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Planning a Spring Garden

Introduction

One of the most important parts of planning a garden is deciding on the mood of the garden. The mood can be created by using color in both flowers and foliage. Decide on a group of colors that you like, and build a garden around these colors. Or compose a planter using colors that you like as a test run, and then use the same colors in a larger garden or planting bed.

Annuals are a good way to experiment with color since they only last one year -- if you don't like the results, you can change it out next season. But if you like the combination, then you can repeat it in other parts of the garden. The colors can be found in flowers as well as foliage. Colorful foliage has the benefit of long seasonal interest, whereas flowers often have a shorter season of bloom.

These plants represent three very different color groups that will set a specific mood for the garden and represent specific emotions.

Hot Colors
These hot-color plants tend to be the most exciting: Thomsonii (Abutilon pictum), Marmaduke (Begonia rex), Phasion (Canna), Alabama sunset (Coleus), Variegata (Cuphea ignea), Margarita (Ipomoea batatas), Color splach (Petunia), Yellow wave (Phormium), Album variegatum (Solanum jasminoides), Pineapple sage (Salvia).

Cool Colors
These cool color plants have a relaxing and calming effect: Hawaiian snowbush (Breynia), My Fair Lady (Diplodenia), Mini fuchsia (Fuchsia), Marine (Heliotrope), Roxanna (Syngonium), Tricolor (Tradescantia), Black panther (Streptocarpus).

Silver and White Colors
These silver-and-white-colored plants are wonderful to use in a garden that is viewed late in the day when the sun can reflect off of the leaves or at night where they glow in the moonlight: Gloucester white (Centaurea), Varieg. Dianella (Dianella t.v.), Silver falls (Dichondra argentea), Diamond frost (Euphorbia), Tomentosa (Kalenchoe), Silver grey (Santolina), Variegated (Serissa), Variegata (Tibochina).

If you would like to have all of these colors in you garden, make the overall landscape a series of smaller gardens that incorporate different color themes. For instance, the yellow foliage of an annual sweet potato vine like Ipomoea margarita could also be found in a perennial such as a Hosta or a woody shrub like Barberry.

Special Thanks
Special thanks to Dennis Schrader of Landcraft Environments Ltd. for sharing this helpful information.

Source
The Martha Stewart Show, May 2008

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