Flowers are not the only summer attractions. This intense foliage combination highlights three features of effective plant combinations: form, texture, and color.
The broad foliage of the ‘Hadspen Blue’ hosta, with its gentle sway and its neat pattern of evenly spaced veins, makes a bold contrast with the long and slender, narrowly pointed leaves of ‘Allgold’ Japanese forest grass, also called hakone grass. Creating a contrast of shapes in this way is often very effective.
The two plants also differ in texture. The hosta foliage is noticeably thick and rather heavy, with a slightly waxy look; the grass is slender and more delicate in appearance, and has a light shimmer to its surface.
The poise of the two plants is also distinct. The hosta leaves are rigid in their stance, held on sturdy though unobtrusive stems, while the grass flickers in the slightest breeze. The heavy-duty foliage of ‘Hadspen Blue’ is, by the way, also less susceptible to slug damage than that of most hostas.
Finally, the colors. This is a good example of muted contrast. Petunias and marigolds can also be blue and yellow, but this foliage pairing is entirely without their brashness. ‘Hadspen Blue’ is one of the bluest of all hostas, yet there is just a hint of a yellowish green tint in its foliage to make a color connection with the grass while at the same time maintaining its contrast.
And in the corner are the forget-me-nots, their sharp blue flowers winding down as the hosta and hakone grass spread into their space to mask the dying stems. Forget-me-nots are biennials and will self-sow to bloom again in more or less the same place next year. If seedlings don’t spring up in quite the right place, you can always move them.
Photos: © Gardenphotos.com