Tag Archives | color in the garden

The Dark Side, Part 1

I’ve got a thing for dark foliage. I love its smoky, sultry color, the way it can deepen a planting and lend it an air of mystery at the same time. It’s also a great foliage contrast with almost any other color and since I’m one of those who believes in building gardens from the leaves out, it’s an essential building block in almost any planting scheme I concoct.  It’s a great companion for anything chartreuse, a pairing I use in profusion.  And last but not least, those moody hues are a superlative background for any bright, hot color–yellow, orange or red. Continue Reading →

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Brown’s Not So Bad

Windowbox in brown Feb 3 08

Text and photographs ©Nancy J. Ondra 2008

Wreath with robin’s nest April 05The point of this month’s Garden Blogger’s Design Workshop is to indulge in some sumptuous color at a time when many of us don’t have much to celebrate in our outdoor gardens. But when you consider that browns are such a big part of our surroudings for a good four to five months every year, it’s easy to see that being able to find beauty in brown can be an invaluable coping technique. Without the distraction of “ooh, pretty colors!”, it’s much easier to notice more subtle details, such as contrasting forms and textures. Enjoying winter browns also provides an excellent excuse for holding off on garden cleanup. For instance, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the blooms of ‘Profusion Cherry’ zinnia held up post-frost, long after they lost their rich pinkness. Continue Reading →

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Red in the Garden – Part 2

In the last post on red, I talked about using red as the la piece de le resistance, as that startling, snazzy ‘something’ that will knock your socks off.

In this piece, I want to talk about red as the conductor or framework of a composition. I think gardeners find red to be such a threatening color because immediately it gets associated with the color of a red light, blood, etc….all those things we learned as a child that elicit excitement or alarm, such as the photo of these orangish-red poppies.

In fact, red, from the deepest burgundy to a soft muted almost rose color, can be soothing and the base from which so many other colors can play off of. To this day, visitors find it amazing when I show them how I use red as one of my base colors in the garden. In the first picture below, the burgundy sweet potato vine blends in beautifully with the bi-colored sharper red coleus, the delicate spidery fennel leaves and the green of the osteospermum leaves. Do you see how calming and solidifying it is? Continue Reading →

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Let’s Hear It for Color Echoes

I credit Pamela Harper as the first to popularize the notion of color echoes, in her book entitled, of all things, Color Echoes. That simple but supremely satisfying way of creating color combinations relies on pairing plants on the basis of shared color characteristics. Everything is fair game: leaves, flower petals, pistils, stamens, thorns, fruit or even seedpods. For example, the leaf of one and the flower of another may share a single hue, like the red of this coleus leaf and the red of the pentas flower. Continue Reading →

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I Don’t Like White

Nadeen’s white garden late May 05

So sayeth I, frequently. My reasons? For the first, I offer a simple equation:

white + a mulberry tree + birds = purple-spotted white

Seven years of purple-spotted white fences and garden furniture. Need I say more? Continue Reading →

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