Colour and colour combinations are a very personal choice and when clients ask me to do what “I think looks good” because they don’t know, I make sure to get a feel of the colours they like. I look at their interior colour schemes, deep jewel like tones or pale neutrals and carry that out into the garden. Make sure the colours harmonize or alternatively pop against the fence or house depending on the owners preference. Remember hot colours like red advance and cool colours like blue recede. You can play with this to make your garden look larger or smaller. Hot vibrant colours also look better under a hot sunny sun while cool pale colours tend to wash out to white. Cool colours shine in the misty northern climes while hot can look a bit…well…bright, unless you yearn for the tropical look! Regardless, your garden is your personal space that you look at every day so if you want hot and bright or cool and serene go for it!
Here are some colour combos for a zone 5 eastern Canadian/North American climate.
Acer palmatum “Bloodgood” has reddish leaves that vary in colour but this one planted along the east side of a house has a gorgeous deep plum purple hue that would look stunning underplanted with the following:
From left to right: chartreuse hosta “Fire island”, small blue leaved hosta with a frothy pink astilbe behind, japanese painted fern.
For a bright and cheery colour scheme try the yellow Heliopsis “Loraine Sunshine” paired with deep blue Veronica “Royal Candles” and the spiky Helictrotrichon sempervirens “Sapphire” (blue oat grass) All like full sun.
Another cooler colour combination for a sunny spot. A lighter blue veronica, pale yellow coreopsis “Moonbeam”, and white shasta daisy backed by Calamagrostis “Karl Foerster” grass. The dainty reddish pink flowers belong to Astrantia major.
You can’t go wrong with the fiery orange common daylily and tall European bellflowers for a carefree corner. Both are spreaders so keep them away from your garden plants and let them grow in a wilder section. Both are also good for dry sunny slopes where conditions tame their agressive tendencies somewhat!
For a low maintenance full sun boulevard bed or “hellstrip”. The rosy flower spikes of Karl Foerster are complemented by the pink yarrow blooms (Achillea) and the blue perovskia or russian sage. The tall plant behind is Coreopsis tripteris or tall coreopsis. It has clusters of tiny yellow flowers and can reach up to 8ft tall. In this dry boulevard bed, it reaches about 5ft.
Hot and tropical or cool as a cucumber, summer bloomers will carry you through the summer in style.
Happy gardening 🙂