July 8, 2010

A Tall Tale of Orange and Purple Flowers


A had a plan for a purple and orange flower garden. The two colors are a favorite combination. I transplanted orange yarrow, coneflowers, agastache and blanket flowers to a section of the garden where I added purple salvias, agastache, allium and trailing verbena. This is the first bloom season for that garden and it will take a few years for the plants to mature and fill in the space.

But, this is not a story about that precisely planned garden.

This is a tale about a purple and orange flower combination created by a population explosion of self-sowing seeds from tall purple verbena and orange cosmos. The surprise is a mass planting of tall verbena that is interspersed with a perfect dose of tall cosmos.  The ankles of the two plants are discreetly disguised by canna foliage and blooms of blue ageratum. And, I like it!


All of this haphazard self-sowing took place in an area that I replenished with fresh soil and amended with compost to prepare for tropical plants. The rich soil provided the perfect growing medium for germination of seeds, but the results were entirely unexpected. The skinny plants are nicely arranged between the other perennials. There is also an evenly distributed veil of purple along the edge of the garden path. I couldn't have spaced each plant better if I had tried.

Verbena bonariensis is a perennial in my zone 7b and I started with three plants in 2007. I didn't deadhead my verbena, allowing it to freely self-seed. It is easy to move the seedlings, if desired. This verbena is:
  1. deer and rabbit resistant
  2. drought tolerant 
  3. blooms non-stop until frost
  4. tall (4+ feet in height)
  5. the seeds are a favorite of the American Goldfinch
  6. butterflies and bees love the nectar
  7. easy to grow from seeds and self-sows
  8. low maintenance
The original seeds for the annual orange cosmos, sown in 2009, and were given to me by blogger friend, Patsi at Garden Endeavors. I didn't deadhead the cosmos and allowed it to self-seed. This cosmos is:
  1. deer and rabbit resistant
  2. drought tolerant 
  3. blooms non-stop until frost
  4. tall (4 feet in height)
  5. the seeds are a favorite of the American Goldfinch
  6. butterflies and bees love the nectar
  7. easy to grow from seeds and self-sows
  8. low maintenance
Notice the similarities? A perfect match of growing conditions, attributes and contrasting color!



Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel. Deer and rabbit resistance varies based upon the animal population and availability of food. All company or product or patented names mentioned are registered trademarks, copyrights, or patents owned by those respective companies or persons.

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Defining Your Home, Garden & Travel

Home, garden and travel tips by Freda Cameron

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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