Friday, January 31, 2014

Yellow in the Garden

Gardens need sunshine and what better colour symbolizes the sun than yellow? But yellow, just like the sun, can be intense. Yellow in the garden is not for everyone. But it sure is for me.

Yellow can be found in flower petals, leaves, foliage and branches. Yellow can be butter soft and pale or deep and powerful. If you are thinking of adding yellow to the garden, you should probably keep in mind the same rules we apply to red: shots of colour only or wide swatches in the distance.

The first yellow to appear in my garden will be blooming forsythia bushes. They are at the far end of my property and definitely signal that Spring has arrived. In my area of Southern Ontario, that's usually end of April.

Spring bulbs are next - many different types from the tiny Tete-a-tete to King Alfred to Tahiti.

Small bulbs appear next including Allium moly, which look super under a crown of deep blue Siberian Iris.

I still have a few surviving yellow Bearded Iris - those that haven't been destroyed by borer.

Helenium appear midsummer like yellow daisies.

Yellow roses (and ones that hint of apricot) are such an elegant change to red and pink.

Here's a ruffly yellow begonia - quite unique!

Some of the new succulents I bought last summer had Kalanchoe-type yellow blooms.

Bright yellow mums are glorious in September when so much else has faded.

Black-eyed Susans also signal that fall is coming. And then the yellows of autumn appear in full glory!

Please check out my food blog - the latest post is Grilled Italian Sausage and Zucchini with Pasta.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Red in the Garden

The colour RED is a power house. It can dominate and take over if used too much in a garden but it can also perk up a bland, pale garden with a solid shot of colour.

There are many shades of red: lots of yellow is found in scarlet and crimson. Others have more blue which then make red more of a burgundy wine colour.

Reds can be tamed by placing them closer to silver but if you put them close to white - you get a razor sharp contrast.

Red berries and bark stand out fabulously in winter against the white of snow.

The first red that will show up in my garden will be the small tulip "Red Riding Hood"

Many tulips are red, the most famous being the Darwin tulip. Above are some frilled red tulips that I received on Mother's Day.

The most successful annual I grew last summer was a red fibrous begonia. In the top picture, you see it paired with white and just as they said - it provides a sharp contrast.

The sharpness of Celosia is toned down by the silvery-gray of Dusty Miller behind it.

Climbing rose 'Blaze' is a deep rich true red. An added bonus is its velvet soft leaves.

One year a surprise white cluster rose grew beside the climbing red rose - don't they look lovely together?

Red lilies make quite a statement, especially when they are massed like this.

Maltese Cross self seeds and provides a terrific scarlet shot of colour among yellow Helenium.

Bee Balm or Bergamot is such an interesting red flower with its fountain-like blooms.

My Dad's front yard full of red dahlias in late summer are nothing short of WOW!

These "Burning Bushes" live up to their common name - they look like they are on fire!

Red berries are gorgeous against a backdrop of white snow

And if all else fails, add red cushions in your sitting area. Nice, bright and cheerful!

Please take a look at my other blog, Astrid's Home - no recipe this time but some wardrobe shopping ideas.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Blue in the garden

There's a joke that I am sure you've heard: "A woman asks: What colour is this? Cobalt? Royal? Indigo? Azure?" A man answers: It's Blue."
It just goes to show that something that seems so simple, can actually be quite complex. There are infinite shades of blue and many of them have specific names.
It's also been said that it's hard to find True Blue in the garden, and by that, the person usually means in plants and flowers.
I had a look through my photos and discovered that I had quite a number of Blue-flowered plants.

Above is Iris reticulata, a gorgeous blue Spring bulb. It's very short - 4-6" but a brilliant cobalt blue. The yellow and white markings intensify the blue.

Another early Spring bulb, Muscari or grape hyacinth, is a periwinkle shade of blue. It blooms with early tulips and spreads over the years, creating lovely swatches of violet-blue.

Scilla proliferates rapidly by seed, forming a mat of sky blue in mid-Spring.

When I first planted these fragrant hyacinths years ago, they were a dark purple-blue but over the years, they come up more blue than purple.

Pale mauve-blue creeping phlox tumbles over a boulder. It is surrounded by many colours and sizes of hosta.

Centaurea montana (perennial Bachelor's Button) is a lacy spring flower that has a fuchsia centre but pale blue frothy blooms. It is also known as Blue Cornflower.

Siberian Iris are much more blue than these photos indicate. They stand out brilliantly against their own dark green foliage and are a perfect compliment to Allium moly, the little yellow flower above.

Is Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) blue or mauve or a combination of both?

Hydrangea are often white but now come in pink, green and blue!

Dainty little Love-in-the-Mist (Nigella damascena) self-seeds and pops up everywhere.

Hostas come in many shades of blue - mostly a silvery blue and have names like Blue Wedgewood and Blue Cadet.

There are many, many more blue flowers that I love but the last one I want to mention in this post is Balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus). It's a lovely, delicate shade of pale blue but it nevertheless brightens shady corners. It also does quite well in the sun.

Need even more blue in your garden? How about adding a swimming pool or other type of water feature?

If all else fails, paint your house blue, add blue cushions to the patio furniture or paint your Muskoka Chairs a bright blue!

Please check my food blog: the latest recipe posted is for Classic Roast Chicken.