I admit, Mother Nature is often a better garden designer than I am. The whole point of gardening is to improve on the natural beauty that Ma provides... but sometimes she finds a way to improve on a gardener's improvements.
Latest case in point: A few more of the huge 'Hopi Red Dye' amaranth toppled over in windy storms this week. They look so good spilling into the iris, though, that I haven't had the heart to cut them back yet.
Their red flowers and dark foliage are doing a nice job of tying together the red-tipped Japanese bloodgrass, the purple 'May Night' salvia blooms, and even the 'Blackie' and 'Tricolor' sweet potato vines.
You can see how they add movement to the vignette by directing your eye from plant to plant, too. The upright bloodgrass, salvia and iris lead your eye upward, the cascading amaranth sends it back downward, and the sweet potato vines--along with the lines of the retaining wall block--bring you back to the bloodgrass to start the circle all over again.
When they were upright, as you see in the second picture, they were more of a foil than anything else. They set off the iris foliage and the intermingled yellow flowers of the bronze fennel nicely, but they didn't direct movement back around and through the garden.
I liked them as a spiky accent, but their newest incarnation has brought to my attention the need for more directed movement in my garden. More plant combinations that lead the eye around a vignette and then to the next area I want to highlight.
Thanks, Ma, for this week's lesson... even if you had to break a few amaranth to get me to pay attention. (Ask my real-life Mom and she'll tell you that I seem to learn best "the hard way!")