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Colorful Combinations

Hollyhock Queenie PurpleCool hues like blue and purple are restful, while red, orange and yellow energize. And how you combine colors also helps set a mood.

For instance, this time last year I was in the middle of working on my container book. My garden was filled to the brim with potted plant combinations spilling out of every nook and cranny. The paths and walkways were reduced to narrow openings that just barely allowed me to get from one place to another. The scene was frenetic, alive with the work at hand and somewhat exhausting to look at.

So this year I am eager to keep it simple in my garden and I'm using my color choices to do just that. The palette is bold and uniform, pairing blooms of the same color family but with contrasting forms. For instance I have combined the tall spikes of purple foxglove with wispy agrostemma 'Purple Queen' and powder puffed shaped 'Queenie Purple' hollyhocks, which, by-the-by, bloom in the first season.

In another area of the garden I've planted all white flowers, a color scheme that I haven't tried in some time. The season began with 'White Dawn' roses, which gave way to white foxgloves and by mid-summer I hope to have masses of the fragrant 'Casa Blanca' lily dressing up the area.

And in the front garden flowerbeds purple, lavender and blue blossoms frame a narrow band of lush green grass.

These sweeps of a single color or closely related color families are a far cry from the collages of flowers and foliage that I created last year. The calmer palettes present a sense of order that is soothing to both the eye and the soul.