Here's my new idea. It's about the penstemons.
Both stands of beardtongues are not working. Here is Elfin Pink and I can't wrap my head around the color. It's a hard color to use anywhere, although Jim likes its brightness and at times I like how it picks up the pink tones of the rosa glauca in lower light.
But it is really awful with the dark ninebark, the moody color of the rose, and the purple Norway maple at the end of the garden. In full sun it's all tones of rust and maroon.
So out it comes. I can't think of another area where this color pink will work. Like the too-bright cherry red knockout roses, I just don't like the color, so they will be removed.
The Husker's Red is a penstemon that I really like, but it is getting crowded at the edge of the Birch Garden, and the pinky white small flowers don't work with the small white flowers of the itea or the baptisia alba either.
It's too much small stuff in too similar a blooming color. The area under the Japanese maple and beneath the baptisia calls for something with more contrast, a little lower profile, and a different shape than upright and spiky. The dark toned mounding foliage is great for that, but the flowering is a problem.
So my idea is to remove all the Elfin Pink and replace them by moving the Husker's Red to their spot. I think I will like the cooler colors near the rosa glauca, it's a prettier plant in all aspects and can show off where it is not so crowded.
The dark foliage and maroon stems will pick up the ninebark and rose and Norway maple tones, but it is more subtle. Complementary I think. The pinky white flowers offer nice contrast.
I also want to move one of the fothergillas from the gravel garden to an empty spot in the middle of the Drive By garden, and that will offer some nice foliage contrast behind the penstemons.
Now. . . . what to put in under the Orange Dream Japanese maple in the Birch Garden? Lower, more foliage or bloom contrast, darker perhaps. Hmmm. Peonies? A couple nice tidy ones with pretty blooms in spring?