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Stunning Shade Combinations
Sensational Sun Combinations

Great Groundcovers

Butterfly / Pollinator Attractors

Hummingbird Attractors

Stunning Shade Combinations

The following plants are great combinations for use in a shady/partially shady area. Because perennials are not normally in bloom for most of the season, you should remember to take into consideration foliage and texture when determining what to use next to each other. These are just a few combos I came up with—-don't be afraid to experiment and try something different and unusual (that's what makes YOUR garden unique!).

Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ with Heuchera ‘Obsidian’, Heuchera ‘Lime Marmalade’, Heuchera ‘Citronelle’’ and Hakonechloa ‘All Gold’. Also add some small bright Hostas like ‘Cherry Tart’, ‘Boyz Toy’, ‘Curly Fries’, and ‘Prairie Moon’

Heucherella ‘Golden Zebra’ with luminous Hostas like ‘Designer Genes’, ‘Little Miss Sunshine’, ‘Maui Buttercups’, ‘Ripple Effect’, ‘Maya Tritone’, and ‘Strawberry Banana Smoothie’. Add some ‘Hakonechloa ‘All Gold’ for a different texture!

Aruncus ‘Misty Lace’ or Aruncu ‘Aethusifolius with Polemonium ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and Heuchera ‘Citronelle’ and/or ‘Caramel’

Corydalis lutea with Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ and Hellebores

Cimicifuga ‘Chocoholic’ with Digitalis ‘Dalmatian White’, Fallopia japonica ‘Variegata’, Carex ‘Evergold’, Hypericum ‘Brigadoon’ and Heucherella ‘Golden Zebra’.  Throw in some Hostas like ‘American Hero’, ‘Autumn Frost’ and/or ‘Rainbows End’ for some added spark!

Carex lining a shady path with layers of garden fairy attracting plants like Alchemilla mollis and mini Hostas like ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, ‘Alakazaam’, ‘Cherry Tomato’, ‘Dragon Tails’, Boyz Toy’ and ‘Mighty Mouse’.

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Sensational Sun Combinations

The following plants are great combinations for use in a sunny area. A full sun area is defined as being a minimum of 6 hours of sun. As the sun's intensity does vary depending on the time of day, most full sun plants can get away with having sun from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and do just as well.

Agastache (any!) with Kalimeris, Echinacea, and Calamintha—it’ll make your garden look like a bouquet!

Baptisia with tall ornamental grasses and Asclepias

Caryopteris with Echinacea, Hemerocallis, and Iberis

Iberis (Candytuft) edging a sunny path with masses of Kalimeris ‘Blue Star’ and Centaurea layered behind it

Leucanthemum ‘Banana Cream’ with Monarda ‘Gardenview Scarlett’ and Salvia ‘Marcus’

Solidago ‘Little Lemon’ with Stachys ‘Minima’ and Stokesia

Teucrium ‘Purple Tails’ with Caryopteris ‘Snow Fairy’ and Echinacea

Centaurea (any!) with Polemonium (any!)

Euphorbia ‘Bonfire’ with Echinacea ‘Tangerine Dream’ and Calamintha ‘Montrose White’

Campanula ‘Freya’ with Iberis and Polemonium ‘Stairway to Heaven’

Peony ‘Bartzella’, Peony ‘Hot Chocolate’ with Ornamental Grasses and Iberis

Peony ‘Lil’ Sweetie’ with Dianthus ‘Very Cherry’ and Rudbeckia ‘City Garden’

Miscanthus 'Morning Light' with Baptisia australis and Aster 'Alert'

And, speaking of Peonies, why not try a combo of at least three varieties with different bloom times (early, mid, and late)…mix, match and have fun, ‘cause ya KNOW how much I adore Peonies! And, just like Hostas, why settle for just one variety when you can have eye-catching color and extended bloom time; play it right and you can  have Peonies in bloom for up to SIX WEEKS!!! I’ve separated a few of them out with their bloom times as follows:

‘Abalone Pearl’
‘Belle Center’
‘Burma Ruby’
‘Cheddar Pom Pom’
‘Coral Charm’
‘Coral Fay’
‘Coral sunset’
‘Coral Supreme’
‘Crinkled Linens’
‘Early Scout’
‘Ellen Cowley’
‘’Fairy Princess’
‘Green Halo’
‘Green Lotus’
‘Hot Chocolate’
‘Illini Warrior’
‘Ivory Atlas’
‘Lancaster Imp’
‘Lights Out’
‘Lil’ Sweeties’
‘Magenta Moon’
‘Miss America’
‘Paree Fru Fru’
‘Paula Fay’
‘Petticoat Flounce’
‘Pink Hawaiian Coral’
‘Raspberry Charm’
‘Raspberry Twist’
‘Santa Fe’


‘Angel Cheeks’
‘Baroness Schroeder’
‘Bride’s Dream’
‘Crazy Myrtle’
‘Cora Stubbs’
‘Dairy Anne’
‘Do Tell’
‘Ellen Cowley’
‘Eskimo Pie’
‘Gay Paree’
‘Fancy Nancy’
‘Harry L. Smith’
‘Honey Gold’
‘Honey N Cream’
‘Ivory Escort’
‘Jubilee Pink’
‘Karen Gray’
‘Lord Cavin’
‘Love’s Touch’
‘Many Happy Returns’
‘Midnight Sun’
‘Moon River’
‘My petite Cherie’
‘Nancy Nichols’
‘Nellie Saylor’
‘Nippon Beauty’
‘Norma Volz’
‘Pastel Sunrise’
‘Peppermint Twist’
‘Petite Elegance’
‘Phillipe Rivoire’
‘Port Royale’
‘Prairie Charm’
‘Raspberry Clown’
‘Raspberry Sundae’
‘Ray Payton’
‘Rooster Reveille’
‘Santa Fe’
‘Sweet Shelly’
‘Summer Carnival’
‘The Fawn’
‘Ursa Major’
‘Violet Dawson’
‘West Elkton’
‘White Wicker’
‘Yellow Crown’


‘Baroness Schroeder’
‘Betty Warner’
‘Lavender Princess’
‘Love’s Touch’
‘Margaret Clark’
‘Nellie Saylor’
‘Nick Shaylor’
‘Pink Parfait’
‘Phillipe Rivoire’
‘Prairie Charm’
‘Rooster Reveille’
‘Sarah Bernhardt’

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Great Groundcovers

The following plants spread laterally and blanket the ground, usually providing a protective mulch to aid against soil erosion and weed growth. Some are "better spreaders" than others and move more rapidly; others are "slow but steady" and may need more time and/or more plants to cover the same area. Please refer to the plant section for descriptions and cultural requirements.

  • Arabis
  • Callirhoe
  • Campanula
Sun Perennials
* Arabis
* Callirhoe
* Campanula
* Dianthus
* Dracocephalum
* Euphorbia
* Herniaria
* Iberis
* Monarda
* Nepeta
* Prunella


* Sedum hispanicum
* Sedum rupestre ‘Angeline’

Sedum ‘Elizabeth’

* Silene ‘Druett’s Variegated’




Shade Perennials

Alchemilla mollis (Lady's Mantle)




Corydalis lutea


Galium oderatum (Sweet Woodruff)

* Gentiana sep. var. Lagodechiana

Geraniums (esp. g. Gantabrigiense and ‘Rozanne’)


Lysmachia ‘Aurea’ (Golden Moneywort)


Carex 'Ice Dance'

* Carex ‘Little Midge ’
Water/Bog Areas
* Hydrocotyle ‘Crystal Confetti’
* Juncus tenuis (Path Rush)
* Spilanthes Americana ‘Repens’
* Clematis Petriei

Hostas (esp. ‘Clausa,’ ‘Limey Lisa,’ & ‘Radio Waves’

* Abies alba ‘Holden Arboretum W.B.’ (Silver Fir Witch's Broom)

Juniperus 'Blue Star'

* Juniperus ‘Limeglow’

Juniperus 'Mother Lode'

* Picea pungens ‘procumbens’
* Rose ‘Fire Meidiland’
* Rose ‘Magic Meidiland’
* Rose ‘Nearly Wild’
* Rose ‘OSO Easy’
* Rose ‘Pink Gnome’
* Rose ‘Red Cascade’
* Rose ‘Sunrise Sunset’
Woodies & Shrubs

Cotoneaster ‘Tom Thumb’

* Leptodermis ‘Oblonga’
* Mahonia repens
* Salix Arctica ‘Petrae’ (Creeping Arctic Willow)
* Salix caprea ‘Weeping Sally’
* Spirea ‘Alpine’
* Spirea Decumbens
* Spirea ‘Golden Elf’
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Butterfly and Hummingbird Favorites

The following are great plants for attracting butterflies and bees. If you want to give something back to nature, these are the plants you need! Please refer to the plant lists for descriptions and cultural information.

  Sun Perennials
Agastache (Hyssop)

Asclepsia (Butterfly Milkweed)

Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)







Echinacea (Coneflowers)


Iberis (Candytuft)

Lavendula (Lavender)



Pervoskia (Russian Sage)


Salvia (including annuals!)



Thymus (Thyme)



  Shade Perennials

Aruncus (Goatsbeard)



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Hummers just LOVE the following plants—plant some annuals in bright colors (Petunias, Salvia, Cardinal Flowers, Nicotiana, Impatiens, Nasturtium) for additional attractors.


Asclepsia (Butterfly Weed)








Monarda (Bee Balm)



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Contrary Mary’s Plants and Designs
2735 Route 52
Minooka, IL 60447

(815) 521-9535