Make the Most of Late Summer Colour
We often forget the importance of colour throw caution to the wind and mix all shades and tones in our borders. If we dressed in so many colours of varying shades and tones our attire would probably raise an eyebrow or two! A little bit of planning and organisation allows you to decide if you want a harmonious garden, choosing colours that are similar or perhaps a dramatic contrast, selecting opposite shades.
We all have our own preferences but I like to plant crimson reds (with blue tones not yellow) combined with purply blues, pinky blues, neutral whites with foliage plants in greens, silver including shrubs like the Pittosporum and dark red foliage like the amazing Smoke Bush. This is my favourite border combination and it creates a harmonious mix of colour. It is a good colour combination because there are a lot of plants that can be included in this colour scheme throughout the year.
It is now late summer and at the back of my border Verbena Bonarienses hovers in clouds providing a swath of purply eye level interest.
The front of this bed is edged with Geranium Max Frei (low growing rose pink). My deep purple Salvias have passed their best but tall stems of white Physostegia and grand Verbascums are maintaining their structure. Penstemon Raven (deep red/purple) , Penstemon Wedding Day (white), Thalictrum (mauve) all bring lots of late summer colour. Frosted silver Echinops adds a thistly texture and complements the fury leaves of the Silver Stachys. I have also added Erodium (bluey pink) which stands about a foot tall towards the front of the border and flowers continuously from early to late summer.
Interspersed throughout the border are the seeds of Nigella I sprinkled in the spring. The beautiful Love in the Mist seed heads are in shades of white, mauve and blue. Pockets of space between the plants are bursting with blue Cranesbill Geraniums (one of the best blues is Rozanne)
My hollyhocks have just opened in a deep crimson double red and look magnificent with this colour scheme. They are under planted Hidcote blue lavender and throughout the space I have slipped in some repeat flowering pinky blue(Princess Ann) David Austin Roses because I could not live without them! This is a harmonious calming border.
If you are inclined to a more dramatic theatrical garden plant colours that are opposite on the colour wheel. Bright blues with bright oranges will be striking. Try Tomato Soup Echinacea and Orange Geums , Gallarda Sunburst, orange daylilys (Hemerocallis),
Montbretia (Crocosmia with more Johnsons blue or
blue Agapanthus and Veronica spicata and Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’ for texture. Alternatively try a yellow and purple combination and take advantage of the wonderful gold Achillea out at the moment and so easy to grow. Or try red against green and use the gorgeous red Coreopsis Lime Rock Ruby.
If you would like more help understanding colour we have a fact sheet on our website explaining the principles of colour compiled by the local artist Sue Newstead