Just a simple combination this week, but one of such heart-stopping beauty and originality that it is well worth focusing on. Cyclamen coum is a wonderful choice for the often inhospitable ground beneath trees: a native of the Mediterranean and Balearics, it can cope with shallow dry soil as long as it gets a good baking in summer, so the dappled canopy of a young birch, for instance, would be ideal. Partnering it with the scaly articulated tails of Euphorbia myrsinites is a real stroke of genius, however. A favourite of Beth Chatto, who in her brilliant book Beth Chatto’s Gravel Garden, describes it as “sprawling like a huddle of blue-scaled snakes, one writhing stem showing the first terminal rosette of pea-green flowers”, it enjoys similar conditions and is surprisingly hardy, down to 5F to -4F (-1520C), although it will fare best in a sheltered sunny spot with well-drained soil. The contrast with the tiny pink cyclamen flowers and their dark marbled leaves is perfect in terms of colour, shape and texture – each plant’s particular properties further enhanced by a fine rime of frost in the early morning sun.