Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Color and the Perennial Placement Chess Game

Balloon Flower

I would like to be able to say that after standing for ten, fifteen minuets at a time weighing all the relevant factors, that I always place new perennials in the perfect spot. It would be wonderful if this time spent was rewarded with success!

But if I am being honest, I get placement wrong more times than I get it right. Often, I feel discouraged and think that I simply waste time standing in front of one of my flower borders carefully considering plant size and height, while weighing leaf color, shape and texture and calculating into the equation bloom time and color, only to come up an answer that I live to regret.

And I can't tell you how often I have looked at an overcrowded border and thought, "What was I thinking???"

If I simply tossed my trowel into a bed, and planted the new recruit wherever it landed I might be just as successful!

Needless to say, I shift perennials around a fair bit. I am out in the garden as soon as the weather permits playing, what I have come to call, placement chess in the garden. I simply move plants around until I am happy with the results.

I worked for years in the art department of a wallpaper company and that experience has given me a fearless love of color.

Bring it on! 

Bright colors are so happy, what's not to love.

My June garden is all pinks ands soft purples. My July garden is, on the contrary, bright oranges, yellow, pink and hot purple with a dash of warm blue thrown in.

There is no color I dislike- well maybe soft peach-

but then, peach worked into a complimentary color combination can be wonderful!

Peach lilies and grey Artemisia with purple and yellow as background melody.

Equally appealing to me are soft shades in the right setting. I've mixed these salmon colored daylilies with a dark maroon daylily with a yellow throat.

One look at my garden and you realize that I don't believe in color rules. Its more fun to push the envelope and mix colors together that may not seem obviously suited to one another.

Most people might think that yellow and purple are a bit whacky together, but I love the odd combination.

I think its even fun to play it safe and repeat a single color in variations.

So tell me, what are your favorite garden color combinations?


  1. Lovely gardens - you have done well with the arrangements.

    I am wondering if you would add your birdhouse to our Birdhouse Thursday meme at Not a big following but 75 to 100 views each week.

  2. Personally I love purple and yellow, one of my favourites. And I don't think you are having any trouble at all placing plants, that white picket fence - WOW.

  3. I love all of your combinations. I really like that you're not afraid of color. I used to worry too much about color mixing, but not anymore. One color I used to be afraid of was orange, but now I find myself drawn to it.
    Beautiful pictures!!

  4. Great combo's! I also do what I call the 'plant dance'. I love it :)

  5. Blue and orange, oddly enough. Blue/purple and orange really look good to me. Mostly my garden tends to be pink, blue and white lol. I love red and orange and yellow in the fall.

  6. Jennifer! Your garden is fantastic. Looking at it definitely sparks my imagination! I love your color combinations and all your whimsical touches. It's just incredible ~ you must feel so happy each day looking outside at all the beauty you've created?! I'm so glad you visited my blog so I could find yours.

  7. What a beautiful garden and fearless use of colour. It looks like a garden I would love to slowly walk around and absorb.


I love to hear from you. Thanks for leaving a comment.