September 16, 2013

Annual Beds With Bold Color Scheme

This post features photos of bold-hued annual beds at Temple Square that were among my favorites.  You know how some gardens just look like a bunch of flowers, but other gardens work together so well that they make you catch your breath?  These areas made me catch my breath.  Above you can see yellow Rudbeckia, deep red geraniums, coral-orange impatiens, coral geraniums, coral begonias, coral diascia, orange zinnias, violet heliotrope, and lavender browallia.  There is enough repetition that it doesn't look chaotic, yet there is enough variety to keep it interesting.   

These flower beds surrounded this walkway between some of the buildings east of the temple.  This is the wide view looking south over the area. 

Above is the wide view looking north.  If I'd had more time, I would have enjoyed sitting on the benches and just taking it all in.   

Isn't this color fabulous?  There is plenty of green from the annual leaves and the overhanging trees to make all the bold colors pop.  This bed includes many of the same flowers from the first photo, plus linear blue-violet Salvia farinacea and some pink impatiens and zinnias.  The clump of perennial daylily leaves at the bottom right adds nice texture. 

Beautiful trees provide structure to the roundy-moundy annual flowers below.  Those deep red geraniums are just luscious.  The funny thing is that I don't have any red in my own garden, and I keep saying I don't like orange flowers (I'm not sure if I believe myself anymore), but all these red and orange flowers really spoke to me.  They worked well with all the other colors in this design. 

After taking photos early Friday morning (well, not that early - you can see the sun getting too strong in some of these photos), Marilyn and I met with one of the head gardeners for several hours.  Larry Tavenner has been working at Temple Square for 39 years and is retiring at the end of this month.  I was happy to learn that he designed the gardens in these photos.  He was remarkably humble and generous with his time.   

To be a truly great garden designer, you have to have an eye for artistry and a brain that can remember long lists of plant characteristics, preferred growing conditions, etc.  Many people have one or the other, but it's harder to find both in one person.  It was amazing to hear Larry talk about his summer annual designs as well as his spring bulb/annual designs and realize how much information he carries around in his head.  He talked about working on designs until they just felt right.  These areas certainly felt right to me!   


  1. There is definitely something to be said for such bold use of color!

  2. Hi VW,

    Lovely bright colours indeed! Hrm. I need more colour at this time of year and can't always depend on Asters/Sedum... No fan of annuals but they are very handy and of course you get to change things each year so shouldn't get bored.

  3. You've captured lovely images of these beautiful gardens. What a treat for you to learn from such a master. My husband has the opportunity of walking through these lovely gardens a couple of times each week as he makes his way to the Church Office Building. The experience is surely solace to his soul. I am quite envious. Question for you... were the impatiens mixed in with the sun loving blooms? The sun gets so hot here that I'm curious. If they are mixed in, the other flowers must give them protection from the heat?

    1. Carolyn, none of the impatiens get full sun, but some of them do get an awful lot. Larry said he often interplants them with upright vinca, and the vinca flourish during the heat while the impatiens languish, and then when it cools down in September the impatiens pop up and look beautiful by Gen Conf, while the vinca slow down in the cool. Larry also plants all types of coleus in the sun, and he says they do fine as long as they get water. How wonderful for your husband to watch the gardens as they change through the year - I really, really want to get back in April to see the spring show.


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