Bright And Beautiful

I could be visually persuaded to like just about anything in terms of color.  I like white with anything.   All white is beautiful too.  I like pale and delicate.  I like moody. I like unexpected as much as I like subtle. I like green and more green.  I like sassy bright..   I have no pressure to edit my color choices; I have no two clients who would have the color part of their container and annual plantings the same.  How I love this.  One of the best parts of my job is the chance I get to explore lots of color relationships. This arrangement I did for a client in all sorts of shades of pink and red reflects their taste in color-I would call this vivid.      

If I am looking for vivid color, I have some favorite places to go.  Zinnias, dahlias, geraniums, petunias, solenia begonias, lantana, mandevillea-all of them represent brilliantly.  I am sure there is some science relating to the vivid colors of tropical plants.  But I am more interested in how color makes me feel.  Some color combinations electrify me-other color combinations leave me cold.  This has nothing to do with the particular color in question.  It has to do with how I respond to it. Everyone responds to color in a very personal and emotional way.  I often ask clients to give me 5 words that describe their favorite colors.  As always, figuring out what visually excites you is key to an annual planting that will come round to satisfy you.    

For those gardeners that have trouble editing, I have a few suggestions.  Think in terms of three colors, not one.  Should you like red, lime green will help that red look fiery. Red, hot pink and lime green is a color combination that really sizzles.  White added to this mix will make it look fresh.  The red nicotiana repeats the geranium red; this helps the color to read from a distance.  The lime and white keep the arrangement lively.  


I took this picture on a very hot and sunny July day.  The white in these containers and in the ground keeps everything fresh looking, without detracting from the overall impression of vivid color.Whita adds volume and visual punch.  Black sweet potato vine with this vista fuchsia petunia would have another effect altogether.     

All of the colors in this mix harmonize.  Imagine what a little white, and a little lime green would do here.  Every step has its own terra cotta pot.  Care has to be taken in choosing plants that will be happy all season long in a relatively small container.  Geramiums, trailing verbena, and mini-petunias do well in an enviroment like this.  Gold marjoram and gold oregano can provide a splash of lime green in small pots. 

This planting has been in no longer than a month.  All of the plants will soon burgeon over the edges; the Park Princess dahlias will bloom profusely, as will the pink mandevillea.  In the early stages, green is a predominant color in containers, as it should be.  Given a choice, I would plant before an annual is in full bloom; green plants seem to take hold and grow faster than plants in flower.   

Our annual plantings peak sometime in August, although many containers thrive well into the fall.  No matter what our summer turns out to be, there will be a noticeable change come labor day.  September is the beginning of a new season.  June, July and August-our summer months.  One year my containers lingered-I finally took them apart late in October as I was tired of taking care of them.  

Bright annual color can soften and warm up a cool terrace surface. This year, I am trying a cooler color scheme-three shades of lavender and purple-with a little pale yellow and white.  If you want to test a mix, pinch a few flowers and put them together.  Looking for a color that bridges purple and white, try a bicolor plant.  Bicolor angelonia, petunias, dahlias-there are lots of plants that are two colors in one.  million bells is one of my favorites.  It is a very strong grower, and the pink/white/lavender flowers make for good bridges in a color scheme. 

Bright color is entertaining; this makes it is a natural choice for those places where you want to entertain. Some quiet places in my garden-I would not so much want this much visual activity.  A bench a secluded spot in a shade garden might as for another scheme.    


The colors of the Solenia series of begonias-smashing.  I would consider mixing the pink, the rose pink, and the apricot.  Or maybe the orange, the apricot, and white. There are lots of choices for bright and beautiful.

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