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In the Mix
Think of the plants in this fairly complex garden bed as the musicians in an orchestra: Each plays an integral part in a season-long performance of color and texture. Sometimes one player comes to the front, while another waits for a turn in later months.
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Eye-catching flower heads of pink phlox and other sturdy, low-maintenance perennials stand out from a distance and add patches of vivid color at midsummer.
Chelone, hollyhocks, monarda, and Oriental poppies
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Shrubs, such as this berberis, sustain their burgundy leaves all season and ground the other flowers with a deep base that complements the lighter tones.
Silver foliage, such as artemisia, lavender, or globe thistle, paired with dark Japanese maple, smoke bush, black elderberry, and physocarpus
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Don't be wary of incorporating some well-behaved vines, such as clematis, to weave in and out of the other plants. They add a bright focal point in the upper part of the garden.
Large-flowered clematis or daintier hybrids and species such as Clematis alpina, C. viticella, and C. texensis
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Groups of spire-forming plants, such as this blue Veronica longifolia, form tall vertical elements in the middle of the rounder shapes of other perennials and shrubs.
Verbascum, foxglove, mallow, delphinium, and liatris
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Place airy plants, such as meadow rue, in both the middle and front of the beds to fill them out with delicate color and establish a sense of height that won't overpower the neighboring species.
Bugbane, filipendula, lavatera, aruncus, and Russian sage
For more garden inspiration, read about Bill Noble's Vermont country garden.
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