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The Gardener’s Color Palette

Tom Fischer, Editor in Chief of Timber Press, has created a small, inexpensive book with more than 100 gorgeous photographs by Clive Nichols of 100 plants in the ranges of 10 colors – scarlet, orange, lime, blue, mahogany, and more!

My garden, full of roses as it is, is heavy on pink, but when I look through this book I can’t help imagining a color themed garden.  Lots of people have blue and white gardens, which are easy because there are so many blue and white flowers, but when I look at the photographs of scarlet crocosmias, Gardenview Scarlet bee balm, Rubinzwerg sneezeweed and red canyon sage, I am tempted to put together a Red Garden. It probably won’t look like the long red border I saw on a garden trip to England, but a book like this makes one dream.

What color would you choose for a color theme border?  Mauve with alliums, bellflowers and clematis?  Yellow and white would  be very pretty too.

7 comments to The Gardener’s Color Palette

  • Lisa at Greenbow

    If I had a spot of full sun I would like a screaming red and yellow border where every time you look at it you would hear the mariachis playing and see senoritas swirling around in their beaded skirts.

  • Ha, ha, I can’t top Lisa’s comment!:) Pink and purple are my colors of choice in the garden, but I also like blue in the shade garden. This is how I started, but lately I’ve been drawn to other more dramatic colors as well. The butterfly garden I planted last year had no color scheme, so it turned into a riot of clashing colors…and I loved it! This book sounds like a wonderful way to spend a cold winter’s evening.

  • I love all colors…I have found myself adding more white this year.

  • Flaneur

    Good grief, it’s been thirty years since I bought the Taylor’s Guide series and I recall that at the time I was greatly relieved to discover that the flowers volume was organized by color. Like every other Commonweeder reader, I, too, have my favorite colors. Like nearly every other guy, I deplore pink and instead prefer white, lemon yellow and delphinium blue shades. But to underscore that we decidedly share common ground with one another – I adore green! Looking at the book’s cover art, and its emphasis on the color palette, this would have been a terrific boon to those Victoria gardeners who produced those amazing (and bizarre) carpet gardens, employing any and all species to achieve an overall impression of a vast flower bed as an oriental rug. Apparently gardeners still toil diligently to produce topiary fantasies or intricate mazes, but does anyone today still attempt to reproduce a “carpet” with a rectangular flowerbed? Formal gardens might come close if seen from the air, but the majority of material employed seems to be paving for the walkways and mulching for the plants. The only examples I can think of are those planted berms in front of suburban corporate headquarters that spell out the name of the company, and I must say there is something diverting about driving past the executive offices identified in red and white geraniums and saffron marigolds as “Home of Industrial Waste Watchers.”

    My gardening plans are small, and the anticipated palette rather limited, so a book like this would provide a very useful head start in sorting through choices and aiming me in the right direction. As always, thank you, Pat!

  • Pink all the way–if I were that organized!

  • Pat

    I have been without Internet access for three days! which accounts for my delay in responding, but I am so happy to see all these ideas. I do love the idea of a mariachi garden! There is no chance I will ever have a carpet garden.

  • if you are looking for more information on USDA plant hardiness zones, there is a detailed and interactive USDA plant hardiness zone map at http://www.plantmaps.com/usda_hardiness_zone_map.php which allow you to locate your USDA zone based on zipcode or city.

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