Beautiful color combinations for your gardens

I love combining colors in the garden!  Sometimes it happens by accident, but mostly I think carefully about which plants I want growing together.  I consider bloom time, how aggressively the plants grow, what exposure they thrive in, and what kind of environment I have to offer.  These are some combinations I have recently come up with:


Pulsatilla after a frost.
It continued to bloom for several weeks after this.

For spring, a really stunning and unusual combination: Pulsatilla and the early-blooming white Anemone.  Pulsatilla usually starts first in my current garden, in early April when it’s still quite chilly, and blooms for a little more than a month.  Especially if deadheaded, it will bloom for a long time.  Both plants are in bloom at the same time, quite assertive in the garden, both enjoy a sunny exposure and both can tolerate some shade.  Such a charming pair of spring flowers!  Add in some species tulips and a few types of early blooming allium, and you have a stunning and unusual spring garden.  Adding the Veronica (below), and lime green Norton’s Gold Oregano creates a fabulous color combination.  All four of these – Pulsatilla, Anemone, Oregano and Veronica – would be happy in a variety of climates and conditions.  I can imagine these growing in Ohio or Iowa, or in a shaded, well mulched and amended garden in New Mexico.

This beautiful, early blooming ground cover is Veronica Waterperry Blue, which I have mentioned in earlier blogs.  There are several kinds of Veronica, but the tiny and perfect bright lavender flowers of this particular Veronica are just beautiful in any garden.  Veronicas of all types like a sunny location, but this one can adjust to some shade.  It twines gently between rocks and plants and holds it’s own when planted with Cat Mint and Alyssum.

Phlox, Veronica, Cat Mint and Basket of Gold
along with Mugwort and Iris

The Lily of the Valley is just budding.

Here, Lily of the Valley is budding, accompanied by the first Violet flowers. Quite lovely together, and must be the perfect environment for both.  This is the first time I’ve successfully grown Lily of the Valley.  It’s a well-amended garden spot located right next to a downspout.  While Violets are flexible, going from wet conditions to dry or from full sun to 1/2 day or more of shade with no problems, Lily of the Valley needs cool temperatures, moisture and shade.
Below is one of my favorite gardens.  It’s at the front entrance, and is probably the most amended and moisture-retentive garden on our property.  It gets watered by rain, and the runoff from the downspout.  I love to mix lavenders and purples with apricots, oranges and yellows, so planting the purple clematis as a backdrop to an apricot rose was all my idea, and it is beautiful!  See photos below of the clematis and rose.

From the front, Wood Betony, Norton’s Gold Oregano, Morden’s Sunrise rose, with a lovely geranium beginning to bloom to the right of the rose.  Behind those are Alchemilla, Ligularia, and some Penstemons.  Coral Bells are blooming in the far background.  The Lily of the Valley and Violets are mixed in, along with several geraniums.    It looks very shady in this photo, but this garden does get full afternoon sun starting in June, and all summer long.

Here are some photos of the rose and the clematis from last summer:

Morden’s Sunrise

I highly recommend Morden’s Sunrise rose for it’s beauty and repeat bloom when pruned immediately after blooming.  It comes back strong every year, and creates a beautiful scenario right by the front gate.  Somewhat fragrant, this is one rose that I grow for it’s amazing color, vigor and repeat bloom.  I’m leaving this one here, but will definitely have another in my new location, as it’s my husband’s favorite.  Reaches about 4′ tall and 3′ wide.  Charming!  Gets a lot of compliments.  Planted with a blue balloon flower, a bright pink Wood Betony and lime green Norton’s Gold oregano – all backdropped by a beautiful purple clematis, Venosa Violacea, shown below.



Clematis Venosa Violacea is one of my all time favorites.  This fence faces south, so it receives plenty of direct sun, and covers the entire trellis each spring and summer.  Quite impressive!

Clematis Venosa Violacea has a long bloom cycle in mid to late summer. 

Now the Geraniums have started blooming, some a little earlier than others.  Bloom time will also depend somewhat on how much sun the plant gets during these early months of spring.  How wet is it?  How dry?  Which type of Geranium is it?  There are many, and all are quite wonderful and, usually, quite vigorous.  This plant had been located in full sun in well drained soil, and did not do well at all. In this moist, somewhat shady environment,  it is much happier!

Here is another geranium that I adore!!  Sorry I don’t have the names of each one!

I have one of these geraniums in the front, partially shaded moist garden, and one in the back yard in full sun and well-drained soil.  Both are doing very well, and in fact I had to dig up part of the “full sun” geranuim, as it was crowding out a lovely Electric Blue Penstemon (pictures later).

Here’s one more lovely combination of tough, yet beautiful plants that will grow in a variety of conditions:  Iris, Norton’s Gold Oregano and Catmint

I always look forward to what comes next in the garden.  Anticipating Orange poppies, purple allium, white feverfew, penstemons, yarrows, sages, meadowsweet, roses and more!  Always a beautiful adventure!




About Sarah Wadleigh

I am a Clinical Herbalist, Organic Gardener and Nutritional Consultant for people and companion animals. I live in Madrid, New Mexico with my wonderful husband, two little dogs and a big cat. My practice revolves around helping people create health through whole-food nutrition, nutritive herbs, lifestyle and self-awareness. With more than 20 years of experience as an animal nutritional counselor, I offer consultations to improve the health and well-being of our four-legged friends, as well as their humans. We can work together via Skype, in person,or over the phone. Let's create health for ourselves and our animal companions! Contact:
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