Cotinus coggygria or Purple Smoke tree as it commonly known is a wonderful ornamental shrub. I love it for its colors, and ability to grow in almost any soil and survive drought or a little neglect.
Cotinus coggygria is recognized by its purple leaves that change many colors throughout the fall season. While the season changes from summer to fall, you can spot purple, red-orange and scarlet colors in foliage. The beauty of this wonderful shrub is enhanced when its flowers pop to produce plum-like clusters of seeds. These plumes give this beautiful shrub a hazy look (and of course the common name, Purple Smoke Tree) that adds charm to its colorful foliage.
How to Grow Cotinus coggygria
Cotinus coggygria can be grown as a hedging plant or a specimen plant in garden. It is usually propagated from softwood cuttings taken in summer or seeds sown in fall. The plant does not require much care and only requires a regular or slightly fertile soil under bright sunlight. It is a drought-tolerant plant and can easily survive long spells of drought making it a good choice when you are designing a xeriscape.
Cotinus coggygria usually grows up to 4 meters but it can be easily pruned in early spring to keep it in desired shape and size. To encourage flowering, it is advised that you prune it in late spring.
Popular varieties of Cotinus coggygria include C. coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ and C. coggygria ‘Velvet Cloak’. A number of other hybrids varying in size and foliage colors are also sold commercially.
Waterfalls make excellent design elements in a landscape design. Not only do waterfalls add music to the garden but also give a sense of freshness and openness. Modern landscape designs emphasize on maximum utilization of space and simplicity of design in order to keep cost and use of real estate as low as possible. With introduction of many new materials, it is easier to design modern waterfall designs that are both space and cost-effective.
Following are a few examples of modern waterfall designs that you can try in your landscape design. Notice how the use of space and modern materials can do magic when it comes to designing contemporary waterfalls.
The lovely plants featured today is Hypoestes aristata. It belongs to a genus of perennials and evergreen shrubs from tropical regions of Asia and Africa.
Hypoestes aristata is grown as evergreen flowering shrub that grows up to 5 feet and produces mauve, pink or white flowers. Flowers have ribbon-like petals, which is why the plant is also known as Ribbon Bush.
How to Grow Hypoestes aristata, Ribbon Bush
Hypoestes aristata prefers full to partial sun and thrives in tropical climates. In colder climates, it can be grown in greenhouse or as an attractive indoor plant. Hypoestes aristata can be propagated from both seed and cuttings. Seeds can be sown in spring. Soft or hardwood cuttings can be taken in the late winter or early spring.
Ground covers are excellent landscape design elements. When used effectively, ground covers not only protect the ground from drought and erosion but also supplement your design scheme by supplementing additional colors, forms and texture.
Besides the type of soil and climate, selecting the best ground covers for your landscape design depends on a number of factors:
Growing Conditions: You can find ground covers for almost any purpose and for all spots in your landscapes. Some ground covers grow in shady spots where very few plants can survive. Some are drought-tolerant and they make best ground covers when you want to design low-maintenance landscapes.
Formation: Ground covers have different growing habits. Some ground covers produce lateral branches, some form small mounds, some miniature ground covers stick to the ground whereas some develop upright branches.
Color and Texture: Besides their formation and growing conditions, ground covers offer interesting colors and textures. Some ground covers are evergreen and provide excellent ground coverage, some are used for their interesting colors. Depending on your landscape design, you can pick best ground covers in many different texture: soft and evergreen foliage, woody and deciduous, and so on.
Best Ground Covers for Your Landscape Design
The following is a selection of the best ground covers that you can use in your landscape design.
Kennedia prostrate is a low-growing plant from tropical and summer rainfall regions. It is hardy to heat and spells of drought and makes the best ground cover for low-maintenance landscapes. (Zone 9a – 10b)
Sedum album or Coral Carpet spreads horizontally and effectively covers empty areas with its succulent growth and tiny, star-shaped flowers of white or pinkish color. Flowers usually appear in midsummer. Sedum album can be propagated from cuttings. It requires bright sunlight and moist but well-drained soil. (Zone 3a – 9b)
Callisia or Inch Plant is a genus of low growing plants with delicate and lovely foliage. Native to dry climate of Mexico,these sprawling plants server as best ground covers for dry as well as moderate climates where they are protected from long spells of freeze and frost. (Zone 8a – 10b)
Soleirolia soleirolii or Baby’s Tears is an evergreen and low growing ground cover known for its round cascading leaves. It is the best ground cover for rock gardens and landscapes where it can easily take up empty spaces and form thick mounds of attractive foliage. It can also be used as alternate of grass because it would survive cold and shady spots easily and serve as nice ground cover throughout the year. (Zone 9a – 11)
Convolvulus cneorum which is commonly known as Silver Bush grows as low growing plant and usually forms a think carpet of evergreen foliage. Because of its capacity to withstand drought and grow in poor soil, Convolvulus cneorum is a best ground cover for sandy or poor landscapes. (Zone 6a – 9b)
Using Ground Covers in Your Landscape
Browse these beautiful examples of best ground covers used in landscape designs.
Ferns make excellent landscape plants because of their attractive fronds and their ability to thrive where many plants fail. You can plant them under shady trees, use them as border plants, grow them as ground covers or line garden pathways, and fill empty landscapes with low-maintenance ferns.
Most ferns are easy to maintain. They grow under fully or partially shaded parts of gardens where they benefit from moist but well-drained and loamy soil and moderate watering at regular intervals. When provided with these conditions ferns will produce abundance of lush fronds.
Ferns come in large and small sizes. Some are dwarf and some grow taller. Some form small clusters and some sprawl to cover the landscape. Depending on the size and layout of your garden, you can use ferns in your landscapes for many purposes. They can be used as companion plants with other flowering plants. You can use ferns to provide a lush-green background to your flower beds. You can also incorporate them in your landscapes as specimen plants grown in containers or hanging baskets.
Ferns in Garden Landscape
Here are a few examples of ferns beautifully used in garden landscapes.
Brunia is a small genus of flowering shrubs known for their unusual flowers. These evergreen shrubs can grow upright up to 2 meters and produce dark-green foliage that resembles the foliage of a pine tree. Tiny silvery-white or pink flowers appear in tight and fluffy pompom-like flower heads. Attractive flowers heads of Brunia are produced from autumn to winter in abundance making them stand out in a garden. Tiny flowers start blooming after the first winter rain.
Brunia is usually a slow growing shrub that requires bright sunlight and moderate watering in a well-drained soil. Most species of Brunia are sensitive to frost and require protection from long spell of frost and cold. You can propagate Brunia from cuttings planted in autumn or spring. You can also grow Brunia from seeds planted in autumn. Brunia makes a nice plant for filling empty spaces in landscapes. Flowers are usually used in fresh and dry flower arrangements.
Popular species of Brunia include Brunia nodiflora (known for its pink flower heads), Brunia stokoei (velvety red flowers), Brunia albiflora (white flowers), and B. neglecta (silvery-white flower heads).
Alternanthera is a large genus of usually low-growing annuals and perennials. Mostly evergreen most species of Alternanthera are grown for their attractive foliage. These lovely plants are ideal for growing along garden borders, as ground covers or in formal bedding.
Most species of Alternanthera do not require special care. A balanced soil, moderate watering and a sunny spot will keep them healthy. Some species of Alternanthera can be invasive and should be trimmed regularly to keep them in shape.
Alternanthera ficoidea, commonly known as ‘Red Carpet’, is a better known species from the genus of Alternanthera. Known for its colorful foliage, Alternanthera ficoidea is a low-maintenance plant that makes a good choice for both indoor (ornamental houseplant) and outdoor (ground cover) usage. It is grown from both seeds and cuttings and requires moderate watering in summer and protection from frost and overwatering in winter.
Alternanthera ficoidea is a fast growing plant and can be used to fill garden borders or empty spaces in landscapes and rock gardens. It grows from 6 to 12 inches in height and form mounds of attractive foliage.
Pathways provide a nice solution when you want to control the flow of traffic in your garden. They are also useful when you want to replace uneven and muddy paths with a neat, even and functional pathway.
There are a number of natural and manufactured materials available for laying out garden pathways. My favorite material is stone. It is cost-effective, durable and easy available. Stone is also available in many colors and sizes. Depending on the size and layout of your garden, you can carve out neat and attractive garden pathways using stone. Be creative with you designs but make sure that your design in practical. Do not add unnecessary curves because mowing around curved path is a bit difficult. Also make sure that the surface is even and provides smooth flow of rainwater.
Ideas for a Beautiful Garden Pathway
The following is a collection of 15 impressive ideas for beautiful pathways built with stone.
Ornamental grasses add a nice texture, unique formation and stunning colors to landscapes. Take the example of Japanese Blood Grass. Known for its fiery red color, this beautiful grass offers great ornamental value especially in the fall.
Imprata cylindrica’Rubra’ or Japanese Blood Grass grows up to 2 feet and forms tight clumps of green and red leaves this making a good choice for filling landscapes.