Tag: color

Seize the Daylily!

If your grandmother had a garden, chances are good she grew daylilies. This easygoing perennial has been a favorite for generations, but the newer kids on the block are definitely not for the old guard.

I always recommend daylilies for a garden because they’re low-maintenance, showy in the garden and the late-blooming varieties will offer bold, trumpet blossoms until fall. If you choose several different varieties that bloom early, mid and late in the season, you can extend their bloom time throughout the entire season.

The scientific name for daylily is Hemerocallis, which translates from Greek to “beauty” and “day.” The blooms only last one day, but don’t worry! Daylilies grow in clumps with many blooms on each stalk. Much like fireworks, they’ll give you one exploding bloom after another for many weeks. Bloom! Bloom! Pow!

Daylilies are perfect for slopes, beds, near foundations or even in containers. They need at least six hours of direct sun per day to thrive, but they will bloom even better in a full day of sunshine. When planting a daylily, set the plant in the ground or in a container at the same depth it was growing in the pot you bought it in. You want to avoid planting it too deeply. Space plants 10 to 12 inches apart in the ground or grow just one as a “thriller” in your combination container. For best results, add some compost, especially if you have heavy clay or sandy soil. Water your newly planted daylilies consistently during the first growing season as they establish themselves

You’ll find one of the best things about growing daylilies is they multiply! Divide and share with friends or plant elsewhere in your garden. Spring or late summer is the best time to divide and share daylilies. To do this, carefully lift the clump out of the ground with a shovel and divide it with a sharp knife, removing any sickly looking foliage. Cut the foliage down to about half its height and then transplant the divided pieces back into the garden immediately.

Because of their association with grandmothers, daylilies have a vintage feel, but I prefer to call them “timeless.” Though they’ve been around for generations, newer varieties have improved upon the older ones, making them stronger, brighter and more generous with their blooms. The following varieties are colorful, floriferous and vigorous; everything you expect from a daylily, but more of it. They are certainly Proven Winners in my garden, and I recommend them for yours.

'Primal-Scream'-PWRAINBOW RHYTHM® ‘Primal Scream’ Hemerocallis

  • Very large 7 ½ – 8 ½” flowers
  • Glimmering tangerine orange, gold dusted flowers with twisted, ruffled petals
  • Blooms in early midsummer on 34” tall scapes loaded with buds
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Mid-season bloomer



'Going-Bananas'-PWRAINBOW RHYTHM® ‘Going Bananas’ Hemerocallis

  • Lightly fragrant, lemon yellow, 4” blooms
  • Reblooming variety that begins flowering early and continues into fall
  • Heat tolerant
  • Relatively short; 19 to 22 inches tall
  • Early season blooming



'Ruby-Spider'-PWRAINBOW RHYTHM® ‘Ruby Spider’ Hemerocallis

  • Gigantic 9” flowers
  • Blooms are ruby red with a radiating yellow throat
  • Tall scapes reach up to 34”
  • Mid-season bloomer

Using Purple in the Garden + My Top Ten Purple Flowers

There is a reason why purple is the color of royals. It’s a powerful hue. From sparkling lavender to sultry eggplant this color is pure luxury.

In the garden you can use the various shades of purple to add dimension to a flower border or container combination. Pale purples reflect light and will jump forward while darks absorb light and recede. If you have a flat composition adding lilac or perhaps a deep violet will create a feeling of undulation.

In addition to occupying both ends of the light spectrum purple can be either warm or cool. Add more red to get wine, burgundy and plum. Blooms such as Supertina® Bordeaux and tulip ‘Queen of the Night’ will heat up a color combination. Amethyst, indigo, and mulberry result when blue predominates. Clematis ‘Marie Louise Jensen’ and ‘New Wonder’ Scaevola are good examples of cool purple.

A little purple goes a long way, especially when it comes to the medium to deep hues. An excess of any dark color will make a garden somber. A good rule of thumb is to limit saturated colors to 20% of a border.

Top Ten Purple Flowers from Proven Winners®

  • 1. Supertunia® Royal Velvet Petunia

    P. Allen Smith Platinum Pick
    Annual except in zones 9 – 10, full sun, great fall flower

  • 2. Supertunia® Bordeaux Petunia

    P. Allen Smith Platinum Pick
    Annual except in zones 9 – 10, full sun, prolific bloomer

  • 3. Superbena® Royal Chambray Verbena

    P. Allen Smith Platinum Pick
    Annual except in zones 8 – 11, full sun, extra-large blooms

  • 4. Lucia™ Lavender Blush Lobelia

    P. Allen Smith Platinum Pick
    Annual except in zones 9 – 11, full sun to partial shade, heat tolerant

  • 5. Superbells® Plum Calibrachoa

    P. Allen Smith Platinum Pick
    Annual except in zones 9 – 10, full sun, great for containers

  • 6. Angelface® Blue Angelonia

    P. Allen Smith Platinum Pick
    Annual except in zones 9 – 10, full sun to partial shade, good cut flower

  • 7. Lo and Behold™ Blue Chip Buddleia

    P. Allen Smith Platinum Pick
    Perennial in zones 5 – 9, full sun, miniature butterfly bush

  • 8. Soprano® Purple Osteospermum

    Annual except in zones 9 – 10, full sun, heat tolerant

  • 9. Rockapulco™ Purple Impatiens

    P. Allen Smith Platinum Pick
    Annual except in zones 9 – 10, full to partial shade, rose-like blooms

  • 10. Bloomerang® Purple Lilac

    Shrub hardy to zone 5, full sun to partial shade, repeat blooms

Summer Bulbs with Salmon Blooms

Nothing gets me into the swing of summer better than planting my summer bulbs. Pantone’s 2012 Color of the Year inspired my summer garden color theme. I admit it … I have a crush on ‘Tangerine Tango’! A variety of summer bloomers such as cannas, dahlias, gladioli and lilies will flower for me from June well into October in my sunny borders. I planted my carroty-colored beauties in my terrace gardens and also around my water features. I’ll also get plenty of mileage from them inside as cut flowers. The large textured and striking colorful foliage of many of the cannas are an added layer of interest in the garden. The best news is that many of these summer bulbs are hummingbird and butterfly attractants and wildlife resistant. Mix and match any of the following for an energized orange pop in the summertime garden.

Summer Flowering Corms, Rhizomes and Tubers

Summer “bulbs” are a great way to include Tangerine Tango in your garden. You can enjoy the color all summer and easily replace the plants next spring with the current Pantone color.

Canna ‘Pretoria’

Canna Pretoria

Canna ‘Bronze Rosever’

Canna Bronze Rosever

Dahlia ‘Art Deco’

Dahlia Art Deco

Gladiola ‘Aphrodite’

Gladiola Aphrodite

Gladioula ‘Africa’

Gladiola Africa

Asiatic Lily ‘Orange Pixie’

Asiatic Lily Orange Pixie

Hybrid Lily ‘First Crown’

Hybrid Lily First Crown

Colors to Pair with Tangerine Tango

The Rule of Two Thirds

Tangerine Tango is a reddish orange that forms a triad on the color wheel with chartreuse and blue-green. A triad is three hues equidistant from each other on the color wheel. To employ the rule of two thirds pair Tangerine Tango with just one of these colors and add hints of purple, red or pink.

Using Tangerine Tango

Keep it Hot

Another striking combination is using all warm colors. Mix Tangerine Tango with pinks, reds and golden yellows.

Tangerine Tango with Warm Colors

Go Bold

If you really want to cause a stir pair Tangerine Tango with blue, its complementary color. Be sure to use a neutral to bridge the two hues such as gray or dark green.

Tangerine Tango with Blue

Paint Your Garden with Color

Color can be a challenging design principle in the garden because it is subjective. Everyone perceives color in their own unique way. But I’ve found that with a willing spirit to experiment and by following some simple techniques, you can create masterpieces in your flower borders and containers.

The following design ideas are excerpted from P. Allen Smith’s Colors for the Garden. For more information about these techniques and a color based plant compendium pick up a copy of Colors for the Garden.


Five Ways to Choose a Color Theme for your Garden

Start Outside: Consider Your Home’s Architecture and Color – Your home’s architectural style offers clues to color selections. Contemporary homes may suggest a bold primary color scheme while a softer, pastel palette better suits a Victorian house. The color of your house or nearby buildings should also be considered. Remember that colors are not viewed in isolation, but in association with the other colors around them.
Move Inside: Extend Interior Colors Outdoors – Inside and outside spaces blend effortlessly together when you use similar color themes. This visual compatibility is especially effective when interior rooms directly connect or have views to outside garden spaces.
Add in Regional Influences – Look around the area. Nearby natural features, such rock outcroppings, lakes, coastal areas, or native vegetation can help in your color choices. Regional climate and light conditions may also influence your color selections. In warmer regions of the country, people often use strong vibrant colors in their homes and gardens, while in more temperate climates, those same colors would look harsh and out of place.
Consult the Genius of your Garden: Your Unique Conditions – Plants thrive when placed in areas where their specific soil, light and moisture requirements are met. For instance shady dry areas of your property with clay soil supports a more limited range of plants, hence colors choices than gardens in full sun with moist loamy soil.
Build on Focal Points – Organizing color schemes around a plant’s finest feature, when it is at its showy best, is a good point of departure when considering color. A brilliant sugar maple, flowering crabapple, or golden forsythia bush can serve as a seasonal spot of color to build color theme. Sculpture, buildings, fountains, or even a bench can also be effective starting points to select colors around objects that are outstanding features in your garden.

Painting with Plants

Once you have your colors in mind, these tips will help you use your selections to their best advantage in the garden.

Understand the Emotions of Color – Color can set moods and create a certain atmosphere within a garden room. Cool colors such as blue and lavender soothe us, evoking restfulness and calm, while hot colors stir warmth and excitement – with reds and oranges simulating the urgency of fire and blood. Learn how to match the mood of the room with its intended use.
Create a Canvas – Use the green framework of shrubs and trees that serve as the borders or walls of your garden rooms as the canvas for your colorful plants. Colors stand out when "painted" upon a uniform backdrop. Other borders of your garden rooms such as fences, walls, and buildings can also serve in this way.
Apply One Color Theme Per Room – Just as you wouldn’t paint each wall in your living room a different color, garden rooms look best when they follow one color scheme. One of the most important keys to using color effectively is to limit the palette to the range of a single color family with perhaps a bit of its complement for contrast.
Pause Between Color Themes – To appreciate each ensemble of color, separate each grouping with greens or grays before experiencing the next combination of hues. Or, you may prefer to design the garden room so it will change color palettes seasonally – spring pastels give way to warmer colors in the summer.
Paint with a Wide Brush – Once you have established these parameters, be generous and make strong statements with large expanses of color. Create drifts of color for more visual impact. Gradations of color from the same family showing the full range, is an effective way to create harmony.
Add Accents of Color – A well appointed garden room charms us with delightful surprises and all the comforts of indoor rooms. Comfy cushioned chairs, bright tablecloths, snug cozy corners with cascading plants and soothing water features are irresistible invitations to come outside and sit a while. Coordinating these accessories with your plant’s color schemes ties the visual picture together. It’s a great opportunity to be daring and bodacious with color.


Monochromatic Gardens

Monochromatic color palettes are a growing trend in gardening and for good reasons.  Varying hues of one color family is visually compelling and it simplifies the design process.  You can’t go wrong because all the colors are guaranteed to work together. 

Design Tips

Container of gray plantsA monochromatic palette is one that uses flowers and foliage all in one color family.  That’s not to mean that other colors aren’t used as well.  After all it’s hard to avoid green in the garden.    Use greens, grays and variegated foliage as neutral colors.  They will act as a backdrop, give a place for the eye to rest and add dimension.

And speaking of dimension, when using one family of color it is more important than ever to vary the shapes, textures and sizes of plants to avoid a flat composition.

When deciding on a color, consider the amount of sunlight in the area. Pastel colors are great for shade while bright, saturated colors will hold their color in sun. 

As with any garden design make sure your chosen plants’ growing requirements – light, soil, moisture –  are suited to the environment. 

3 Monochromatic Container Designs

Containers are a fun way to use monochromatic designs because the possibilities are endless.  Here are three combinations from Proven Winners®.  To see more container recipes like these visit their website at www.ProvenWinners.com.

Artist® Ageratum
Proven Winners Container Garden
2 Artist® Blue Ageratum

1 Artist® Purple Ageratum

Lickety Split
Proven Winners Container Garden
3 Diamond Frost®

2 Supertunia® Citrus

Timeless Pink
Proven Winners Container Garden
4 Supertunia® Vista
Bubblegum Petunia


Below are a few plant suggestions to get you started on your monochromatic designs.  I’ve listed annuals, perennials and even a few shrubs.  This is only the tip of the iceberg.  Once you decide on the predominate color you’ll find that there are all kinds of flowers and foliage from which to choose.

Proven Winners Diamond Frost EuphorbiaDiamond Frost® Euphorbia – Annual, Sun to Partial Shade, 10 – 14 inches tall
Lacy foliage and flowers. Great for adding texture.
Proven Winners Diamond Frost EuphorbiaRockapulco™ White Impatiens – Annual, Shade to Partial Shade, 10 – 20 inches tall
Large, fully double blooms. Exceptional at brightening shade gardens.
Proven Winners Broadway LightsBroadway Lights™ Leucanthemum – Perennial Zones 5 – 11, Sun to Partial Shade
Flowers open creamy white and mature to bright white. Prolific bloomer.
Proven Winners Supertunia Vista Bubblegum PetuniaSupertunia® Vista Bubblegum Petunia – Annual, Sun, 24 inches tall
Floriferous petunia with outstanding mounding habit. Holds up well in rainy weather and blooms all summer.
Proven Winners Pinky Winky HydrangeaPinky Winky® Hydrangea – Shrub Zones 3 – 9, Sun to Partial Shade, 6 – 8 feet tall
A chameleon in the garden. Blooms change from white to pink over time.
Pink Muhly GrassPink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaries) – Annual, Sun to Partial Shade, 24 – 36 inches tall
Adds graceful movement to plant combinations. Vibrant pink "flowers" in late summer.
Proven Winners Sunshine Blue CaryopterisSunshine Blue® Caryopteris – Perennial Zones 5 – 10, Sun, 3 feet tall
A carefree, shrub-like perennial with lemon yellow foliage. True blue flowers appear in late summer and fall.
Proven Winners Lemon Symphony OsteoLemon Symphony Osteospermum – Annual, Sun to Partial Shade, 8 – 14 inches tall
Daisy-like flower heads on tall, mounding vigorous plants. Because it is frost tolerant it can be used as a season extender for spring and fall.
Goldenrod Fireworks‘Fireworks’ Goldenrod – Perennial Zones 4 – 8, Sun to Partial Shade, 30 – 36 inches tall
Prolific-flowering, disease-resistant cultivar. Flowers in late summer and early fall.
Proven Winners Colorblaze Sedona ColeusColorblaze™ Sedona Coleus – Annual, Sun to Partial Shade, 24 – 48 inches tall
The foliage is a mix of bronze, orange, purple, rose pink, and maroon, reminiscent of the mountain range this coleus is named after.  The color intensifies in cool weather.
Proven Winners Luscious Citrus Blend LantanaLuscious™ Citrus Blend Lantana – Annual, Sun, 24 – 36 inches tall
The hotter the weather gets, the more this plant blooms. The butterflies love the clusters of bright orange flowers.
FothergillaDwarf Fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii) – Shrub Zones 5 – 8, Sun to Partial Shade, 2 – 3 feet tall
Awesome orange-red autumn foliage. Produces white, fuzzy blooms in spring. Use in fall containers then transplant to the garden.
Proven Winners Superbells Red CalibrachoaSuperbells® Red Calibrachoa – Annual, Sun to Partial Shade, 6 – 10 inches tall
Prostrate petunia-like plant with smaller leaves and flowers. Performs best in containers.
Proven Winners Totally Tempted CupheaTotally Tempted™ Cuphea – Annual, Sun, 12 inches tall
Loosely upright plant form. Good for flower beds or containers. Does well in hot climates.
Lucifer Crocosmia‘Lucifer’ Crocosmia – Perennial Zones 6 – 9, Sun, 24 – 36 inches tall
Sword-like foliage and red flower spikes summer to early fall. Good for cut flowers. Will multiply once established.
Proven Winners New Wonder ScaevolaNew Wonder® Scaevola – Annual, Sun, 12 inch stems
Fan-shaped flowers appear all summer on trailing stems. Exceptionally drought tolerant.
Proven Winners Angelface Blue AngeloniaAngelface® Blue Angelonia – Annual, Sun to Partial Shade, 18 – 24 inches tall
Super saturated bloom color, sturdy stems and high heat tolerance. Flower spikes add upright element to plant combinations.
Verbena bonariensisVerbena-on-a-stick (Verbena bonariensis) – Annual, Sun, 3 – 6 feet tall
Tall, slender stems that end with numerous flower clusters that almost appear suspended in mid-air. Freely re-seeds for blooms the next year.
Salvia May Night‘May Night’ Salvia (Salvia superba) – Perennial Zones 4 – 9, Sun, 18 inches tall
Compact hybrid with numerous flower spikes in late spring/early summer. Performs best with good moisture and cool nights.
Proven Winners Lo and Behold Bluechip BuddleiaLo & Behold™ ‘Blue Chip’ Buddleia – Perennial Zones 5 – 9, Sun, 20 inches tall
A multipurpose, dwarf butterfly bush. Blooms continuously in summer.
Agapanthus‘Storm Cloud’ Agapanthus – Perennial Zones 7 – 10, Sun to Partial Shade, 12 – 24 inches tall
Tender perennial from bulb produces clumps of graceful, strap-like foliage and in summer globes of bell-shaped flowers. Good container plant.

Cool Summer Combinations

As summer heats up, color plays an important role in giving a garden a "temperature reading." Cool colors, such as greens, blues, lavenders, pastels and white, are soothing and make us feel calm. Reds, oranges and golden yellows, on the other hand, are more assertive and intense, evoking a lively, vibrant feeling. Here’s how to turn your garden into a place that’s not only beautiful to look at, but a relaxing retreat that you and your family can enjoy every day.

Tips for Creating a Cool Oasis

  • Try quiet shades of purple, lavender and blue.
  • White and soft pastel colors add a welcome crispness to shady areas.
  • Gray and variegated foliage plants help lower the temperature of hot colored flowers.
  • Add containers of cool colors to an established flowerbed.
  • Paint a pair of outdoor chairs a bright color.
  • Use a bubbling tabletop water feature to add a peaceful sound. (link to article)
  • Plant quick growing annual vines, such as morning glory and moonflower vine to cloak vertical areas in soft shade.

Cool Color Recipes

Cool color flower border includeing artemisia, daylilies, petunias and verbena bonariensis.

My recipe for blending cool colors in a flower border is simple. Start with an icy blue-gray foliage plant like artemisia ‘Powis Castle’. Add sparkle with a flower like the pale yellow daylily ‘Joan Senior’. Finally, add a dash of purple with tall Verbena bonariensis (Verbena-on-a-stick) and mix in a healthy helping of purple petunias. Sit back and enjoy the refreshing results.

Mealy cup sage planted with zinnias.

Some of my favorite cool colors to work with in the garden are in the range of purples, lavenders and blues. They are such amiable colors, blending well with salmon, pink, orange and yellow. Not only do they lend the feeling of space, like a blue sky, but they are restful. Here, blue mealy cup sage combines beautifully with pink zinnias.

Angelface Blue angelonia, ColorBlaze 'Sedona' coleus and burgundy Joseph's coat

Use dark flowers or foliage to add richness and depth to cool colors. The deeper background color adds a sense of drama and mystery to the plant combination as evidenced by this combination of Angelface® Blue angelonia, ColorBlaze® ‘Sedona’ coleus and burgundy Joseph’s coat.

Chicago Botanic Garden wall English Garden

Gray is a color that can lower the temperature of a garden, adding softness to any color scheme. It’s the great "harmonizer" between two different colors. See how the drift of artemisia surrounding the urn tones down the bright yellow rudbeckia.

Casa Blanca lilies, white roses, white hardy hibiscus and white butterfly bush

White is a color that works in any season, and an all-white or white and pastel garden can be especially refreshing. It’s particularly nice for families with busy schedules who retreat to their gardens at dusk or dawn. White and pastel colored flowers sparkle in the dim light, giving the garden a magical glow at these times of day. This flower border at the Biltmore features ‘Casa Blanca’ lilies, white roses, white hardy hibiscus and white butterfly bush.

Casa Blanca lilies, white roses, white hardy hibiscus and white butterfly bush

I also like to add accents of bright colors, such as yellows and oranges, to enliven and energize a flower border. The deep yellow flowers of crocosmia ‘Golden Fleece’ set off the purple blooms of mealy cup sage in the foreground. Below, orange zinnias add a warm wave of color. Use these hues sparingly, however, because these colors tends to "heat up" a garden.

Color Your World

I want color, color and more color!" That’s what I often hear from homeowners eager to fill their gardens with bright, beautiful flowers. So what’s the secret to creating nonstop color in your borders? It’s all in the mix. By combing several types of plants, you can create a lively, ever changing tapestry of flowers and foliage. Try them and see what a colorful difference they make in your garden this year.

Think Foliage First, Then Flowers
HostasWho hasn’t been swept away by all those beautiful blooming plants in garden centers? The instant you plant them, they say, "Color!" The problem is, many flowering plants put on a good one-time show, but then fade, leaving you with a bed of green leaves. One solution is to look for colorful foliage plants. All summer long the leaves will mix and mingle with your flowering plants, compounding the color in your borders.

Great Foliage Plants:
‘Black Magic’ Elephant Ears
‘Chocolate Chip’ Ajuga
Cuban Oregano
Purple Heart
‘Tropicanna’ Canna

Create Large Swaths of Color
ImpatiensThere are many annual bedding plants that are so loaded with blooms that when you plant them in bold, dramatic sweeps or large blocks, your borders will sing with color all summer. Rather than a spotty planting of 5 or 6 plants, punch up your color volume with 2 or 3 flats and pack them in for some real pizzazz.

Top Designer Annuals:
‘Laguna Sky Blue’ Lobelia
‘Supertunia Vista Bubblegum’ Petunia
‘Superbells Red’ Calibrachoa
‘Spirit Frost’ Cleome
‘Angelface Blue’ Angelonia

Add Colorful Trees, Shrubs and Perennials
Roses in a Mixed BorderBuild on the beauty of foliage and annual bedding plants by mixing in a variety of colorful trees, shrubs, roses and perennials. The advantage of this approach is you don’t have to begin each spring filling your entire bed with new plants. You can rely on these returning seasonal bloomers to enhance your garden’s palette.

Super Shrub Roses:
‘Caldwell Pink’
‘Carefree Wonder’
‘Old Blush’
‘The Fairy’
‘Russell’s Cottage’

Color in the Garden

As a self-taught artist, I have come to understand how to use color in art and in the garden largely through trial and error, by creating my own share of not so successful paintings as well as planting schemes. But often my failed experiments have been my best teachers.

Now you have the opportunity to learn from my mistakes. Here are 10 color tips that I use that help me to translate ideas that begin on paper into beautiful combinations in the garden.

No. 1 – There are no rules. My motto is if you love the way a color or color combination looks then use it. Discovering your color style is as easy as looking around your home or even in your closet. Start by deciding if you like warm or cool tones then begin looking around for combinations that you find appealing. One of my favorite flower borders was inspired by a piece of antique ticking that I found at a flea market. I selected agastache ‘Fortune’s Blue’, blue balloon flower and creamy white Shasta daisies to mimic the fabric’s blue and cream stripes.

No. 2 Use your home’s exterior to help guide your color selection. Remember that colors are never viewed in isolation. As you select a color scheme for your garden, take into account other outstanding features in the area. The color of your house, other structures and focal points such as showy plants, garden ornament and furniture can serve as effective starting points. When a room in your house opens directly into the garden use the opportunity to extend the same color theme outdoors.

No. 3 Create a canvas. Colors come alive when viewed against a backdrop. Be it your house, a fence, or a row of shrubs; find a surface on which to “paint” your flowers. This backdrop unifies the various blooms and foliage much like an interior wall color pulls together all the components in a room. I often choose evergreen hedges and shrubs as a backdrop because green, being the predominant color in the garden, is an excellent neutral.

No. 4Colors can be used to create moods or spatial illusions. Colors evoke emotions. A fiery red room feels completely different than one painted in pale blue. Use the emotions of color to match the mood you want to create. Cool colors such as blue and lavender soothe, helping us feel restful and calm, white hot colors such as reds and oranges stir warmth and excitement. Colors also create the illusion of space. Cool colors give a feeling of distance – think about a clear blue sky on an autumn day – while hot colors appear closer. You can make areas seem larger or smaller using the right colors.

No. 5 For the greatest impact use one color theme per garden room. Although anything goes when it comes to color, combining too many color themes in one space can be jarring. Consider using a range of hues in a single color family with just a touch of a contrasting color to create drama. White or monochromatic themed rooms are also striking. If you don’t have multiple garden rooms you can plant color blocks or a color quilt, as I like to call it. Just be sure to separate each composition with a neutral space so the eye can rest.

No. 6Use gray to buffer conflicting colors. As the consummate diplomat in the family of colors, gray mediates among the various personalities of the color wheel. The neutrality of gray makes it a perfect mixer that crosses all color boundaries and brings a level of calm to virtually any situation. Gray foliage plants such as artemisia, lamb’s ear and agave offer a resting place for the eye before moving on to a new color and softens brassy combinations such as pink, orange and red.

No. 7The intensity of light affects the appearance of color. Pale colors reflect light while darker hues absorb it. This concept is important when working in specific light conditions or when designing for a particular time of the day. For shade gardens I like to use variegated foliage and flowers that are white, sky blue, lavender or salmon, which sparkle in the dim light. For areas that will be bathed in sunlight I choose rich colors like gold and azure blue, which will not appear washed out in bright light. Evening gardens glow when planted in pastel blooms.

No. 8Use dark colors to add depth. Much like a painting, flower borders need a range of color values to add dimension. A mistake that I have made is filling a bed with color that is all the same value, for instance all pastel or all highly saturated hues. The result is flat, and very one dimensional. By adding dark tones such as the almost black blooms of tulip ‘Queen of the Night’ or a midnight blue salvia like ‘Black and Blue’, a spatial illusion is created and the composition becomes much more dynamic.

No. 9Be bold and generous with your use of color. Paint your garden home with a wide brush. Whether you choose to use just one color, a blend of complementary hues or a grab bag of all your favorites don’t be shy with the application. Broad sweeps are much more effective than dots and splashes here and there. If your budget is limited sow seeds of easy growing annuals such as cosmos, globe amaranth or cleome for abundant blooms at a bargain price.

No. 10Each season is an opportunity to refresh your color scheme. As one season transitions into another the colors that dominate the landscape shift as well. The browns and grays of winter give way to a pastel spring. Summer’s greens, blues and yellows become the super saturated colors of fall. Even regions where seasonal changes are subtle the passage is visible in the slant of sunlight or feel of the air. This helping hand from Mother Nature offers you the opportunity to revamp the colors in your garden. Plant shrubs, trees and perennials that shine in a specific season and then bolster their colors with companion plants. For instance, if there is an explosion of pink from a flowering crabapple in your garden, the surrounding beds can be accented with drifts of pink snapdragons or magenta tulips to complement the color.

Learn more by watching the video below!

Green Up Your Garden

Green is usually considered a neutral color in the garden, but with the selection of Emerald as the Pantone Color of the Year 2013 I thought it would be fun to look at a few statement-making green flowers.

9 Green Flowers

Chinese Snowball Viburnum (Viburnum macrocephalum)
Semi-evergreen shrub; zones 7 – 9; partial shade; hydrangea-like flower clusters open chartreuse and mature to creamy white.

‘Envy’ Zinnia (Zinnia elegans)
Annual; full sun; easy to grow from seeds; showy blooms from early summer through the first fall frost.

Nicotiana langsdorffii
Annual; full sun to partial shade; spreads from seed; a great flower for a cottage-style garden.

Lenten Rose (Hellebore)
Perennial; zones 5 – 8; partial shade; blooms in late winter and very early spring; a long lasting cut flower.

Little Lime™ Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata)
Deciduous shrub; zones 3 – 9; lime green blooms that mature to pink; reaches only 3 – 5 feet tall so it’s perfect for small spaces and containers.

‘Spring Green’ Tulip (Tulipa)
Bulb; full sun; makes a statement in a monochromatic container design with parsley and pale yellow violas.

‘Acadian Miss’ Louisiana Iris (I. brevicaulis)
Perennial; full sun; zones 6 – 10; a beautiful choice for soggy areas of the garden or water features.

Pineapple Lily (Eucomis autumnalis)
Tender perennial; zones 8 – 11; full sun to partial shade; the pineapple shaped blooms are a conversation starter; great cut flower.

‘Helena’s Blush’ Euphorbia (Amygdaloides hybrid)
Perennial; zones 6 – 9; full sun to partial shade; after the chartreuse spring flowers fade the variegate foliage adds interest to the garden.

Green Up Your Garden