Add Bright Red Monarda to Your Hydrangea Garden

red monarda garden flowers
Photo used with permission @ "English Cottage Gardens, Alaskan Style"

Most people love to see a variety of color in a flower garden.  Along with the mix of sizes and shapes of shrubbery, getting colors to pop and draw the eye to a visual treat is most important.

Hydrangeas can stand alone and be wonderful, but imagine them as the focal point in a diverse garden setting.  When planting a tiered garden, with taller shrubs in the back, let hydrangeas be the mid-level plant, with short annuals or perennials in front.  Make sure your hydrangea is of the variety that grows about 4 feet tall and set some tall, red monarda behind it.

A word of caution about Monarda – it spreads, so if you don’t want it growing all over, plant it in a big pot to keep the roots contained, or choose tall lilies and iris to complement your hydrangeas.

I also like the idea of adding interesting grasses beneath the hydrangea, but be careful you don’t disturb the roots and remember that the more you plant the more water the plants will drink.

I found the photo shown here at the site listed on the photo, and clicking on the photo or this link will take you to the blog which has the most amazing flower garden photos! One flower I did not see was the hydrangea, which may not grow well at all that far north.

AND permission is given – at the bottom of the page – to use photos with links.  Many thanks to the writer and photographer at that site.

Tier Planting, Choosing the Tall Perennials

English: phlox
Image via Wikipedia - white Phlox

Planting against a fence, house, stone wall, around a post, or even a drop off, may require tier planting with larger perennials planted in the back and rows of shorter shrubs in front.  I’ve been thinking about this since I have many areas of my yard that will need sprucing up with colorful, flowering plants and greenery.

So what can we use for our back row, which will have to be filled with the tallest plants?  It’s a tricky question when beginning a garden because most plants will take a few years to reach the desired height.  My favorite choices for the back row of a tiered garden are tall phlox, coneflowers, lilies and monarda (bee balm).

Take into consideration the background – will they be planted against a white fence, or a wood one?  Choose colors accordingly as white phlox will stand out against a darker color, but may not show up well if the fence is white.

Also consider the amount of sun the garden will receive.  If it gets very little to none, choose other flowers that will bloom in the shade.

I want lots of color in my garden and I want it to attract wildlife such as hummingbirds and other birds that will eat the bugs.  Good red choices are Monarda and coneflowers.  Monarda will grow fast, and spread.  Coneflowers will take longer, but can also get quite tall and their seeds are loved by chickadees and gold finches in Fall.

Learn the colors of the different varieties and choose the ones you prefer and that will compliment your garden best.

English: A female ruby-throated hummingbird (A...
Image via Wikipedia - Hummingbird and Monarda