Tag Archives: color in the garden

Color your Garden-Every Month of the Year

I don’t know about your plans for the summer, but I’ll be sticking close to home. What with the price of gas and groceries, I’m planning a couple of camping trips in our great state. I guess you could say I’m going to be enjoying a "staycation".

With my attention directed more to the home front, I want to focus especially on making sure I have color in my garden every month of the year. I love my so I want to fine tune my containers and plantings so they attract as many of these small wonders as I can.

While making an entry in my journal recently, noting the progress of my pet trees, shrubs and perennials, I was struck by the realization that I don’t have enough color in my garden in the month of May. You’d think "April showers bring May flowers" would have done the trick but our cool weather has slowed things down a bit. I love my white calla lilies, Doublefile viburnum and bleeding hearts but all that white is a little too quiet for my tastes. I was sorry to see my vivid late red tulips finally drop their petals in the rain. Their absence leaves a void I plan to fill right away. I want a few hot samba colors to punch up my landscape.

I like many color combinations.  I could go with pale orange with white. They look great together. If I choose a variegated salmon Abutilon ( Flowering maple ) as a focal pint, I might pair it with orange calibrachoa, a rust colored coleus, bonfire begonia, Gartenmeister fuchsia and a Catlin’s Giant ajuga to tie it together. They’ll bloom all summer and the fuchsia attracts hummingbirds, too.  If you garden in the sun, you could use an orange geranium, Terra Cotta yarrow, orange coneflower, agastache or a wallflower with Evening Glow coprosma instead of the begonia and fuchsia.

Burgundy and gold are energetic opposites that never fail to catch the eye. When two colors are complimentary it means they bring out the best in each other. Their hues bring a sense of majesty to any garden. Plants that can be considered gold lie in a narrow band of color, ranging from pure yellow to chartreuse. It brightens shady spots and creates a great background for the burgundy. Did you know that the color yellow sit right in the middle of the light spectrum visible to the human eye. It reflects more light that any of the other colors? That must be why I have so much of this shade in my shady garden. It really livens up the place.

Here are some successful vignettes demonstrating eye-catching possibilities for any garden.
The smokebush is looking especially vibrant this year in the cool weather. It would pair well with a spirea Goldmound or Limemound. Add a phormium Jester, Roseglow Japanese barberry and a Sapphire blue oat grass to cool things down and you’ve got a winning combination.

Or how about a Bloodgood Japanese maple surrounded by All Gold Japanese forest grass, Festival grass cordyline or a Yellow wave New Zealand flax? Bearded iris come in every color of the rainbow and a purple and gold one would fit it perfectly. You could also add a Diamond Heights ceanothus and a pale yellow or red mumulus for the hummingbirds.

Whatever colors you choose kick it up a notch and make sure you have blooms and hummingbirds all year in your garden.


Color in the Garden

Now that the weather is cooperating it’s a pleasure to spend time out on the deck and in the garden. Even the evenings are warm enough to enjoy outside. If you find yourself looking about and thinking the garden of your dreams needs a little something more, consider adding color from flowers, foliage, bark and landscaping materials.

Don’t be afraid to play with color even if you don’t get it right the first time. Just learn from your mistakes and make adjustments. Whether it’s a pastel Monet garden or a hot Samba garden you want to create, here’s how your own garden can draw oohs and aahs in every season.

Warm colors , dynamic and noticeable from afar than cool hues which are more calming and understated. Warm colors advance visually, cool ones recede. So to make a small garden appear larger use cool blues and lavenders in the back with just a touch of scarlet, orange or yellow up close for contrast. Do the opposite to make a large space more intimate – position warm colors at the back, cool colors in front.

Garden colors aren’t static either. They vary with time of day, the season, the weather and the distance from which we view them. Also color perception varies among people and not all people with normal vision see color the same way. Since color and light are inseparable, white, yellow and pastels seem more vivid in low light. In overcast or fog, soft colors like pink, creamy yellow, pale blue and lavender come alive. As night approaches and the earth is bathed in blues and violets, those colors are the first to fade from view.

Have fun with color. don’t be afraid to try new combinations. . I often hear people say "I like all the colors except orange". Orange naturally combines with blue as these ‘sunset’ colors are opposite each other on the color wheel. Think how nice bright orange California poppies look with blue marguerites or peach poppies with blue violas. You might not think of linking orange with pink but it’s a pleasing combination. It works because pink is analogous with purple. Try combining orange calibrachoa in a planter with pink arctotis and lavender Silver Sky bacopa to harmonize with the pink and contrast with the orange.

Foliage is a rich source or garden color. You can find plants with yellow, red, purple, blue or gray foliage as well as shades of green with variegated, marbled or streaked leaves. Rose Glow barberry has rich marbled bronzy red and pinkish hew foliage and looks sensational next to coral Grosser Sorten pelargoniums.

And don’t forget white, cream and silver flowers and foliage to brighten up the night garden. White combines nicely with both warm and cool colors so it’s easy to place. It’s an effective peacemaker between colors that would clash if placed side by side. In shady gardens, plants like white bleeding heart, wavy cream-edged hosta, white browallia, white hydrangea, lamium and white calla lily pop at night. Gardens in more sun can plant Holly’s White penstemon, silvery bush morning glory, dichondra Silver Falls, fragrant Iceberg roses and white sweet alyssum and Whirling Butterflies gaura for the butterflies.

Plants grow and gardens change over time. Realize that you’re embarking on a journey that may take many years. Have fun getting there.

Orange and Peach color in the Garden

Enjoying a spectacular sunset on a warm evening in the summertime is one of life’s simple pleasures. Peach and orange tones bounce off the bottom of gauzy cirrus clouds as they streak across the sky. Combine these warm colors with varying shades of blue sky and you have he perfect color combo –opposites on the color wheel. We can’t help but ooh and aah,  we have an emotional response to this particular pairing of colors.

If you don’t have a vignette or section of your garden with peach, orange and blue yet, now’s the time to create one. All the tints and tones of orange warm and cheer up our gardens, no matter what the weather. And orange flowers set off every color of foliage, from blue-gray to lime to copper.

Canna ‘Pretoria’

Here’s a short list of my favorite peach and orange flowers and foliage:
•    Orange hummingbird mint ( agastache aurantiaca ) a drought tolerant, summer-blooming favorite of hummingbirds.
•    Crocosmia – an old garden favorite with long blooming flower spikes that make good cut flowers.
•    Kangaroo paw Tequila Sunrise ( anigozanthus ) – another long blooming hummingbird favorite
•    Canna Pretoria – beautiful variegated gold foliage and orange flowers make this perennial a classic
•    Yarrow Terra Cotta ( achillea millefolium ) – drought tolerant, carefree, generously blooming perennial attractive to both butterflies and their larvae
•    Flowering Maple Tangerine( abutilon )- favorite year-round bloomer of both hummingbirds and yours truly.
•    Fuschia gartenmeister – the orange fuchsia that needs no cleaning. May still be blooming at Christmas time for your hummers.
•    Orange New Zealand sedge ( carex testacea ) – widely arching clumps of beautiful rusty grass

Other inspiring orange flowers your sure to want in your garden are calibrachoa Sunrise or Terra Cotta, gazania, lantana, dahlia, coprosma Evening Glow, orange tuberous begonias and orange daylilies

Combine with blue flowers, stir well and stand back to enjoy your own garden sunset.