Friday, 26 May 2023

Companion Planting - harmonising foliage

"Companion Planting" usually means planting one sacrificial plant, in order to protect something more precious: for example, planting smelly old calendula (marigolds) around the edges of your veggie patch, in the hopes of distracting aphids and other unwanted pests, en route to your edibles. 

But it also means making nice or pleasing associations: I wrote about Tamarisk and Asparagus a while ago, and the other day I saw another unusual but pleasant combination. 


The big plant is Senecio (formerly Brachyglottis) which I generally only grow for the foliage, which - as you can see - is silver-white, and rather lovely. 

The flowers are great coarse yellow things, they don't look good against the silver, and they very quickly go over, leaving a mass of dead grey foliage underneath them.

So I treat it harshly, I cut it back hard every time I see it, which produces a mass of new growth, which is clean and silver-white, lovely! 

(I do sometimes wonder if my various Clients see it elsewhere, flowering, and wonder why theirs never produce flowers....) 

This particular photo was taken in early March, so it's not quite looking its best, but even this early in the year, it still has a nice effect.

And in front of it, we have a very nice cultivar of hardy Cyclamen hederifolium, one of the variegated leaf ones, which happens to be a very silvery colour.

Was this a complete and happy coincidence? Or did the gardener (me) choose to put them in this juxtaposition deliberately?

I'll leave you to think about that!

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