Serendipity Gardens: Rainbow chosen for garden color plan

Published 9:00 am Saturday, June 23, 2018

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears biweekly. Email her at

Every year I make my color decision of what the color theme will be for the gardens that year in about March, and this year I waited until about April to decide on the color. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and try something different, and this year I decided the color would be a rainbow. My very favorite song is “Somewhere over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland, so I thought I would embrace my love for this song and add colors that are out of my comfort zone. Red is a color that is probably at the bottom of my color choices, both in the gardens and personally, so doing the colors of the rainbow with red first — it has the longest wavelength — and each color of decreasing color away from it was kind of a heart-stopper.

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Being someone who doesn’t like to draw attention to herself, my gardens also reflect that and normally I gravitate toward the pastels. Many years ago, I did try a very wild color combination that, quite to my surprise, I loved, but it did not involve red. Several years I have used red salvia in a red, white and blue color combination that involved a small amount of red, and the other colors tamed it down to where I could live with the red in the container planting. Over the years I have also planted canna lilies with red bloom along the gray privacy fence. That didn’t make me want to shield my eyes when I looked at them, because the gray diluted the brightness of the red.

Although red is the first color in a rainbow, it will have an understated place in my gardens this time. Canna lilies in both red and yellow, a mandevilla and begonias are going to give me the small dose of red needed to fulfill the rainbow colors. Perhaps I will still plant a few red salvia, but that is going to be the extent of red.

It has been fun trying to find colors to fulfill the rainbow, and so far, I don’t have anything that I would qualify as indigo, but I do have purple angelonia. The color orange was quite easy to find plants that would fulfill that color, and yellow and green were no-brainers, but blue is another one that is hard to find in flowers. In spring I have Virginia bluebells, so technically I did fulfill that color as well as with Jacob’s ladder in a pale shade of blue. Several of my irises are pale blue, but if you want to see all the rainbow colors at the same time, it isn’t happening in my gardens.

When you take a leap of faith and go outside your comfort zone it isn’t always a bad thing, but sometimes it can be a bit scary and you just have to hope it will work out for the best.

I wonder if my red ripe tomatoes and sweet peppers would also qualify for my red colors.

Next to my little girl fountain along the back of the house I have a small area that has the color orange in several containers, and then by the Victorian gazebo is cuphea that the hummingbirds have been enjoying in a bright orange. Soon my butterfly plant will also be showing bright orange to attract the monarch butterflies.

Isn’t nature wonderful when you can enjoy it up close and personal?

The gardens will soon be ramping up their vivid colors and lots of birds, bees, insects and butterflies will be visiting them, so when July arrives it will be filled with a rainbow of colors.