Secrets to beautiful plant pairings

A garden designer shares her ideas and inspiration

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A garden designer's secrets

1. Be a savvy shopper

Always carry a notepad. When you see a plant you like, write down its name.

When you go nursery shopping, work from a list of plants you need for specific locations.

It's fine to give in to plant lust once in a while, but for the most part, go with a plan. Before you order by mail, check out, a website that lists and rates mail-order plant sources.

2. Choose plants with multiseason interest

Some that Stockett likes:

Barberries with bright berries and red stems in winter and purple-red foliage in summer.

'Hakuro Nishiki' willow ( Salix integra 'Hakuro Nishiki'), whose leaves open variegated pink in spring, shift to cream and green in summer, then drop in fall, allowing twigs and branches ― which look like red fireworks ― to carry the show in winter.

Paperbark maple (Acer griseum), which has a green canopy in summer that turns reddish in fall, and reddish brown papery bark that steals the show in winter and spring.

3. Move plants if necessary

To get the look you want, keep plants in their nursery cans, set them in the space you have in mind, and leave them there for a few days.

Do they work with the plant colors and textures around them, and with the changing light of day? If not, move them.

And if an established plant no longer works in one location, dig it out and move it to a better one; ideally, do this in fall when weather is cooling off but before rains come.



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