Spring brings color to the gardens
Published 9:00 am Sunday, April 17, 2016
Serendipity Gardens by Carol Lang
My gardens are a never-ending carousel of colors from spring through fall, with so much excitement for the eyes to behold. Sometimes, when I sit on a bench and take in all of the flowers, I am overwhelmed at the beauty they provide. Peace and serenity are abound by the constant changing of colors as if it was the changing of the guard. I am privileged to be a part of it. Every color of the rainbow is present in the lovely blooms.
The carousel begins in early spring when the Virginia bluebells appear, along with the pink and white of the bleeding hearts, yellow of daffodils, purple on the chives and white of the bloodroot. Later in spring the poppies are shouting out in bright orange to grab my attention.
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As the containers start their succession of blooms, we see pink ivy geraniums, blue lobelia, white eyeliner lilies, purple angelonia and white or shades of purple alyssum, with a blood-red spike in the center of the containers. Who could pick out their favorite color among all of this wildness? Sometimes even the different greens in the shade garden make me want to linger and see each and every one of them.
Every season the colors are different, and yet they are the same hues — just in different combinations from the previous years. The larkspur that self-sows in the cutting garden blends the colors of purple, pink, blue and white among the bright orange of the butterfly weed and the colors of cranberry, pink, white and rose of the cosmos. This menagerie of colors should be almost too much for the eyes to behold, but somehow they all play off each other and blend this riot of colors together for a pleasing effect.
In May, as the migrating birds visit the gardens, it is another carousel of colors for me to enjoy: the red cardinal, blue jay, yellow of the goldfinch, blue of the indigo bunting and rose, black and white of the grosbeak, tawny brown/grey of the mourning doves, scarlet tanager and so many other shades of brown, gray and white of the birds.
As I look back over photos of the past few years, I always think I will repeat that color combination again, but then when I go to the garden centers and see all the new varieties available, I just have to try some of them. Then, the color scheme changes.
One of my favorite photos has the stately yellow rudbeckia in the background, while the purple coneflowers combine so well with them. On the fence are the morning glories in shades of deep purple, orange tiger lilies adding such a carousel of colors. If those colors weren’t enough, the mauve of Joe-pye weed seems to calm down the explosion of colors.
Once the zinnias start their progression of blooms from several different varieties they just shout out at me to stop and take a second look. No wonder the butterflies love visiting my gardens. Pink, purple, red, orange, lime and yellow make such a striking combination of colors from the rainbow. Zinnias are a favorite of both the monarch and swallowtail butterflies seeking sweet nectar. I always have lots of them in the different gardens.
Long ago I stopped planning color combinations, and I have paired some pretty hot colors together that have really been gorgeous. This is one gardener that doesn’t follow the rules! If I like it then I add it to the gardens. Yes, I have had my share of failures in my own eyes, but the butterflies don’t seem to mind at all. Sometimes you have to take chances and if it doesn’t work, you can always move the plant to some other location — whether it is in a container or planted in the ground. Just make it your garden and don’t worry about what others think.
Sunflowers pop up all over my gardens, planted by the birds or squirrels, and I usually just leave them where they are. Once I had one that grew to over 10 feet tall that was covered in hundreds of blooms right next to a bench on the patio — it was sensational to look at and I had to tie it to the bench so it wouldn’t topple.
“Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words. They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning.” — Lydia M. Child
Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears weekly. Email her at email@example.com.