We’ve visited Syd Carpenter’s beautiful Philadelphia garden several times, and I’m always happy to go back and be inspired by her sharp sense of design and beautiful plant combinations.
Here, a small-leaved coleus cultivar dominates in a dramatic container. Around the base of the container is a planting of Epimedium (barrenwort, Zones 5–9). Epimediums have beautiful, delicate foliage, and often the new growth is flushed with bronze. Here, the reddish tones in the new leaves contrast beautifully with the lush green of the more mature foliage. In the foreground, betony (Stachys officinalis, Zones 4–8) puts up spires of pink flowers that complement rather than obscure the scene behind them.
Ferns and hostas are perfect companions; both thrive in the same conditions but give contrasting textures to the garden. Here they are both complemented by a piece of garden art.
Hypericum androsaemum (shrubby St. John’s wort, Zones 5–8) has colorful berries that have been popular in the cut flower industry but are just as great to use in the garden. Here it is surrounded by Japanese forest grass (Hokonechloa macra, Zones 5–9).
White caladiums (Caladium hybrid, Zones 9–11 or as annual or tender bulb) are a great way to brighten up a dark, shady area.
Diverse foliage textures set the stage, highlighted by pockets of flowers. The flowers are all shades of pink to purple, which ties the whole space together.
This peony (Paeonia hybrid, Zones 3–8) and petunia (Petunia ‘Pretty Much Picasso’, annual) have very different flowers, but both share almost exactly the same shade of magenta in their petals, helping them work together visually.
A gold-leafed bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis ‘Gold Heart’, Zones 3–9) is the star here, the brilliant leaves glowing all the brighter for being surrounded by dark greens and purple flowers.
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What a beautiful garden!
I admire the way Syd adds robust annuals in bursts: As with the Coleus or Calibrichoa in dramatic overflowing pots. OR the jumbo papery white leaves of Caladium inserted into the bank besides more modest white-flowering Wax Begonias. They are there to add some animation to zones where the perennials alone are not adding the sparks that fly throughout these garden beds that are so stimulating.
Thanks for alerting me, I would never have known they added another posting of the garden
Syd, your garden seems to be one of endless delights that invites repeat visits. Your choice of plants and artistic ornamentation have such a wonderful harmony...like how the texture dots on the container give extra emphasis to the coloration pattern on the coleus. It's really quite inspired.
Thanks for noticing little details
Syd, I thoroughly enjoyed the way you mix different leaf textures and introduce color. Also, very nice job of photography.
After the garden is ready for its closeup, I really enjoy finding those special “moments” with the camera.
My word - that caladium are bleeding heart is to die for! As usual, everything is gorgeous.
Caladiums....my part sun garden depends on them...along with coleus.
What a stunningly beautiful garden - what a perfect sense of color, texture, light and dark.
The garden is my second studio. At this time of year, I can’t wait to see what new ideas and projects I can get going
Pretty Much Picasso Petunia is sending me over the edge. Stunningly gorgeous combo with the Peonies. Everything is beautiful.... I just love petunias... Recognizing I really need to broaden my horizons....
All the different varieties of petunias.....they are so hard working and can liven up a dull spot instantly as long as they get enough light
Fabulous! Something exciting to look at everywhere, yet it gives such a feeling of calmness at the same time! Oh I can't wait until my new garden looks like yours!!!
Mine is always changing so every year I feel like I have a new garden. And zi never really know How it will turn out
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