Thursday, February 7, 2008

Color in the garden

“Color in the Garden” is the topic of conversation at the Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop at GardeningGoneWild.com. I think February is a good time for this. Maybe it will bring some temporary relief to us bloom-starved gardeners.

Color is probably the main reason most of us like flowers and gardens in the first place. Some gardeners take color seriously and use it carefully to create harmonious palettes in their gardens while others don’t think about that and just throw everything together. I don’t think it matters either way because your garden should, first and foremost, be pleasing to yourself. Some may not care what others think (and they may be the most contented gardeners) while others may fret about what their neighbors might be thinking. I suppose I fall somewhere in the middle here. My garden has a somewhat wild look, especially in the dog days of summer but I’m not too concerned about what my neighbors think. On the other hand, I would be a nervous wreck if I knew Penelope Hobhouse was anywhere in the vicinity.

I think gardeners evolve over time. Our tastes change along the way and we are always striving to achieve that perfect garden and paradise. It is a never-ending quest. Gardens are never finished, right? Some of us become more restrained in our approach to gardening while others become more creative and wild. Which brings me back to color. I find myself becoming more and more aware of how I put colors together in the garden. In the beginning, I gave it no thought but after looking at thousands of magazines and books and studying gardening more seriously, influences start to sink in. Michael likes to tease me, saying that I’m becoming a “garden snob.” He knows I hate that!

I have had mixed results with my attempts at color coordination. I think I’m an artistic person and I understand the color wheel and the concepts of color relationships. But I’m the type of gardener who buys on impulse, comes home with a new plant, and then I walk around looking for a place to put it. After I’ve found the perfect spot and finish planting, I then realize that I’ve placed that orange lily in my blue and pink border! I am getting better though and maybe one day my garden will be perfectly color coordinated. Yeah, right!

I looked through some photos last night and found a few that I’ll share (click on them to get a larger image) -

One of my favorite combinations is blue and pink. I decided that this large border would be a blue and pink border. It is getting there but it is not easy!
This photo was taken before the blue salvia started blooming so basically you only see a lot of pink in this photo.



The following photo was taken in my front garden which borders the street. You can see I'm fond of purple and blue. There are also reds mixed in here. You can see the rose "Skyrocket" in the lower part of the photo and next to the buddleia is a huge "Scarlet Meidiland" rose (not blooming.)



This combination was a happy accident. In fact, the purple plant on the right, Perilla frutescens 'Crispa' was a volunteer.



I really like the fall colors. Another happy accident, this Mexican Sage is growing in front of a "Sango Kaku" Japanese maple.



More colorful fall scenes









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12 comments:

Pam/Digging said...

I LOVE orange and purple together, so your fall garden pictures really wowed me. As always, I admire your purple wall.

I also really like that middle photo of your streetside garden. What is the dark pink rose growing on the trellis?

Nan Ondra said...

A garden snob, Phillip? Oh, surely not. "Discerning" sounds much better. Thanks for taking the time to find these photos to share. I think your color choices are fantastic! (By the way, I believe the purple plant might be perilla?)

Frances said...

Well done with the color. Man that wall is a brilliant setting, with the bench and all. I too love the fall scenes, you have some gorgeous trees there. I'm still a free for all gal with the color, especially after reading some Christopher Lloyd. It may be that my 'older' eyes don't focus as well as they once did and these eyes love to see all the colors mixed together. That sure does look like our friend the purple perilla. It is a flagrant self sower here.

Frances at Faire Garden

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

It's kind of hard to make a color "mistake" in Autumn, as all those colors seem to go together. You've got some great color going on - especially that great wall! I'm quite partial to the pink - burgundy combo.

Jan said...

Your pink and blue garden is so lovely. The front garden is too. Those pictures just make me wish that I lived across the street from you so that I could enjoy them in person. You have done a great job!

Jan Always Growing

Rurality said...

Great pics! I especially love the purple/orange too. And you'll never be a garden snob!

Dirty Fingernails said...

i also love purple and orange together. I also love purple and red. Blue and orange as well. I started out subtle and 15 years later I love the bold obnoxious groupings. Great thought provoking post!

Carolyn gail said...

Yes, Phillip , I can see you are artistic, but Mother Nature is the most fantastic artist of all times as you've no doubt observed. She doesn't coordinate colors yet they look SO natural.

I, too, tend to buy what I like and what I like tends towards yellows, blues and purples.

Even though I'm an artist and use a lot of color in my paintings I tend to achieve harmony with texture, form and leaf color in my garden. Perhaps because it is a small urban garden where I'm not able to grow a wonderful, wild meadow.

Blue and pink is a nice, soft color combo. You've put your own personality in your garden and that's the main thing, I think.

KC MO Garden Guy said...

What wonderful pictures of your garden. I am trying to get there also but for me it is a slow process. I try and tie the colors together with my annuals. Sometimes successful and others not. Thanks for sharing!!

Annie in Austin said...

I don't know about Penelope Hobhouse, but you wouldn't have to worry if a bunch of gardenbloggers showed up - you can tell we all love your garden!

It looks like you have Buddleja lindleyanni with the roses? Those long drooping panicles are wonderful. Mine is still small so it's fun to imagine it in future after seeing your impressive plant.

Thanks, Phillip!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Jon said...

Phillip, I loved the pics on this post. The one with the purple plant caught my eye. You wrote that you couldn't remember the name. Our cook, Mamie, years ago had this in her yard and called it "Jesus Blood" and it spread everywhere and I loved it. I think it is really a type of purple perilla. Let me buy some seeds from you! Jon in Vicksburg

Barbee' said...

A gardener after my own heart! A most enjoyable post! Beautiful photos, by the way, of a lovely (!) garden. Keep up the good work and thank you for sharing with the rest of us.

B........
http://gardenat.blogspot.com/