Sunday, May 16, 2010

Color In The Garden

I went on a garden dig awhile ago to glean plants for a sale to benefit our local historical house.  This is part of our community involvement activities that we do with the garden club throughout the year.  The property is expansive and I felt I was at an arboretum rather than a private home.  I experienced a level of anxiety knowing I would never be able to take care of this property.

Nevertheless, I had met the owner of this property previously at the Midwest Garden Symposium at the Morton Arboretum.  She is what the English call a Plantswoman, very knowledgeable about her plantings but still normal enough to say, "Oh, I don't remember the name of that one." 

Her opinions about color were important and somewhat surprising to me.  She uses no pale colors, like pale pink, violet, light yellow, peach, etc.  Our master gardener feels that only bright colors pop in the garden, like reds, purples, bright yellows, vivid oranges and always white.  I am afraid I have to depart from this opinion especially for my back garden where I love the softness of the pinks in the heat of the summer.  I am even doing pink as a theme in my front garden along with reds, pale yellows, white, magenta and blue. 

The back patio heats it up a little with bright orange geraniums and orange hibiscus, softer fountain plants variegated Algerian Ivy and Cordyline for a centerpiece on the coffee table.  All of the surrounding areas are laced with pinks, whites, blues, white and bright rosy orange.  I think my master gardener friend was correct when she mentioned that you can put orange and red together if you mix in purple, stunning by my vegetable garden!

I feel I am creating a mood, not necessarily a color palette.  It is also important to note that when you have very little frontage to your property you do not necessarily need vibrant colors that pop.  You are close and personal to each person who walks by or comes to your home.

I guess what I really learned from this digging experience is to know when to quit, not quit gardening but to quit going on and on and on when you know you can't do it anymore.  One never has to quit gardening, just quit gardening so much!