A different colour scheme for the garden

I’ve been playing with some colour combinations for the entry garden, trying to incorporate the orange tulips and roses that were already present. This is a design in progress obviously, so the final planting may well turn out to be completely different.

My own preference has always been towards blues, and initially thought that orange would be quite complex to work with. I surprised myself by being able to use blue, silver, and gray foliage as foils for orange.  Purple was another colour to bring in, as there are purple hazels among a hazel hedge nearby. Plants such as Hyppophae with its bluish leaves and Vitamin C-rich orange fruits or Abies koreana with its blue-green needles and purple cones in spring; certain irises with blue-green leaves and orange and purple blooms; and Berberis with purple foliage and reddish-orange berries helped me see that these combinations are natural complements. Euphorbia species provide much-needed zing to brighten up the purple and silvery greys with acid green (acid yellow, if you prefer) and some, like E. ‘Great Dixter’ and E. ‘Fireglow,’ have orange and purple tones in their leaves and flowers as well. One of my finds is of a new Miscanthus, ‘Ghana’, which colours up orange and purple in the autumn. Exciting!

The design is for an Eastern exposure on a slope, with clay soil, which is very sticky when wet and cracks during the summer. I suspect the soil is acidic but have yet to do a proper test. There are colonies of honey fungus (Armillaria mellea and related species) during the autumn, so plants have to be fairly resistant.

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