Cosmos and lathyrus: a serendipitous combinaton

Every gardener knows that some of the best plant combinations are completely unplanned. So it was with these pink and white cosmos and the pink, perennial Lathyrus latifolius. Last year I planted scented sweet peas up cane obelisks surrounded with cosmos and it worked well but not quite as beautifully as this combination. I planted two pots, either side of a garden door and arch, with plectranthus and cosmos. The arch is planted with a white clematis and, for years, the perennial, scentless, pink Lathyrus latifolius scrambled up and swamped the clematis. But for some reason, this year it did not come up in spring. Maybe the mild wet winter did not suit it but in May there was no sign of it. A few seedlings popped up in the gravel, as I expected, but the main plant looked as though it was dead. Until June. Suddenly it started to grow and was soon as big as ever.

cosmos lathy2

I have had to restrict its size a bit but I let it ramble over the planted pots and the colour of the lathyrus is just perfect for the cosmos.

cosmos lathy

It is a marriage made in heaven and I will definitely repeat it next year.

cosmos lathy4

The word ‘serendipity’ was coined by Horace Walpole in a letter he wrote in 1754. He apparently created it from the title of a Persian story of The Three Princes of Serendip. Serendip was an old name for Sri Lanka and the three princes were always making unintended discoveries just by chance.


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5 Comments on “Cosmos and lathyrus: a serendipitous combinaton”

  1. sueturner31
    September 16, 2014 at 8:57 am #

    That’s a wonderful combination…one I would like to borrow next year ..with your permission … šŸ™‚

    • thebikinggardener
      September 16, 2014 at 9:56 am #

      šŸ™‚ I don’t think I can claim copyright, especially as it wasn’t my idea!

  2. thelonggardenpath
    September 16, 2014 at 9:56 am #

    We “inherited” a Lathyrus, when we moved here, and it reappears every year, from a crack by the wall, without fail. It scrambles everywhere and I’m never quite sure how to deal with it, as it’s a paved area. It does venture as far as the border and finds an obelisk, so I give it a free reign there. This year, I included it in a vase, because the colour was perfect, and it did really well. So now it’s redeemed itself! Thanks for the tale about the Serendipity Brothers – really interesting!

  3. digwithdorris
    September 16, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

    Yes I like that combination, Lots!

    • thebikinggardener
      September 16, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

      Thank you. I think it was the random way it happened that made it look so nice too. Sometimes when I combine plants you can see I have tried too hard šŸ™‚

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