Garden Photo of the Day

High contrast

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Photo/Illustration: Kerry Ann Moore

Here’s a great plant combo from one of my favorite gardeners of all time, Sydney Eddison. Former Assistant Editor Kerry Ann Moore took this shot last summer while strolling around her garden. We’re so lucky that Sydney lives less than 10 minutes from the FG offices, and we can visit with her and her adorable Jack Russell, Phoebe, throughout the season. When I emailed her to ask her about this planting, which includes a purple smokebush (Cotinus coggygria cv., USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9) and a yellow-flowered mullein (Verbascum chaixii, Zones 5-9) she said, “What appeals to me is the opposition in both form and color.  The shrub’s habit of growth is essentially rounded or mound-like, while the spikes of mullein are narrow and vertical.  The colors offer the high contrast of complementary yellow against a background of red-purple. Harsh spring pruning of the smokebush produces fresh young foliage of a rich, vibrant hue that sets off the pale spikes of mullein.  But best of all, the mullein’s feathery anthers are a perfect match with the leaves of the smokebush. Great likeness. Great difference. Great combination.” We agree! Thanks, Sydney, for sharing your garden with us for over 20 years!

Click here to enlarge this photo.
Photo/Illustration: Kerry Ann Moore


Welcome to the Fine Gardening GARDEN PHOTO OF THE DAY blog! Every weekday we post a new photo of a great garden, a spectacular plant, a stunning plant combination, or any number of other subjects. Think of it as your morning jolt of green.

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View Comments


  1. joycedaffodilhill 02/23/2011

    This plant is well known in my home State of West Virginia. It grows wild and in profusion. It seems quite at home in this suburban environment as well.

  2. soilgoil 02/23/2011

    Mullein is a wildflower here in the Pacific Northwest, too. It can grow to six feet and taller, and in the right place, is quite dramatic and sculptural. I applaud Sydney's placement of this neon-bright, spiky plant in front of deep purple Cotinus. Talk about great color combinations!

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    richardanderson 02/01/2019

    Nice high contrast plant. Great combination of color of these flowers.

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