A FLAIR FOR DRAMA Add some unexpected excitement to the yard with a centerpiece as a garden focal point. In small doses or in mass plantings, these Garden Greats offer up personality in spades.
SET THE STAGE The way to design for drama is to set the stage by surrounding the centerpiece plants with lower growing complimentary or contrasting colors. As you move away from the center, go lower. The drop-off can be swift, for a garden with a small footprint, or slow, if you need to chew up some visual space. In bigger gardens, you can punctuate the slope with rises and falls to tell a sort of garden story.
- Use a stand of lilies, either as a solid block for impact, or a mixed garden for rolling colors and heights over an extended season.
- Plant tall majestic delphiniums. Some grow very high; some are miniatures of a foot or two, so you can mix different types at different places.
- A hedge of daylilies with heavy blooms is a classic border garden, blessed with tough-as-nails roots. If nothing else will grow in a spot, try daylillies—so long as they get lots of sun.
- Hardy hibiscus have the large, dinner-plate blooms that impress people. These are among the biggest blooms you will find in the garden.
- Consider a stand of Monardas, with their unusual pin-cushion flowers. They ought to be more popular, but right now, a stand of them is an unusual conversation piece.
- Lavenders, especially mixed with roses, have a very European flair. Imagine finding lavender-tinted rose water right in the backyard!
- Red achilleas offer a homey, folk-artist flair and are a wonderful addition to the crafts kit, as fresh or dried flowers.