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A Gardening Life – May 19th

When it comes to choosing colors for the garden it’s surprising how many people tell me, “I like any color but red.” Maybe the slogan from the Cold War era, better dead than red,  is so deeply embedded that it’s turned millions away from appreciating this hue. I have come to believe, however, that even small touches of red make a garden come alive. Since most of our landscapes are filled with green foliage, and red and green are complementary colors, it’s no wonder that bright scarlet flowers, foliage or objects add pizazz.

Do you have a shade garden with more leaves than flowers? A chair or bench painted red will add instant energy and style. Is your perennial garden filled with pinks, blues, and purples? Wake it up with some red coleus or red-flowering annuals. Some of my favorites include ‘Scarlett Magic’ tassel flower (Emilia javanica), Profusion Zinnias, ‘Disco Red’ marigolds, or red Salvia.  If you want perennials, cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) does well, even in part shade, and it’s brilliant flower will be an exclamation point in the landscape.

Adding red to the garden is like discovering a new spice for your food…once you learn what difference a small dash can make, you will wonder how you every cooked without this exciting flavor.

If you don't want to plant red flowering selections, try some red furniture. You can always repaint it blue or green....


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