Thursday, 16 August 2018

Inspiring colour combinations

I have visited lots of gardens recently, while it's been too hot to do anything other than water our own garden. Although the overall design, style and feel of another garden is always interesting and thought provoking, often it doesn't translate to something you can replicate at home. What I never fail to find though is inspiration for a new colour or plant combination. Here are a few that caught my eye.

Pale and dark pink Achillea mingles beautifully with the soft purple of Nepeta (catmint). 
The seed head of Allium christophii retains purple colour in its stems for some time as it ages. The colour is intensified by the dark purple Sedum behind it, which will take over the show in late summer. A fantastic combination that I will definitely be copying.
A dark purple Sedum mingling with the silvery leaves of an unidentified shrub. A distinct, but mellow, contrast. 
Another purple and silver combination, this time a Stachys with Allium sphaerocephalon.
Allium sphaerocephalon with a pale pink daisy-like flower. Not sure what this one is, but as long as it flowers in mid-summer to match the allium you can recreate this look with a range of different plants.
A combination that really intrigued me. I spent quite some time trying to work out how many different types of plant were in this bed (which also includes the next photo) as they had an almost identical flower colour. In this photo a single, large flowered Clematis climbs up the support, surrounded by a Phlox
Planted next to the Clematis and Phlox in the picture above was a mound of hardy Geranium with a nodding purple Clematis growing through it as ground cover. Not many flowers on the geranium when I took this picture, but you can imagine what a display it had been. 
Pinks and reds can by tricky to combine, but this brave mix of Hemerocallis (day lily) and pale pink Echinacea is one to stop you in your tracks. 
The endlessly versatile Allium sphaerocephalon, this time with an orange Kniphofia (red hot poker). Together they remind me of a firework display.
An orange Hemerocallis (day lily) in exactly the same shade as an Alstroemeria. An impressive colour match, but I wonder if the flower shape is too similar to make each stand out.
A hot combination of bright red Crocosmia and daisy-like Helenium. Another perfect colour match, but this time the contrasting flower shape adds an extra dimension. 
Yellow and blue is a classic colour contrast. Here, a citrus yellow Euphorbia stands out against a deep purple Lavender.
This time the yellow is provided by a Lysimachia, with a hardy Geranium weaving through it.
For a cool, partly-shaded spot, the fresh green fronds of a large fern, variegated leaves of a potted Hosta, the white flower heads of a Hydrangea and the silver leaves of a Brunnera. We grow all of these plants in our garden, but not together, so this autumn I may well be digging them up and relocating them. I could sit and look at this combination for hours, preferably with a glass of red wine in hand.

Our to-do list
Seed collecting - I like to allow plants to self-seed, but just in case they don't appear again next year of their own accord, or they appear in the wrong place, I like to collect seed as an insurance policy.

Bulb ordering - Hard to think about the end of summer, but now is the time to place orders for autumn planted bulbs. Due to the weather conditions this year, bulbs are expected to be in shorter supply than usual, so don't delay.