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COLOR COMBINATIONS

Anne K Moore April 16, 2010
Photographs by Anne K. Moore

Finding color combinations for your garden is as easy as pushing a buggy through a garden center. Pick up the colors that you love, anything that catches your eye and makes you want to take it home. Then look at the tags to see how tall the plants will get. Arrange them in your cart, tallest in the back, fillers in the middle, and viney spillers out front. Alternatively, just pile them in a pot. Rearrange to suit your color scheme and then either plant them or sink the pots into the larger pot.

You can use a monochromatic scheme. If you are still in your purple faze, as I am, you could do a pot of purples. They look best with just a touch of white. In fact, white perks up any one-color combination and brings those colors forward. With a monochromatic scheme, remember to use texture so that it is not boring. Certainly one color plant in a good-looking pot will do, but in a mixture use single flowers, double flowers, and different foliage shapes to create interest. Proven winners cascading white Snow Princess, here with African daisies, goes with anything.

In this combination notice how the purple, pumpkin, and yellow of the violas perk up the purple and yellow tones in the basically rust-colored coleus. The straw colored sedge makes a good neutral background for the stronger colors out front.

Don't forget what a container’s color can do for your plant. Here the beautiful blue shade of the pot perfectly highlights the variegation of the tri-colored jasmine.

This is one of my favorite color combinations: A purple and chartreuse sun coleus giving a little shade to a vibrant pink impatience. This makes you happy just looking at it.

If you want something seen from the street, you might like these whiz-bang colors planted together, bright pink feather celosia next to yellow black-eyed Susans. They definitely show up and can be a traffic stopper.

Yellow is a good color to use when you want to have something vibrant step forward or you want to see it in the distance. This pot has a multicolored Croton, a scented geranium with chartreuse green and burgundy leaves, yellow Lantana, and happy faced little yellow and deep pink torenias.

This was a cheerful color accident. The lavender cat's whisker positioned itself in front of the black elephant ear to make this lovely photogenic picture. Sometimes nature doesn't need our help at all.

This combination is another natural. I love the yellow canna. I ordered it and then tried to find a spot for it in the flower border. Luckily, I moved the blue Salvia and slipped the canna in between. Another happy accident.

Go with the colors you love. Maybe if we were seeking perfection a color wheel would be important. To enjoy our gardens, we don't need to worry so much about what goes with what or even what goes where. Pots can be moved and plants can be dug. Don't worry about whether or not colors appear as opposites or side-by-side on the color wheel. It wasn't too long ago that purple and red were considered bad taste. Mother Nature puts them together in the garden all the time. So should we. We can take a cue from her. If you love it together, plant it.

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