When I am out and about doing landscape consults, I often take the opportunity afterward to drive around the neighborhood and take pictures of examples of both bad and good landscaping.

Last week, I was near my old neighborhood, which is populated by ranch homes with carports.  Many of the homes were built in the 1950’s and while some had landscaping that dated back to that time – there were also great examples of updated landscapes that complimented the ranch style homes.

This one in particular, stood out to me…

The homeowner updated the facade of the house by adding textured stone and removing the old window shutters in favor of newer window treatments.

But, what I loved was the landscape design.

I’ll break it down into three parts and why I liked it…

The front raised beds are filled with succulents, including some that will flower.  The octopus agave (Agave vilmoriniana), blue elf aloe  (Aloe x ‘Blue Elf’) andlady’s slipper (Pedilanthus macrocarpus).

A large container filled with purple and burgundy petunias provide a great splash of color.

To the left, a palo blanco tree (Acacia willardiana), is leafless, but new green growth will soon appear.  The beauty of this tree lies in its white trunk.

Growing in the grass is an olive tree.  I’m not a huge fan because I hate pruning tree suckers. But, it looks very nice in this area.

These raised beds are filled with a pair of octopus agave that are flowering.  Many people make the mistake of cutting off the flowering stalk of agave as it begins to grow.  That is a HUGE mistake.  The flowering stalk is the crowning glory of the agave and is beautiful.  Cutting off the stalk will not keep the agave alive.  Once they flower, they begin to fade and then die.

In this case, simply replace the octopus agave with new ones.

I do like the ornamental grasses in the raised bed.  I think it makes a great alternative to shrubs or even flowering perennials.

**What I don’t like is the purple fountain grass. I find that it keeps getting wider and unwieldy. I do like the Regal Mist (Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘Regal Mist’) that flanks the fountain grass because it has a neater growth habit.

I really like the plantings along the driveway (except for the fountain grass – I’d use ‘Regal Mist’ instead).

The contrast of textures between the octopus agave and the grasses is just wonderful.  Petunias add color and serve as a ground cover as well.

This landscape is a great example of how using frost-tolerant plants can help your landscape look great, even in winter.  It weathered the severe cold snap we had a couple of months ago, just beautifully.

**Compare the next door neighbor’s landscape.  Frost-damaged ficus trees, (which will have to be cut back severely) and poodle-pruned shrubs.

Which landscape design would you prefer?

When you pair beauty and low-maintenance in a single type of plant – that is one that I highly recommend.

Earlier this week, I was doing a landscape consult with a client who had multiple Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) plants throughout his garden and I was reminded again, how much I enjoy this succulent plant.  

I’d love to share with you just a few of the many reasons to add red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) to your landscape…

First of all, its flowers are beautiful and appear May through September and hummingbirds find them irresistible. Red yucca isn’t only drought tolerant but is hardy to -20 degrees, making it suitable for planting in many different planting zones. Although it often referred to by the common name ‘yucca’ – it isn’t a yucca at all.

Even when not in flower, its grass-like succulent foliage add texture to the landscape. I really like how they look when planted in groups of three.

**When adding multiple plants of the same kind – focus on adding them in odd numbered groupings such as 3 or 5.  The reason is that odd numbered plant groupings are more pleasing to the eye.

In addition to the more traditional red/pink colored flowers, there is also a yellow variety available.  They are the same as red yucca with the flower color being the only difference.

Their requirements are few…. full sun, well-drained soil and periodic deep watering.

Red yucca plants are extremely low-maintenance. All you need to do is to prune off dead flower stalks in the fall.  

Don’t prune the foliage like the homeowner did in the photo above – why create more maintenance then is needed?  Especially when it results in turning an attractive plant ‘ugly’?

**You can read more about my past experience with this type of pruning to red yucca that was done by a member of my crew in a previous blog post:

“Do This, Not That”

Red or yellow yucca thrive in areas with reflected sun and heat.  They also do well around swimming pools and in pots.

I love how this yellow yucca was placed between garage doors, don’t you?  It is almost impossible to find a plant that will do well in this unforgiving location.

Over time, red yucca can become overgrown.  The photo above are from my client’s front yard.  His red yucca aren’t quite overgrown yet, but will eventually get there in 2 – 3 years.

What I recommend is to simply take them out and replace them when that happens.  You don’t even have to buy a new red yucca to replace them with. Simply separate a small section of the overgrown plant that you just removed and re-plant it.

What’s not to love about this fabulous plant? I hope you will decide to try red or yellow yucca in your landscape.  

Have you ever read a Dr. Seuss book?

It may be hard to find someone who hasn’t.  I had quite a few of his books as a child and “Green Eggs & Ham” was my favorite.  

As a mom, I made sure that Dr. Seuss books had a place on my kid’s bookshelves.

One of the things I love about Dr. Seuss, is his illustrations.  His imaginative drawings of plants, especially.

Earlier this month, my mother and I spent some time at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.  As I walked along the garden paths, there were times that I felt that I had walked straight into a Dr. Seuss book….

Crawling succulents

Spiky Yuccas

Sundial made out of cacti.

Doesn’t this look like a brain?

A towering forest of Cardon cacti.

One word…”ouch!”

 The drooping leaves of a Ponytail Palm.

The strange shapes of Prickly Pear cactus and Agave.

This Boojum tree would fit nicely in a Dr. Seuss book, don’t you think?

 An ‘old’ cactus growing a beard.

Arching Yuccas lean over the pathway as you leave.

I love spending time at the Desert Botanical Garden.  Of course, in addition to weird and strange plants – they also have beautiful flowering trees, shrubs and perennials.

So, take some time for a visit and see what Dr. Seuss book they remind you of. 

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There is still time to enter the giveaway for one of my favorite new gardening books,

“The Unexpected Houseplant”

Click here for details. 

I love my job…

I get to meet nice people who let me help them with their landscape.  

Usually, they want help with plant suggestions, recommended maintenance and sometimes even which plants should be removed.

Sometimes, I visit a landscape that has some features that I just love.  I would love to share some pictures of a recent visit…

Her back garden was simply beautiful with date palms and gold lantana.

Along the back fence, she had created a plant shelf using masonry bricks and wooden planks.

She added a some colorful pots filled with golden barrel cacti and other plants.

I just loved this idea for masking a bare wall.  

In the front courtyard, I found a great example of how to grow a plant next to a palm tree (or any kind of tree).  Often trees have too many roots that make digging next to them almost impossible.  So, this homeowner, simply planted a creeping fig in a container and placed it next to the tree.

Lastly, there was a container with Lady’s Slipper (Pedilanthus macrocarpus) growing inside, which softened the side of the garage.  This plant does well in full sun and likes deep, infrequent water.

In fact, I liked it so much that I went out and bought a Lady’s Slipper plant for myself 🙂

You know what?

Sometimes it is easy to tell who in the neighborhood uses the same landscaper.  

It is pretty evident from these photos that I took over the summer that quite a few people in this neighborhood are using the services of the same landscaper….

This is the first ‘mushroom-shaped’ Olive tree that I have ever seen.

To me, this Texas Sage looks somewhat like a small loaf bread, don’t you think?

For those of you who have seen Texas Ebony (Ebenopsis ebano) in its natural form, may not recognize this heavily pruned one, above.

These two Texas Sage shrubs remind me of a lumpy cake that you have just pulled out of the oven.

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I hope you are all enjoying a great start to your weekend.

This is the last weekend for awhile where I am not busy, so I plan to enjoy it 🙂

First of all, I would like to thank you all for bearing with me as I have taken a trip down memory lane recalling my adventures as a landscape designer.  Your comments have been so much fun to read.

Some of you may be wondering if I am still a landscape designer.  Well the answer is both yes and no.  I no longer work only as a landscape designer.  But, my work as a horticulturist does involve some design work from time to time which I love.

Why am I no longer working only as a landscape designer?  Well, there are a few different reasons.  

First of all, I did enjoy parts of my job, including meeting with so many different people and helping them to realize their goals for their landscapes.

I loved seeing the successful completion of a job.

And lastly, my fancy office with the black granite desk.

I know, you are tired of hearing about my fancy desk by now 😉

Now there were some aspects of the job that I really did not enjoy.

The first part was the emphasis on selling.  Now I have nothing against the sales industry.  But I found out that sales is not my strong point.  Ironically I did sell quite a lot, but that was largely because of my passion of beautiful gardens.  But, I do not like it when a salesperson tries to do a hard sell with me and I definitely did not like the emphasis placed on that in the company.  Besides, I was not good at it, so I rarely attempted it.

Secondly, hardscapes were highly prized by the company.  Now hardscapes are those items such as patios, built-in BBQ’s, seatwalls, firepits and fireplaces, just to name a few.  Sometimes, trees and plants never entered the equation.  I have nothing against hardscape, but I preferred gardens full of plants with just a few hardscape elements.

Thirdly, I would spend a lot of time working with a client, producing a landscape design, only to have them cancel later and have nothing to show for my effort.

Lastly, the recession hit and the home builder I worked for declared bankruptcy and eventually went out of business.  And so in one year, I had created over 200 designs and only 50 would ever be completed and so hours of work was wasted and I would not see any money from them.

So, by this point in my career, I was at a crossroads.  I was very burned out by the amount of time and effort my job required and I had very little to show for it at the end.

So, I took off a year from working.  I am embarrassed to admit that even my passion for plants was affected.  I did the minimum in my garden, but did not receive any joy from it.

About one year afterward, I began to feel my interest in my garden begin to return.  And so, I started my blog, which I have enjoyed so much.

At that time, I began working as a horticulturist again, but with myself as the boss.  Now, I work quite a bit as a garden writer, speaker as well as a landscape consultant.  

I do still create landscape designs from time to time. It works out perfectly for me because I can control how busy I am while ensuring that I have enough time for my family.

Do I regret my working as a landscape designer for a home builder?

No.  I learned so much from that experience.  It not only made sharpened my landscape designing skills, it helped me to learn me more about myself and what I really wanted.

So, one important thing I learned is that life is about the simple pleasures – like taking time to stop and take a roll in the grass…..  

Thank you again for following my short-lived career as a landscape designer.

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I do plan on sharing stories of my early career as a horticulturist, working on golf courses.

Adventures with coyotes, snakes, destructive storms, monster grubs and being the only woman working in an all-male environment are just part of what is to come 🙂  

Well, there I was….in my new job, working only as a landscape designer for a large home builder.  My surroundings had definitely changed since I left my small and sometimes dirty maintenance office and traded it in for a beautiful office on the 14th floor in downtown Phoenix (you can read more in my “Part 1” post if you like).

Now you would think that with as a horticulturist, I was more then ready to get started……well not exactly.  Before I was allowed to meet with home buyers by myself, I had to learn how to design a whole host of custom structures.  And so, I spent 4 weeks learning how to design built-in BBQs, firepits, seatwalls, arbors, fountains, raised patios, etc.  

Built-in firepit

It was harder then you may think because I had to design these structures from the ground up, which I found challenging.  Trying to factor in gas lines, how many bricks, did it need to be reinforced, how much material was needed, water lines, paint, stucco finishes, etc. was exhausting. I soon learned that visualizing these structures, much less drawing them out, was quite hard for me.  My brain just does not work well that way.  But, I did learn how….but I cannot honestly say that I enjoyed the process.

With my new knowledge, I was soon ready to meet with clients in my fancy new office.  I had traded in my work gloves and boots for manicured fingernails and a business professional wardrobe.  Did I already mention my black granite desk in my previous post?I know I did….but it was just so beautiful 😉

In addition to the fancy trappings of my office, I had a variety of samples to show new home buyers.  Pieces of flagstone in all sorts of colors, pavers, cultured stone, colored concrete and I even had a clear glass box with fake grass inside.

I still have a couple of flagstone samples…..I’m not sure why I kept them.

I think my favorite prop was my ‘rock box’.  Doesn’t that sound exciting?  I still have it and so I dug it out of my stuff in the garage just to show you how cool it is….

Okay, maybe it isn’t the most exciting thing you have seen, but wait until I open it up….

Still not too interesting, is it?

Personally, I found the subject of landscape rock selection quite boring, but clients needed to see samples of what type of landscape rock (gravel) they could chose to use in their landscape.  (It was surprising how many people get hung up on choosing landscape rock.  Throw in a couple who have differing opinions, and it would take forever.)

So I was finally trained and ready – after all I had my rock box ;-).  But, I was so nervous.   Did I mention that I had to actually draw out the landscape design in front of the client, price the entire landscape and get a signed contract within a period of 1 hour?

Believe it or not, I gradually got used to designing on the spot.  I enjoyed meeting so many different people and most of them were very nice to work with.

Over the course of my two years working with the home builder, I met with many wonderful people.  I also met with some unusual people as well.  Here is just a small sampling of some client meetings that stick out in my mind…..

CLIENT #1:

This particular client did not want any trees or plants in his front yard.  NONE!  Now for the horticulturist and plant lover in me – I just couldn’t fathom someone not wanting plants in their yard.

I did my best trying to describe the benefits of having trees and plants in his front yard.  I told him that I could design his landscape using low-maintenance plants.  But, he was not swayed in the least….not even when I whipped out my photos of beautifully landscaped areas.

Well, who do you think got their way…..me or him?

I did!

I wish I could say that I persuaded him by showing him examples of my landscape designing expertise….but that would be a lie.

I got my way because the community where his new home was to be built, required trees and plants in the front yard.  Actually, 2 trees, 10 large shrubs and 12 smaller groundcovers.

The expression on his face was just priceless because he just couldn’t believe that he had to have plants.

CLIENT #2:

I had a wonderful time meeting with this client.  She was moving into a beautiful community located in the upper desert surrounding Phoenix AND she loved plants.

All except for this one…..

Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora)

I’m not sure why she did not like this plant.  It is quite beautiful, low-maintenance as well as being drought-tolerant, all of which are good things.

Now the fact that a client did not like a particular plant was not unusual and did not usually present a problem; I would create a design using other plants.

However, the community she was moving into had some strict guidelines in regards to what types of plants could be planted.  Every home had to have one particular plant in the front yard.

Guess what plant she absolutely had to have planted in her front yard?

Yep…..you guessed it,  Red Yucca.

The client couldn’t believe it, but she was quite nice about it.  Together, we figured out where we could have it planted in her front yard where she would not have to see it.  We put it on the side of her house where only her neighbor would be seeing it.

CLIENT #3:

This client was building a home in a gorgeous part of the desert, called Gold Canyon.  It is located by beautiful mountains and the views from her new home were going to be stunning.

This particular community required a quite a few plants in the front yard – I love plants so designing for this community was always a treat.

We spent our time creating her landscape design together.  I suggested plants and their placement and I could see that she was getting excited about how beautiful her landscape would look.

I loved working with clients who could ‘see’ what the finished landscape would look like.  They were very easy to work with.

I remember her discussing her plans for inside her new house and she couldn’t wait to move in.

Because it was a corner lot, there was a 1 ft. wide strip of land between the block wall of her backyard and the sidewalk.

As we were getting ready to wrap things up, I mentioned that little strip of land was hers and that she was responsible for maintaining it.  Now, maintenance for that area was easy.  There were no plants there, just landscape rock.

Well, she was not happy about owning that little strip of land.  In fact, she was so upset that she walked up to the front desk and canceled her house purchase.  She wouldn’t even want to consider building her house on a typical lot.  

You know, I soon learned to expect the unexpected.  Each person is unique as are their preferences.  Who would have ever guessed that someone would back out of a house purchase over a little 1 ft. wide strip of land……

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I hope my stories are not too boring.  I have had fun recalling some of the more memorable moments.

If you are not completely bored to death……come back for Part 3 in a few days 🙂

Okay, some of you may be asking – when did you work as a landscape designer?  I thought you were a horticulturist?

Well the answer is, is that part of a horticulturist’s job involves landscape design.  Actually, that was my favorite part of being a horticulturist and I was able to design everything from annual flower combinations to large landscape areas and everything in between.

There was a point in my career where I wanted to concentrate solely on landscape design, so I took a job with a major design and landscape company.

As a horticulturist, my time used to be split between my small, cramped office in the golf course maintenance facility as well as around the beautiful outdoors, driving around golf courses and desert landscapes.

I was the only woman in a department made up of 39 men.  Work boots, shorts and polo shirts were my normal wardrobe along with my floppy hat.  My mode of transportation was my little green golf cart.

A typical day was spent outdoors during the morning hours, driving around the landscape areas, fertilizing, pruning and assigning jobs to my landscape crew.

Afternoons were typically spent in the office catching up on paperwork and working on new designs and estimates.

Well that all changed dramatically once I decided to work solely as a landscape designer.  Why did I leave my previous job?  Well, after 5 years, they were running out of new areas for me to design and I did not only want to manage landscape areas…..I wanted to keep on creating new ones.

My new job involved more then a new job title.  It came with many drastic changes.

I was assigned to work with a major home-builder, working with new home buyers and designing their new landscapes.

The first major change was my office space.  I no longer had a cramped and sometimes dirty office…..

My new office was located on the 14th floor of a beautiful office building in downtown Phoenix.

No longer did I work from an old formica desk.  I now had a desk made of black granite.

Instead of a windowless office, I had a beautiful view of the city from up high.

The dress code had changed as well.  No more boots and polo shirts…..professional business clothing was now required.

I must admit that at first, I was a bit dazzled by the trappings of my new position.  I mean, I even had a coveted parking pass and free reign over a fully stocked refrigerator.

Well, my adventures in my new position were just beginning and then reality started to set in.

I met with many interesting clients who had some interesting views on what they wanted in their gardens.  I will share some of my stories in my next post.

I do hope you all had a good week.  I have had a busy week of consultations as well as preparing for two upcoming speaking engagements, (which I love to do by the way).  But the most exciting thing is that I am working on getting ready for a trip along the east coast – I can’t wait to tell you more about that 🙂

I have enjoyed this series of ‘Curing the Garden Blahs’ and would like to cover the topic of form and texture since they belong together along with color, which we covered in an earlier post.  

You may not be too familiar with these concepts and wonder what part they play in a good garden design.  To help, let my ask you the following question – have you seen a landscape that really catches your interest, but you cannot tell exactly why?  Landscapes full of flowering plants do attract our attention, but have you ever been attracted to one that does not necessarily have lots of flowering plants?  If so, chances are that the designer made sure to incorporate both texture and form when they created the garden.

Well, let’s get familiar with texture first.  Texture refers to the visual surface of a plant, such as rough or smooth as well as the size and shape of foliage, flowers, branches and bark.  Here in the desert, we definitely have our share of plants with rough surfaces, but no matter where you live the following photos should help you understand the concepts of texture and how it relates to your landscape plants.

Ouch!

 Purple Prickly Pear

In direct contrast are those plants with smooth surfaces…..

Agave desmettiana

Palo Blanco (Acacia willardiana)

Different types of texture are also expressed in the different shapes of foliage and bark.

First, examples of fine textured plants which are characterized by small leaves and flowers and sometimes have a ‘lacy’ appearance.

Red Bird-of-Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)

 Black Dalea (Dalea frutescens)

Threadleaf Cassia  (Senna nemophila)

 Alyssum ‘Royal Carpet’

Here are some examples of plants that have a coarse texture which is characterized by large leaves that tend to be bold and make a statement in the landscape.

  Purple Orchid Tree (Bauhinia variegata)

 Geranium

 Australian Bottle Tree (Brachyiton populneus)

One way that designers draw attention the landscape is to pair different textures together.  The following picture is an excellent example of this…..

  Agave weberi with Purple Trailing Lantana

The coarse texture of the Agave paired with the fine texture of the Purple Trailing Lantana accentuate their differences and your eye is drawn to that naturally.  When emphasizing the ways that they are different, you also appreciate their individual beauty even more.  If you place plants with similar texture next to each other, they can fade into the background.  

In general, coarse textured plants are placed in the background while the finer textured plants are in the front. 

A variety of textures are represented in this backyard garden, which draws your attention.

Now let us look closer at the concept of form as it relates to the garden.  This is somewhat easier to grasp as it has to do with the overall shape of plants.

Here are spiky plants, often called ‘accent’ plants….

 Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)

  Bougainvillea ‘Torch Glow’

  Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora)

 Parry’s Penstemon (Penstemon parryi)

Other plant shapes are more naturally more rounded…..

 Eremophila ‘Valentine’

 Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum)

Chaparral Sage (Salvia clevelandii)

  Green Cloud Texas Sage (Leucophyllum frutescens ‘Green Cloud’)

Now you may notice that the naturally rounded shrubs are not unnaturally round and smooth…..these shrubs have texture which is a good thing.

Imagine if you will, a landscape of ‘green balls’.  Believe it or not, you don’t need your imagination to picture this because there are countless landscapes with this problem.

These plants have been robbed of their form.   Now they are little better then green balls.  There is nothing interesting about them.  *For those of you who have gotten to know me through my blog or in person, you know that I am passionately against the practice of ‘poodling’ landscape shrubs.  Especially those that flower.  If you feel like it, you can always read my earlier post, “Shrubs Aren’t Meant to be Cupcakes.”

 Besides being too crowded, the shrubs have all been overly pruned, removing much of their form and texture and creating a boring landscape.

Below is a formally pruned Texas Ebony tree….

Needless to say, they are not to be pruned into round balls.

Which do you like better….the one above or the one below?  Believe it or not, they are the same type of tree.

A beautiful landscape incorporates both color, form and texture…..

 The fine texture of the Foothill Palo Verde contrasts nicely with the coarse texture of the Agave in the foreground.  The ornamental grass in the background also add nice form and texture contrast.

  This ‘natural’ desert landscape has actually been recreated using the desert as the inspiration.  The different form and textures of the succulents contrast well with the trees, shrubs and groundcovers.

  Form and texture at play with only a few different plants.

 This is one of my personal favorites 🙂

I do hope this post has been helpful in explaining the importance of both texture and form in the landscape.  I have only briefly touched upon it and there is much more information available online or at your local bookstore if you would like to get into more detail.

I am now off to help my husband finish building the fence of my new flower garden 🙂

Have a great weekend!

I hope you all had a great weekend and are ready for the week ahead.  I know I am 🙂  I would like to continue on with our “Curing the Garden Blahs” series and focus on one of my favorite aspects…..color.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that just by adding some color to our wardrobe, our food, our homes, etc. we can look better, enjoy our food more and create an atmosphere in our homes.  Well, adding color in the garden creates much more interest and increases the beauty and curb appeal of your garden as well.

 As we get started, I would like you first to become acquainted with our friend, the color wheel…..

Color is an integral part of landscape design.  Now, I am not going to go into a lot of detail or complexity, but will keep this fairly simple.

Most of us know what we like or don’t like in regards to color.  We each have a favorite color and some of us may have a color that we dislike.  What is even more interesting is that if you have a color that you dislike in your house or in your wardrobe, you may love it in your garden.  **For me, that color is orange….I don’t care for it in my house or in my wardrobe, but I do love it in my garden.  I wonder why I like it in some places and not in others?

There are two main color groups for the garden.  The first group consists of warm colors which are the reds, oranges and yellows.  When used in the landscape, they grab your attention right away and excite you.  The tend to make a large area look smaller and more intimate.  If you want to create a focal point, then plants with warm colors are what you would want to use.  For those of you who live in cooler climates, using warm colors in the garden can ‘visually’ warm you up 🙂

The blossoms below are a perfect example of warm colors….

Red Bird-of-Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)

 Yellow Bells (Tecoma stans stans)

Red Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii)

Cape Honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis)

Our next group consists of cool colors such as pinks, purples and blues.  These colors tend to make you feel relaxed and can make a garden appear larger.  Cool colored plants would be the ideal choice for a quiet spot in the garden.  If you live in a hot climate, you may want to incorporate cool colors in your garden as a way to ‘visually’ cool off.

Here are some examples of plants with cool colors….

Delphiniums

 ‘Rio Bravo’ Sage flower (Leucophyllum langmaniae ‘Rio Bravo’)

Parry’s Penstemon (Penstemon parryi)

This bouquet of Pink and White Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) flowers and Goodding’s Verbena are a perfect example of cool colors.

Now, how do you decide what colors look good together?

Well in general, warm colors look great together as do the cool colors.  But you can also mix them up to create a contrast that really catches your attention.  To do this, let’s go back to our color wheel….

Now, think of the phrase “opposites attract”, because in this case it is true.  Opposite the purples and blues you will find the yellows and oranges.  When paired together, the contrast between the two colors immediately grabs your attention.

For example, picture Cape Honeysuckle shrubs with Purple Trailing Lantana growing in front of them…..

Here is another example….

The blossoms of Orange Jubilee (Tecoma x Orange Jubilee) and Green Cloud Sage (Leucophyllum frutescens ‘Green Cloud’) contrast very well.

Now I would like to share with you an excellent tip and it involves the color yellow.  Now you may be thinking that yellow really does not do much for you and I would actually agree….it is not my favorite color.  BUT, do not underestimate the power of yellow in the landscape.  By just adding a few yellow flowering plants among your other colors, they will cause your other plants to look better.  Really, it’s true.  Yellow flowering plants contrast so well with other colors….I promise you they will make your garden look better.

For example, look at the container plantings below….

We have a collection of Lavender, Lobelia and Geraniums….all cool colors.  But the addition of yellow daisies and gazania, all the colors really ‘pop’.

So now are you all ready to head to the nursery and mix your colors?  Well, I have a word of caution first…..if you intend to plant two different plants together so that you can enjoy the way their colors look next to each other when they are in bloom…..make SURE that they bloom at the SAME time.  You would be surprised at how many people make the mistake of purchasing plants, relying on the color picture of the plant tags thinking the colors would look great together….only to find later that one plant blooms in spring and the other in summer.

I do hope you are finding these posts on “Curing the Garden Blahs” helpful.  Our next installment will cover how texture can create interest in the garden.

*****There is still time to enter my seed giveaway for Firecracker Penstemon seeds.  Here is the link for those of you interested.  You have until this Wednesday (September 29th).****