Plant Spotlight: 'My Monet' Weigela

When designing landscapes for urban, residential properties, one of the first questions that arises (at least in the mind of the designer) is, "How do I create depth?" And it's often a difficult question to answer because no matter the stature of the home, the remaining space on the canvas (the lawn and landscape) is usually limited laterally by driveways and neighboring homes. Creating depth, then, without the benefit of being able to utilize breadth presents a challenge to the residential designer.

The key to depth in a landscape design is layering plants of varying heights.

When the desire is to achieve something beyond the all-too-common foundation planting - a strip of green cubes, or a strip of green cubes occasionally punctuated with maroon spheres running parallel to the home - a layered planting is going to be part of the solution. Layering plants – usually by utilizing different species in the planting with taller plants nearer the home and smaller plants further from it – adds significant depth to the garden though the bed itself may only extend six or so feet from the home.

The next issue, then, is to determine which plant or plants to use as the specimen, and which smaller plants will layer well with it. The former is fairly simple as there are several suitable specimen plants in trade that won’t mature so large that they interfere with the aesthetics of the home (we used a tree-form hydrangea in the picture above), but the latter – finding a plant that will layer well with the chosen specimen can often be more difficult.

Enter the ‘My Monet’ weigela.

The Monet is not only a well-sized filler plant (it matures at about 2’ x 2’), it also has variegated leaves which take on shades of red as fall approaches. Added to this, it has the pink, trumpet-shaped flowers that are common to weigela in the spring (a wildlife favorite) and usually requires little to no maintenance at all. The Monet can handle full-day sun or can be placed in a spot that receives a few hours of shade per day – a true winner, all the way around.

As you’re considering how you may like to improve your landscape this year, there are two take-aways from this post that I’d like to highlight again: 1) consider layering different species of plants to achieve greater depth in limited spaces. Layering will not only add new colors, textures, and interest to the design, it will also bring about a completeness that a straight run of green spheres and maroon cubes will never achieve. 2) Find a spot for a Monet weigela or five. They serve a great purpose in the garden with their foliage, flowers, structure, and colors and are a truly unique plant to enjoy throughout the season.

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