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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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