October 12, 2009

Purple and Deep Rose: A Favorite Combination

I do love to combine deep rose with purple-blue blooms in the garden. In fact, I'm probably growing too many deep rose (includes magenta and fuschia) and purple flowers, but I tend to gravitate toward the colors. I think the combination is soothing and easy on the eyes.

Could it be because these colors are analogous or adjacent on the color wheel? Cornell University has an excellent tutorial on Using Color in Flower Gardens.

Deep rose flowers in the top photo include:

Salvia greggii 'Dark Dancer'
Spirea 'Neon Flash'
rose campion
larkspur 'Carmine Rose'

Purple-blue flowers in the photo:

Buddleia 'Adonis Blue'™
Japanese iris (not sure which one)
larkspur 'Lilac Spires'

I have a tendency to create the look of diagonal swaths across the slope in my garden. This is an example where the monochromatic grouping of deep rose blooms shows this illusion. This is the view when walking along the lower path from the butterfly garden into the front garden. Since I prefer to mix different bloom sizes of the same color, the diagonal line isn't just one particular plant. Perennials, shrubs, and annuals are used together.

All of these plants are keepers, too. This vignette happens to include many favorites that I can easily recommend.

The buddleia blooms and re-blooms all summer if deadheaded. I have tried to be diligent about it this summer and am still being rewarded with fall blooms. It is suitable for zones 5-9, full sun, and the size is a fairly compact 5' x 5'. It is deer resistant and drought tolerant, once established. Of course, it is a butterfly magnet!

Spirea 'Neon Flash' is for zones 4-8, full sun and is a deciduous shrub that blooms abundantly in early June and will re-bloom lightly if deadheaded. I like the foliage, too. Spirea is one of the first deciduous shrubs to grow leaves in spring. The size is easily managed, though it can grow to 3' x 3'. It is deer resistant in my garden, but there is the occasional bloom tasting party. They spit out the flowers between tastings.

Salvia greggii 'Dark Dancer' is one of my favorites. This evergreen salvia loves hot climates such as zones 7-10. It is a heavy bloomer in spring and fall with sporadic blooms all summer. Although it can reach 4' high and wide, it is easily kept smaller with a shaping before blooming in early spring. It is definitely deer resistant and loves full sun and good drainage.

The Japanese irises provide beautiful early summer flowers and the foliage remains attractive until after a few frosts. It expands rapidly to create large clumps that have to be divided when the "donut hole" shows in the middle. These irises are suitable for zones 4-9, full sun to part sun. I grow these where they can have very wet feet on rainy days and be in drought in the summer. They are tough! The deer may taste the fully opened blooms now and then, but it hasn't been a significant problem. They seem to avoid the buds and the foliage.

The rose campion and larkspur are reseeding annuals. I planted three rose campion a few years ago and have never had to plant more. I move the seedlings around wherever I like. The larkspur seeds are sown directly where they are to grow - in late October in my zone. I will never garden without them again!

Not in bloom in the photo, but worth mentioning since the foliage and flowers are important. On either side of the spirea are patches of monarda 'Blue Stocking'. When the spirea starts to fade, the bee balm, along with purple coneflowers and purple agastache, will add blooms to the grouping. The monarda can be grown in zones 4-9 and grows to 30" tall. You only need one if you plant it in rich, moist soil! It is reliably deer resistant in my garden.

I could go on and on... as there are even more flowers on either side of this grouping that fall into the same color range!

Words and photos by Freda Cameron; Home Garden; Summer 2009
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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