May 16, 2011

Saturated Spring Color in the West Bed



It has been so exciting to see the vivid colors burst into bloom in the west flagstone bed this spring. It ended up as a rainbow of hues - warm purple, deep indigo blue, green leaves of course, golden yellow, orange-red, and hot pink.



The most rewarding part for me has been to finally have an area of the garden that looks 'designed'. Although the front yard is getting to that organized, polished point, it's not quite there yet. And of course the backyard abounds with pretty plants that are thrown in together without much planning.



Anyway, this west bed features repeating clumps of plants - both perennials and bulbs - that tie the whole area together and draw you along the path. Though it didn't turn out exactly as planned . . . the orange-red tulips were supposed to be peach 'Daydream' with a 'pencil-thin dark edge'. Hmmm. These tulips do not look like the picture on the bag from Costco. But I think their vivid color works even better than the soft peach would have, so I'm not complaining.



This photo shows Alyssum 'Basket of Gold' with dwarf purple irises (from my friend Robyne) and Aubrieta 'Axcent Purple' in the background. I grew the Alyssum from seed last year, so the clumps are still small, but they're adding a bright note of gold to the design.



I have been so impressed with this type of Aubrieta. It has been blooming for nearly two months now, outlasting each wave of bulb blooms and continuing to provide cheerful color. I highly recommend this plant, which also comes in rose, blue, and I'm pretty sure I saw a golden yellow version as well.



Here we have 'Crown Princess Mary' tulips, which were ordered from White Flower Farm last fall. It's another plant that I'd strongly recommend, since each bulb gives several peony-like blooms. It's given a lot of bang for each bulb. Of course my daughters are quick to point out that the beautiful hot pink color is their very favorite part of this bed!



I've learned that the only thing better than a beautiful plant is a beautiful plant set off by the perfect accent plant, so the colors, forms and textures of both plants enhance each other. In this case the 'Axcent Purple' Aubrieta is the perfect accent (ha-ha) for the tulips.



Here's a shot showing a 'Blue Jacket' hyacinth, which started blooming before most of the other plants and are completely spent by now. I cut back all the flower spikes yesterday.



Thankfully, as the 'Blue Jacket' hyacinths finished, these 'Blue Spike' grape hyacinths started up (Muscari armeniacum - available from Brent & Becky's bulbs). They are larger than most grape hyacinths but still smaller than regular hyacinths. They have proven to be good naturalizers for me, coming back in bigger clumps each year.



This photo highlights the difference in color between the warm purple dwarf irises and the true blue of the grape hyacinths.



Here's another shot showing how well three different forms can work together - airy, lacy golden Alyssum with bold balls of pink from the tulips and a mat of purple Aubrieta.



I'll end with a final shot of the tulips-which-are-not-'Daydream' with purple and pink in the background, to remind me that surprises can be even better than the plan. Now I'm looking forward to salvia, bearded irises, catmint, asiatic lilies, english roses, daylilies, coreopsis and yarrow to bloom in this area as the season progresses. Plenty of vivid color to come.

24 comments:

  1. What an astonishingly beautiful color combination!

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  2. Beautiful! I think the colors work well and aubrieta is a great little plant. What are you growing between the paving stones?

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  3. 'Elfin' thyme is growing in between the stones. It blooms a warm lavender-pink color, which wouldn't work with this spring color scheme, but I'm hoping it works out OK with whatever else is blooming when it starts flowering.

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  4. This is a really lovely garden! Great job! It is so satisfying to see something finally coming together. I am feeling that way this year.

    As you say, I think your mislabeled tulip was unexpected, but good. I would have done the same thing: chosen the soft pink tulips. But these look so well here! Few of us have the fortitude to make such a choice on purpose. This should be a reminder to us to be more adventurous in color selection! :)

    And it is so cute that your girls love pink too. It is inherent, I think.

    Also, I love the idea of listing your new plants on the right... and the photo of your adorable family! I feel the same way about mine! Hence the Wife, then Mother, Then Gardener. It is a reminder to me of what is most important in life.

    Thanks for reading my book/comment ;)
    Julie

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  5. It looks so pretty! I love the colors of the different flowers together. The peony looking tulips are really nice. I'm planning to add lots more tulips this fall and it's good to see what they really look like in a garden. My youngest would go crazy for the pink too.

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  6. Truly beautiful! I love the colors!

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  7. Love your bold colors! I know how bright Basket of Gold is, really packs a punch. I will look into that Grape Hyacinth, it is almost fluffy.

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  8. Great colour combo! The orange and purple really pop!
    The peony tulips are gorgeous. I planted some Rococo tulips early autumn which Im looking forawrd to! I think also some double Black Princes'. I read somewhere that Ranunculus work well with tulips, so I planted some black doubles too. Although now I'm wishing I went with a purple and orange scheme this year...

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  9. Just gorgeous VW! The view from my window now is stunning too! Autumn in all its glory - golds, reds, oranges and yellows. I must admit, I always look forward to Spring so enjoy seeing your garden coming back to life. :)

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  10. Beautiful! Those Mary tulips are something else...I may need to track some down. :)

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  11. I appreciate the comment about following design principles in your plant purchases. I also noticed you said that felicitously. I try to start with a plan but when I visit a nursery it goes out the window. Have been better lately as I am running out of room....

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  12. Dear VW, Your garden is amazing! I love the way your blooms go right up to the flagstones, with no other border. It looks very natural, although I know it was well planned. P. x

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  13. Love the colors of your garden! I agree with your statement "the only thing better than a beautiful plant is a beautiful plant set off by the perfect accent plant". Your garden really does look designed. Great job!

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  14. Oh, VW. That is just the prettiest bed I have seen this spring. I love the bright colors. Just gorgeous girl! I really like the Blue Spike Grape Hyacinths. I saw them in another garden and just loved the packed in look of the blooms. I have got to remember them this fall. LOL! Have a wonderful week.

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  15. Gorgeous. I'm glad to see a longer-blooming Aubretia. Beautiful photos, VW. I love your photos!

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  16. Hi VW, don't have anything new to add, agree with others that adore the bright colour combo, and the path looks fabulous, beautifully designed. And, as usual, inspirational photography. cheers, cm

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  17. Wow, spectacular. I'm glad I found your blog! That is an amazing bed of flowers you have there. So neat that they're all blooming together!

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  18. Very nice bed ! Congratulations !

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  19. Gorgeous colors, compositions and blooms VW! Lovely! Your crabapples sound lovely too. I do not know the names of mine. They are leftovers from a flower design rental I had many years ago. I would not have chosen the exact trees are they are funky really. It is wonderful to grow older with trees . . . we all widen at our girths together! ;>)) Thanks so for all your kind words!

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  20. Hi VW,

    Wonderful photos, I'm glad your garden is coming to life for you; the colours are all so stunning! :)

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  21. Saturated color indeed! Just stunning. Your pictures sure do it justice too.

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  22. Blog hopping & just came across your darling gardening blog...I host a garden party on Thursdays & would love to have you link up sometime???? xoxo, tracie

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  23. Aha - I may have figured out what my mislabeled reddish/orange/yellow tulips are. They look like 'American Dream' - it's easy to imagine how that got mixed up with 'Daydream' on the label. Strongly perennials, so hopefully they'll be back next year.

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