Take the time for a garden walk about. Spoil your senses: take a deep breath of alyssum, sample a leaf of mint, sprig of parsley or a sweet berry, be soothed by the breeze rustling the grasses, and delight in the blooms and foliage in lush display. During my indulgent walk about, I take note of pleasing plant combinations, or ‘colour bundles’ as I sometimes call them. A simple red begonia sets off rust and green coleus. Blanket flower and rose campion are a 'hot' mix. Creamy white hydrangea is the perfect backdrop to mauve spikes of flowering hosta. Brunnera, bugle weed and bleeding heart encircle smooth pink granite. Plumes of astilbe complement the purple-green bronze of chocolate boneset. Coral bells in palace purple, silky elephant ears, Japanese grass and weigela mix colour and texture to lovely effect. The artful painted fern draws together two coral bells. Two geraniums mingle their happy faces. Yellow loosestrife and bee balm surround a bright birdhouse. There is much thought and work in creating these pockets of beauty, we have to be sure to take the time to relish their show!
Royal purple and golden yellow, ruby red and indigo, white on white with fresh green…so many delicious possibilities! Colour combos are one aspect of designing a garden and can create big impact. If you like playing with paint chips or fabric swatches, then you will love playing with plant combos. You can plan for excitement like the acid green and hot pink below, or the colour wheel appropriateness of yellow and mauve. I often mix different bloom colours of the same perennial, as with the white and tangerine cone flowers pictured above. Colour builds the mood and tone of the garden - hot colours like vivid red, orange and yellow add spice and energy to the garden, while cool colours like soft pink and mauve add calm. Favourite colours always play a role too! How does your garden grow – riotous colour, serenity in green, or a balance of both? Colour combos can strike awe in the garden and it is worth experimenting.