Combining Shapes

It is the combination of shapes and textures that make a garden more interesting. The Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), an upright shrub suitable for inland gardens, has pink, white or mauve flowers in summer. Grow the mauve variety alongside Russian sage (Perovskia 'Blue Spire'), a sub-shrub whose dainty lavender-blue flower spires and aromatic silvery-grey filigree foliage create a feathery effect and an effective backdrop for the stars of this grouping - 'Knock Out' shrub roses with cherry-red, cup-shaped flowers. Carry the colour through by giving the roses a ruffle of mauve scabious.

Use plants with good structure to add interest to the late garden. An effective combination for a sunny position would be Leonotis leonurus with tall 
upright stems of tiered orange furry flowers, and Metarungia longistrobus with apricot flowers similar to those of the shrimp bush, both favourites of sunbirds. Team these with the smooth plum coloured leaves of cannas and dwarf Phormium 'Bronze Baby' with strap-like foliage.

Leonotis leonurus

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