Winning Combinations

from The Weatherstaff PlantingPlanner – intelligent garden design software

Some plants make perfect bedfellows. Here are some of my favourite plant combinations.

Here’s an irresistible trio of plants for well-drained soil in full sun.

Allium sphaerocephalon with Stipa tenuissima and Chamaemelum nobile planting idea for well-drained soil
Allium sphaerocephalon with Stipa tenuissima and Chamaemelum nobile

Alliums are flowering plants which include onions, garlic and chives, as well as a number of gorgeously trendy, ornamental plants for the herbaceous border. Allium sphaerocephalon is also known as the round-headed leek or drumstick allium.

The ovoid flowerheads, densely packed with bell-shaped flowers, sway on slender stems, green at first then maturing to a delicious dark red-purple. The strap-like foliage is already starting to wither when the summer flowers appear and can be cut back if necessary.

The intensity of the flowerhead fades to parchment as the summer passes. A bulbous perennial, it will return each year, gently self-seeding to spread its charms abroad.

Allium sphaerocephalon alongside wispy Stipa tenuissima Planting Plan for summer
Allium sphaerocephalon alongside wispy Stipa tenuissima
Drumstick allium Weatherstaff plan
Flowerhead of drumstick allium

It looks fantastic against a backdrop of ornamental grasses and the wispy Stipa tenuissima is a perfect companion. It is a superb, tactile grass, with soft, finely textured, bright green leaves. Dancing, feathery, light green flowerheads, fading to beige, appear from spring until autumn, and persist well into winter.

Like other ornamental grasses or grass-like plants, Stipa tenuissima is easy to care for. Simply trim untidy leaf tips and remove flower spikes, before new growth starts in early spring. Pull away any dead foliage.

Ornamental grass for summer
Stipa tenuissima
Chamaemelum nobile summer border idea
Chamaemelum nobile

I’ve planted these two in my garden, surrounding a circle of stone setts and underplanted with chamomile. The low, aromatic foliage of Chamaemelum nobile is finely dissected, creating a feathery, fern-like appearance, and white, daisy-like flowers, with yellow centres, appear in summer.

Chamomile is a carpeting perennial, which can cope with light foot traffic. The flowers can be dried and used to make chamomile tea.

The Weatherstaff Team