If you're redesigning a bed or border and need some sage advice, Take Two Plants: The Gardener's Complete Guide to Companion Planting, by Nicola Ferguson, offers great suggestions along with photos of the best plant combinations. After reading this book you'll be armed with all the facts, and will be able to design and enjoy a spectacular new garden bed! Take Two Plants: The Gardener's Complete Guide to Companion Planting, by Nicola Ferguson (Contemporary Books, 1998; $28).
Favorite or New Plant
Viburnums are among the most beautiful, versatile and undemanding shrubs I know. In late spring or early summer, they are bedecked with large, showy clusters of white, cream or pink-tinged flowers. The flowers cover the shrubs from top to bottom for two or three weeks, and some cultivars offer a spicy, carnation-like fragrance. By late summer, shiny red, yellow, blue or black berries festoon the plants, and remain colorful throughout the winter months.
Few shrubs can match viburnum's handsome, healthy leaves, which earn the plants a place in the landscape even when they're not in fruit or flower. Viburnum leaves range from shiny to felty, leathery to deeply-veined, and from the darkest green through rich medium green, to gray in color. As a bonus, the foliage of most deciduous viburnums turns brilliant yellow-orange to red-purple in the fall. Viburnums are small to large deciduous, semi-evergreen or evergreen shrubs, thrive in full sun or bright, open shade, and tolerate a wide range of soils.