Natural companions

I finally bought my very own copy of Ken Druse’s latest book Natural Companions: A Garden Lover’s Guide to Plant Combinations and if you don’t have a copy yet, it’s worth dropping everything else – plant those annuals later! – to pick it up. (I ordered mine from my favorite local bookstore and beat feet to get it as soon as it came in.) Truly, you might never look at your garden and the plants in it the same way again. I appreciated Ken’s reminder to pick flowers and foliage to see what would look well together but Ellen Hoverkamp’s digital scans of those pickings are exquisite. And then Ken takes it several steps further to illuminate plants that not only look well together but go together in various other ways, whether they’re related by “blood”, color, place, habit, use, and so on and on for well over 200 beautifully written and photographed pages.

I don’t have Ellen’s patience – or her brilliant artistic eye – or her equipment – to ever be able to create such amazing compositions but I have already started to notice the garden’s own arrangements and natural companions with a fresh eye. Some of these combinations (related more by good looks and cultural requirements than anything more thought-provoking) were planned but I think most were either lucky guesses or pure wind-blown serendipity. (Mouse over for captions, click on for larger views.)


What combinations of plants go well together in your garden? Do you think about different kinds of plant relationships when you’re working on your garden’s design?

2 thoughts on “Natural companions

  1. Fabulous book! In our garden, right now, I’m pretty thrilled with the way the Autumn Fern and the Heuchera ‘Caramel’ are playing together, while Paeonia ‘Bartzella’ is boasting more than a dozen bodacious yellow blooms.

    Kathy, Bartzella is totally bodacious. Ours doesn’t (didn’t) have quite that many blooms but wowsers! We’ve got it in the Rose Garden where it definitely held its own against early blooming roses. -kris

  2. A splendid idea to rave about this unique book. Hauntingly real images, like a rich Dutch still life. And I hear that Elllen is coming to Blithewold to work her magic on ots gardens. Can’t wait!

    Me neither, Ginny! -kris

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>