Scene from a Curbside Garden for October Bloom Day



This combo is stopping pedestrians in their tracks – even some folks in vehicles.  It’s a beautyberry shrub draped over Sedum ‘Autumn Joy," and you can see them in context and more plants blooming here on my blog.

Why a day early?  Because tomorrow is Blog Action Day!


  1. Lovely! I was surprised to learn on your blog that your beautyberry is Callicarpa bodinieri. It looks more like the C. dichotoma that I’ve seen. Maybe that’s due to our zone differences. Either way, it’s a great partner with the sedum.

  2. I bought a couple of those same shrubs for a client – so beautiful. I hope they will work in our zone 5 climate. I am pairing with a couple of Rozanne Geraniums. But I have lots of those nice giant sedums laying around waiting to be relocated – I think I will add those into the mix as well.

    Lovely combo! I’d stop too.

  3. Lovely pic. Perfection. A gardeners delight.


    Before designing I ask clients for pics of gardens they like. If your pic was shown, ugh. What will it look like in February? Most of my clients are regular people wanting a pretty, low maintenance landscape.

    Devoting that much space, within a small space, to deciduous and herbacious plantings, is not something I would readily do for the average client.

    Most change their desire once it’s explained how little time a plant combo will be beautiful.

    And it’s not a low maintenance plant combo. Leaves must be cleaned up and the perennial cut back. Flowering evergreens are much less maintenance.

    If obviously plant/landscape crazy, yes, they would get the planting in the pic.

    David Hicks was correct about beginning gardeners learning from black/white pics.

    Too often, color landscape pics are plant porn to the novice.

  4. Gee, Tara, I live in Buffalo and if we only planted things that looked good in February, we would have one horrifically dreary landscape at all seasons.

    I’m not one of your clients, but I looked at this picture and thought I WANT THAT. And, no, just because I live where there is a cold winter, I am not going to limit myself to flowering evergreens (blah). Spring, summer, and fall are when people are outside and that’s when I want my garden to look good.

    And I expect that is the common reaction. Even many designers might agree, I bet.

  5. Yeah, what Eliz said. And aren’t we all “plant/landscape crazy”? I thought that was the common thread on this blog. I don’t know much about gardening yet, still a relative newcomer to this whole business, but I know one thing: low-maintenance and gardening are contradictory. If you want low-maintenance you should move to an apartment.

  6. Tara, what flowering evergreen did you have in mind for this southwestern exposure in a hell strip subjected to all sorts of abuse? Also, where you live and garden.

    As to these two plants being high- maintenance, certainly compared to the turfgrass they replaced, they’re not. They require less watering than almost anything, and one five-minute pruning job every year – easy-peasy. The sedum even looks good about 11 months of the year here in Maryland.

    Actually, I’m all for plant porn that gets my clients inspired and excited about gardening, which is something that few of the commonly used (by landscapers) evergreens can do. I tell clients exactly what it’ll take to maintain the plant, and they can choose.

  7. truely lovely combo…. unfortunately my experience with this Callicarpa (non-native)is that it self-sows WICKEDLY in DC….it also has a very short (but spectacular) season of interest.
    perhaps it doesn’t self-sow so much in other areas… be sure to keep an eye on it

  8. No, not everyone is plant/landscape crazy. Most of my customers want a pretty, economical, low maintenance landscape. It’s the largest segment of the landscape public.

    My job is to cover those bases. Plus, reduce heating/cooling, create outdoor rooms , have focal points on axis with key views from inside the home, suggest paint colors, place paths-arbors-patios-decks, consider views into windows, shutters, light fixtures, suggest hardware, be organic, hide eyesores, use only rainwater, coach about soil prep, pruning, composting, put the right plant in the right spot, discuss phasing the project in (with my crew or DIY), and make sure the landscape can be maintained by someone who cannot speak English.

    Hopefully they will use my landscape crew.

    These are most of the things considered though there are more. This is for the average client. Again, most of whom are not plant/landscape crazy.

    My work sets the stage, hoping each client will get the epiphany about gardening.

    Rosemary Verey, The Garden In Winter, made the point first about designing a landscape for February. Good bones and structure.

    Studying landscapes in Europe teaches what will last in a landscape over time. Trees, meadow, stone focal point.

    Back to the beautiful picture. ‘Hell strips’ are common here, in Atlanta, GA, too.

    I would use an evergreen groundcover along with a small evergreen shrub. Here, maybe dianthus ‘Bath Pink’, spring blooms/fragrant with gardenia radicans summer blooms/fragrant. Silver foliage next to dark green foliage. Coarse texture next to fine texture.

    Using the same formula, always, for plant combos. Contrasting colors and textures of foliage.

    The choices dependent upon what else is in the landscape design. Wanting to use repetition-simplicity as much as possible.

    Personally, my ‘hell strip’ contains, hydrangea, rosemary, lavender, roses backed by cleyera hedge on one side of the drive and abelia hedge on the other. It’s a bit bigger than yours.
    There isn’t a day all year something isn’t blooming there.

  9. Hey I’m in the industy also and having quite a number of clients that don’t wish to have a high maintenance garden but what’s wrong with having an accent of non evergreens for the winter. Don’t know too much about the Callicarpa will behave here but the Giant Sedums are a nice visual staple for the winter even if they aren’t evergreen.

    Perhaps it is different as you are GA a full 2 zones warmer then us in Chi town and are looking at mud most of the winter, hence the need for more evergreens as opposed to us with our snow on the ground.

    Not trying to beat you up here but I think Susan’s combo is lovely simple as that and there was no reason to go into a huge contradictory dialogue about it.

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