One of the secrets to a good garden are good plant combinations. Sometimes they are just trial and error but there are a few rules that make it a bit easier and a whole lot more satisfying.
It helps to take into consideration color. Not just the bloom color, but also foliage color can really help make a combination work. It also extends the season of interest of the combination. The bloom will only be there for part of the season but the foliage will hold the combination together the rest of the time. If you combine plants that bloom at different times that will also help extend the season of interest. At Old Goat Farm we color coordinate some of the beds. For example, one bed is all pinks, red and burgundy. Regardless of what plant goes in that bed it needs to be in that same color range. They all bloom at different times but it always looks good. This is a good tip for gardeners that like to buy plants in ones. At least if all the same colors are together they look like they belong together. In another bed we group blues, whites and silvers.
Having different textures will make all the plants show up against one another. It the texture is all the same the lines tend to get blurred and none of the plants will stand out except for the flowers. Using a large leaf against fine foliage or a grass make both plants show up better. Using large foliage and grasses also makes more of an impact when the plants aren’t in bloom.
If you need inspiration visit nurseries and public gardens. Take a little note book and make a note of what you like and what works. Don’t just do this in the spring when everything is going gang busters but later when you think your garden isn’t as satisfying as you would like.