As all good gardeners know, the most memorable plantings are those with outstanding color combinations. These can be made up of flowers, foliage colors and textures. If you plant for a long season of blooms, then your initial investment of time will be well paid for in the long run. You will get a long season(s) of colorful blooms for your efforts. This can be done in the garden with plants planted close to each other, or also in containers, which has the additional benefit of being able to move the plants to best advantage and also move out of sight when they are pas their peak. In selecting your plant combinations, remember to use the color wheel for inspiration if you are not versed in choosing color combos. This will give you a grat start if you are just beginning. Color contrasts are showy, and color complements are more harmonizing, being closer to the one main color choice. Remember also that you can group containers for additional effects and dramatic plantings. Plants in the ground are less mobile, but you can still add additional plants to the main planting for added interest. Trees and shrubs offer the long term foundation structure for any garden/landscape planting. Choose your additional plants with those main plants in mind, remembering when they bloom, what color, and then the leaf texture and colors. Container plantings follow the same guideline principles, and you are actually freer to experiment since the containers can be moved if certain ones with a particular color scheme do not please you as much as you wish. These design principles apply to all plantings in all exposures, sun/shade, drought tolerant/ample watering, fine texture/bold texture, and so on. First thing is to go visit a nursery and see what catches your eye, what YOU like… then begin to make group plantings around that first selection. Then stand back and observe your efforts and decide if those choices please you. If they do, continue the efforts, if not, then simply change your plan and try other choices.
Now is the time for many blooms. The many ‘daisy’ type blooms are abundant, there are other floral types and many colors. Don’t forget foliage, both in texture and also in colors. Remember chartreuse is a color neutral, all other colors go well with it. White is another and is useful to bring light into dark areas. Remember the old color classic combinations, red and green, red and white, blue and gold, pink and purple, green and yellow, orange, reds, and yellows for a warm feeling, the blue tones and pinks, and whites for a cooling effect.
Japanese Anemones are setting buds now and will be in bloom soon. They are graceful upright abundant bloomers of easy care. Thalictrum/meadow rue and columbine/aquilegia are airy and graceful, ferns give a verdant note, calylophus drummondii, some of the newer cvs of osteospurmum, helianthus(sunflowers in their great abundance) , helenium, heuchera, daylilies, true liles, salvias, and so much more offer an endless selction of wonderful blooming plants. Don’t forge dwarf selections of shrubs and trees to provide additional interest to any planting, in the ground or in a pot. Conifers too, offer almost endless variety and there are MANY dwarfs from which to choose as well.
A tip in any planting is to limit your colors in the combination plantings. Too many colors can look busy and confusing. A choice narrowed to perhaps 2 or 3 colors can be dramatic and stunning.