Not every plant in a garden can take center stage. A landscape needs an assortment of trees, shrubs, and grasses that will fade into the background during the growing season while maintaining the garden’s structure in winter. Plantings that fulfill this role are commonly called “anchor plants.” When strategically placed, they give a landscape balance, form, and continuity. In essence, they’re the backbone of a garden.
When shopping for anchor plants, buy ones that you want around for the long haul, and use them to create the framework of your design. Look for plants with year-round appeal that are large enough to effectively anchor—but not overpower—surrounding perennials when they mature. Here are eight of my favorites, along with some guidelines on how to use them.
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