March 31, 2007

Bold Color Combinations

Here in my area of North Carolina, we've had amazingly beautiful weather and mild nights. My fairly new garden is just bursting with growth. The daffodils and Spanish bluebells planted last Fall are incredibly beautiful and robust for a first season display. The Lady Banksia, azaleas, and lilac are loaded with buds. The Japanese and Siberian iris are shooting up out of the ground while the Dutch iris started blooming today. Along the roads, I've noticed that the redbuds and dogwoods are just spectacular!

Caught up in the thrill of a gardening season, I must confess that I have planted some things that I wouldn't ordinarily plant until mid-April. If the freezes return, I'll be dragging out the burlap blankets. In fact, there are now over 60 new additions to the garden!

This is the first time that I've had a sunny garden so I'm going bold with the color scheme. The shrub garden started in October 2006 is now a mixed border of shrubs, bulbs and perennials. I build my gardens in this order:

  1. Install shrubs (primarily in the fall)

  2. Plant spring bulbs (fall)

  3. Add perennials (depending upon availability in fall, spring, early summer)

  4. Fill-in with herbs and annuals (spring)

I do re-organize even my new gardens after looking at the design for awhile. Tweaking the garden to improve the design works so much better for me than agonizing over a plant in the wrong place.

I decided to try mixing different perennials of similar colors in a group, rather than planting a mass of one perennial. Here is an example of the magenta grouping of penstemon, coreopsis and agastache in the front mixed border. I'm looking forward to seeing whether this combination will look as good in the garden as it does in the side-by-side photos.

I also experimented with bold combinations of yellow, orange and blue for the butterfly garden. In addition to the rudbeckia, agastache and echinachea, I'm adding asclepias in yellow and orange. This grouping accompanies an existing vitex (blue) and a new crocosmia 'Lucifer' given to me by a friend. For swallowtails, we planted bronze fennel. We're reallocating a birdbath to use for butterflies by adding some sand and water. The butterfly garden will be viewable from our waterfall patio and the garden room on the east side of our house. The garden slopes down toward the house, so we should have a nice view of all of these colors -- so, I sure hope this combination works!

All of these plants are on "deer-resistant" lists, so I'm hopeful that we won't experience any plant damage during the bloom season. Along these lines, we've placed a temporary 30" high edging fence all around the new garden to convince the deer to change their traffic pattern. Previously, they walked along the front of our cottage garden fence picking the shrub roses that grow through the fence. So far, they haven't challenged this tiny little fence as there are so signs of nipped roses nor hoof marks. I believe it is because the garden looks too enclosed...and, we are planting deer-resistant plants so we have minimized the attraction.
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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