A Current Pretty Flowering Combination

I wanted to share a photo I took yesterday with you:

I like how the colors play off each other in this vignette.  There is a shrimp-colored Oriental Poppy in the middle left of the photo, a light lavender-colored clematis named ‘Blue Ravine,’ and a dark purple clematis called ‘Haku Oakan’ beneath it.  The bright chartreuse ground cover on the left middle and bottom of the picture is Golden Creeping Jenny.  The thin-leafed, round perennial at the bottom of the photo not yet in bloom is a tradescantia, commonly known as spiderwort,  of unknown variety, but it has lovely lavender flowers when it does bloom soon.  The taller shrub behind the clematis vines is a hybrid tea rose ‘Camelot,’ which has lovely apricot-colored flowers when it blooms.  I would like to replace it with an old garden rose called ‘Mutabilis,’ which offers more disease-resistant foliage and interesting subtleties in coloration not found with the hybrid tea rose.  The silvery-leaves is the foliage of Lamb’s Ears, and there is a metal garden chair that I painted turquoise blue in the back.

I have noticed that it can be hard to blend flowers in orange colors in with other plants, but light orange, or apricot or shrimp-colored flowers look gorgeous when offset by lavender and purple.  Remember your middle school art classes and learning about complementary and contrasting colors on the color wheel–orange is nearly opposite violet on the color wheel, and the contrast in warm and cool tones is what helps to set off all of these flowers well.  The turquoise in the chair also helps, because blue is the true color tone exactly opposite orange on the color wheel.  It is difficult to find turquoise flowers, so I use turquoise on garden items that can be painted, such as chairs and containers.

Here is a close-up of ‘Blue Ravine’:

. . . and a close-up of ‘Haku Oakan’:

Another way to add more dimension, depth and interest in your plant color combinations is to use flowers in the same color, but in light and dark tones.  So the light lavender and dark purple in the above pairing work for this reason as well.

Yellow and yellow-green are opposite purple on the color wheel, which is why the chartreuse leaves of the ground cover help to set off the purple and lavender shades of the clematis flowers.  I use silver rather than a lot of white in the garden, because I have found that it is a little easier to blend color-wise.  The cool silver tones help to tone down what for some might be too much contrast in the warm and cool tones.  Plus the Lamb’s Ears has pretty pink flowers later on in the season that attract bees and hummingbirds, and I need polinators in my garden, so it’s a great plant for this purpose as well.

Please leave a comment and share some of your pretty plant color combinations from your garden!

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