As I wander through nurseries I am always on the lookout for new hybrids.  Garden magazines tend to highlight new specialties early in the year to entice us.  I am fond of perennials because I can tuck them anywhere for a spark of color.  Only once have I had the luxury of abundant space, so perennials suit me well.  Subsequently, there are endless varieties once you begin looking. 

I also know several gardeners the have pleasant color coordinated landscapes with combinations of whites, blues and purples.  Although, many gardeners have difficulty accomplishing this due to when we walk into a nursery, the isles of multicolored flora entice us in all different directions.   However, if you’re are looking to transform your space into a harmonious pattern of color, consider ones that complement each other.  Color theory is an in-depth analysis how colors react to one another and a designer can be even more affective but it’s almost as easy as using cool hues (whites, blues and purples) or warm hues (reds, oranges, yellows) paired together.

A cool hue combo could be easy as surrounding the base of a ‘White Snow Mountain’ blooming Cherry tree with some Hyacinth.  These are short bulbs which makes them easy to place and gives a burst of color early in the year.  A taller bulb option (but less likely to be placed under a small tree) could be ‘Metolius Blue’ Iris which are very popular due to their large blooms and ease of maintenance.  A rhizomatous flower that will give you an impressive statement, especially clumped together holding large blooms.  Additionally, create a sea of blue with Salvia Farinacea ‘Victoria Blue’ (commonly referred to as purple).   This delightful perennial ranges from 18”-36” in height and would pair well with a white Astilbe.

If changing the color palette into warmer hues try some ‘Goldstrum’ Rudbeckia (Black eyed Susan).  Rudbeckia is loved for its long-lasting blooms throughout the summer and late fall.  Rudbeckia is considered one tough flower, drought tolerant and generally a hardy perennial.  The seed pods are also loved by birds so consider leaving them in the fall.

Place Crocosmia nearby for added interest and to encourage hummingbirds.  The long tubular blooms appeal to them as well as other pollinators.  ‘Emily Mckenzie’ Crocosmia (Orange) or ‘Red Lucifer’ Crocosmia varieties would be very appealing next to the bright colors o Rudbeckia.

Furthermore, Gerbera x hybrida Red (Gerbera daisy) have a thick single stalk with large blooms.   They are available in a variety of colors; generally bright reds, oranges and yellows.  It is a perennial, however, often considered more of hardy annual.

The next time you are considering visiting a nursery, rather than looking for a particular plant, possibly reflect on your garden color preferences first.

Written by Karen Smith, Lane Forest Products Plant Specialist

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