Color for Adventurous Gardeners
"Given the right circumstances, I believe every color can be successfully used with any other," says Christopher Lloyd in his newest book, Color for Adventurous Gardeners (Firefly Books, 2001; $19.95), and he proceeds to give ideas for plant combinations that will "increase your pulse rate by a beat or two." He also provides examples of plants and situations that can tone down shouting matches between two colors thought to be incompatible.
"Of all colors, orange is the one that cries out the loudest for contrast. It is a waste to mingle it with red. Be bold and get it with purple, bay green, blue, even pink." Pink? Lloyd shows us how it can work.
Divided into chapters by color -- including black and brown -- the text and photos give plant choices and pairings that illustrate how variable the impact of a color can be. Even small details like the contrasting color in the center of a daisy-like flower or in the center "bee" of a delphinium can change the visual effect.
The book is sure to make you yearn for a bit more drama in your garden, and as Lloyd says, "We can at least free ourselves of the unnecessary shackles imposed by convention. Go for it, would be my motto."
Favorite or New Plant
'Vermont Sun' Forsythia
Forsythia earns its keep with its early spring burst of color, but our New England winters can kill the flower buds and dampen the show. Forsythia mandschurica 'Vermont Sun' was bred at the University of Vermont to withstand severe cold, and it has proven its worth in many parts of the country. The variety is considered hardy to USDA Zone 3, with flower buds hardy to Zone 4a. It's a "must-have" for forsythia-lovers.