portulaca 6"

Mexican sunflower 3-4ft

Nemesia paintbox 9-12"

Stock finest ten weeks dwarf 1ft

Yarrow white, terracotta, love parade, cloth of gold, gold dust,


Babys breath 18"

Snap dragon 6"

Aster powderpuff mix 2ft

Morning glory heavenly blue

I would value all suggestions of what goes with what, based on your own experiences and preferences. Also, how many of each variety to put together. Like delphinium, should I have at least 5 planted in a single spot, and should I keep to 12" spacing as suggested on the seed bag?


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herbal(z7 MD)

I was looking in Organic gardening magazine and saw a beautiful photo of a path lined on each side by lavender plants and pink poppies. I'm thinking of putting the pink poppies between the butterfly bushes (they're only 1 ft tall), and propagating some lavender.
By the way, I do plan to keep everyone updated with photos of the finished beds.Yes, I realize you have no before pictures. I will add them soon. Thanks.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 9:01AM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Try to separate the plants into groups with different bloom times: early spring, late spring, early summer, etc. Then when you plant an area, be sure you have something blooming all the time. I made the mistake once of having this spectacular display of annuals in spring, then in summer, there was hardly anything blooming. Kind of disappointing.

In general it's best to have multiples of a plant in a group, and the group can repeat itself elsewhere in the garden. The number in the group will depend on ultimate size and shape. You don't need 5 big daisy bushes together, for example, because even one can have quite a footprint, and it produces a large quantity of flowers, while a lonely zinnia won't make much of a statement. Of course you'll keep in mind to plant the lower growing types where they will be visible, and not overwhelmed by the taller plants.

As far as combinations, that can be a matter of taste. Some like vivid contrasts, others prefer more subtle combinations. I would separate out any pale pastels for their own bed, but it looks like most of your list have the more vivid colors.

With so many annuals, feel free to experiment. No doubt you'll modify your plans for the next year. Good luck, and please post photos of your results.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 9:51AM
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I agree that you'll just have to experiment and have fun with it. It is pretty tricky to design with annuals and perennials that provide more in the way of flowers than foliage. Also remember the height given includes the height of the bloom, so the plant itself is much shorter. For instance, my sweet williams act as perennials and are about 4 inches tall.

Many annuals like larkspur, poppies, snapdragons will bloom early and die, leaving holes. Others, like the cosmos, cleome, zinnias, and sunflowers don't really start flowering until July here. These can also get pretty wide. I've decided that it's pretty pointless to start them early, as they don't really grow much until it gets hot. Perhaps you could plant cosmos and zinnia seeds around the base of the dying early bloomers? I would definitely plant in groups of at least five, more for plants that have little foliage like larkspur.

Are your pink poppies perennial? They do not bloom at the same time around here as the butterfly bushes - Poppies in early June and the BBs not until July. Poppies are hard to design with as they die back after blooming, but you have to leave the space open as the leaves emerge again in August. The BBs can get pretty big! I'd set them at least 6 feet from a path if you want something in front of them.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 11:01AM
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herbal(z7 MD)

Thanks for the great information. It really helps to think of the bloom times, also, knowing which plants will die off or are late starters. I have some researching to do...

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 8:37PM
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