Last week I visited the Gardens at Ball in West Chicago, IL, and spent the day photographing hundreds of gorgeous annual flowers, perennials, and shrubs. The gardens are open to the public, and definitely worth a visit to get ideas on how to combine plants for beautiful displays and to see side-by-side comparisons of flower varieties.
Cocktail Mix begonia in a background of Alternanthera spells out the Ball logo in this vertical garden display.
Although the gardens are large, they're arranged into "rooms" that mimic the scale of home landscapes. See below for a close up of this combo.
Zahara Double Fire zinnia, Henna coleus, Mahogany Splendor hibiscus, and Silky Scarlet Asclepias combine beautifully in this hot border.
This pillar of Wave Purple Improved petunia and Wave Misty Lilac petunia brightens the patio outside the employee cafeteria.
Here's a close up showing how the petunia tower was constructed. Basically, it's a ring of galvanized fencing lined with landscape fabric, then filled with potting soil. The petunias were planted through slits in the landscape fabric. This looks like a pretty easy do-it-yourself project!
Here's an idea for taming a slope. Large culverts were filled with soil and planted with Madeira colocasia, Marguerite and Sweet Caroline Light Green sweet potato vine, Silky Gold asclepias, and Snow Princess lobularia.