Not all successful pairings in the garden involve just plants. Inanimate objects can really make plants shine by providing a contrasting or complementary backdrop.
A large pot is a classic object for creating interest. This shiny one is filled with coleus and flanked by a large-leafed hosta and green Japanese Forest Grass. Creeping Jenny echoes the coleus’s chartreuse color and flows in to fill the gaps.
Statuary is another classic combination in the garden. Here I’ve paired an aged but muscular Chinese lion with Chelone “Hot Lips,” which is just starting to bloom. The hot pink chelone blooms look really good against the turquoise of the lion.
A more restful combination is this seated Buddha against a soft green hemlock. This combination is simple and calm. The softness of the feathery hemlock provide a lovely contrast to the smooth, hard surface of the Buddha.The best thing about objects, though, is that they can be anything that you like. I have chosen some of the more classic, traditional objects, but I’ve seen wonderfully inventive, “found” objects used to great effect in other gardens. Pairings are limited only by your own imagination. And isn’t that one of the best things about gardening?