Tuesday, July 10, 2012
What have I done?????
Do you ever have a moment when you look up and realize you've created something utterly jarring? Somehow I managed to plant these two plants together (Monarda 'Jacob Cline' and Agastache 'Tutti Frutti')...and the clash of colors sets my teeth on edge!
These two plants live in the stock tank in our driveway, which I had originally planted with Macleaya cordata and an evergreen Carex to screen our recycling/trash bins from view. Well...the Carex bit the dust after their first winter (probably why I've never been tempted to plant more Carex) and the Macleaya just kind of limps along. On an unrelated topic...in the upper right corner of this photo is the huge Laurel we inherited with the house...and if anyone has any ideas how to make it look better...please, TELL ME!
Last year, as I was moving things around, the Monarda and Agastache were tossed into the stock tank since I just couldn't figure out where to put them. They both flopped badly anywhere else I planted them...but the harsher conditions in the stock tank seemed to at least keep them upright.
This year is the first year either of the plants actually produced more than a few blooms, however, and I can't help but find the resulting mash-up to be garish beyond words. I blame the Monarda...and this is why I (almost) never buy plants in primary colors...they just seem a little too bright, too strident, too pushy.
There is a benefit, however, they sit right outside my office window...and the hummers love them...so I guess I'll let them stay...at least until the Macleaya gets it's act together and shoulders them aside ;-)
Maybe it's just me and my preference for more subdued colors (I know, I know, bright colors are all the rage right now)...what do you think? Also...have you ever inadvertently planted things that just DID NOT work together???
BTW...I was recently paid a visit by Kate Byrant, Author of Terrarium Craft, and Gardening Editor at Portland Monthly (the magazine I work for) with her photographer-friend, Joshua McCullough. I have to admit...I was a tiny bit nervous...after all, here were two people who are IMMERSED in the world of gardening & design...to have them view my garden was a bit intimidating! Of course, I worried needlessly, they are both fabulously wonderful people...and as with most gardeners, we had no shortage of things to talk about. Check out PART ONE of my "interview" with Kate, where I discuss my top five plants of the year! The second half of the interview will appear this week!
Posted by scottweberpdx at 4:30 PM
Labels: agastache, clash, Color, flower, garden, garish, glaring, mistake, monarda, oregon, pdx, pink, portland, Red, summer, unfortunate
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Personally I like the purple and red together. But the combo does stick out when compared with the color palette of the rest of your garden. What if you replace the Jacob Kline with a lavender variety, especially since they bring the hummers to your window?ReplyDelete
I think you're right...it's more that the colors are just outside my "comfort zone"...I'll have to think about it...maybe I just need to enjoy it for what it is, right?!?Delete
OMG Scott......I think we need to pull your Gardener's Card. Not really, I think it looks great! The laurel, plain and simple: remove and plant something more festive.ReplyDelete
Hahahahahahaha...that's sort of how I feel, for some weird reason...isn't it silly how critical we can be of ourselves!Delete
How funny, I have this same combination with a monarda and agastache and love it! It reminds me that here in San Antonio it's simply not possible for any two colors to clash.ReplyDelete
The difference is the geography.
Hahahaha...I think you may be right...perhaps it's just too much for me :-)Delete
I love purple and red together and think they look lovely!!! Wish I had a garden like yours!!!ReplyDelete
If you're ever in the area, I can certainly give you some of each...I have plenty!!!Delete
I think they look joyful and don't find them garish at all. The foliage of the monarda is a bit on the light green side and could use some liquid fish/kelp fertilizer. Once it greens up the contrast might not seem so extreme. But if you really hate the Jacob Kline you could replace it with a lighter hued monarda.ReplyDelete
Ahhhh...maybe you're right...I hadn't even considered that. The funny thing is...part of me kind of relishes how bright it is now...perhaps I'm mellowing ;-)Delete
I like the laurel the way it is..an evergreen background. The rest and the color mix..actually quite nice to me! Maybe the best thing is to step back, and try to see it in a different light? Looks exuberant.ReplyDelete
I think you're right...the more I thought about it...the more it seems almost "necessary"...if nothing else but as a place for the eye to rest...I think I just need to find a way to prune it to enhance its positive aspects.Delete
Scott -- don't think of it as purple and red. Think of it as green and purple and red. :-)ReplyDelete
How about adding another plant that produces some white blooms? That could help tone it down a bit if you're not satisfied.
I think the laurel is not bad -- it's a "calm" spot, and a nice deep green for some contrast. It's also got relatively large leaves compared to the other plants in that area, which is necessary. If it really doesn't work for you, is the space big enough for a Fargesia robusta? Something with larger leaves might be better though.
Hahahahaha...I think that's a good point, Alan...I may have been focusing too much on one aspect of the pairing. I agree with you on the Laurel...the more I look at photos of the garden...it's definitely a contrast to everything else...and as you said, a much-needed calm spot amidst the chaos!Delete
I do the same thing all the time. Seems like I have a cohesive palette, until POW. What was I thinking. Fortunately, all of the combinations I love came from happy accidents so it works both ways.ReplyDelete
It's reassuring to know I'm not alone in such things...and you're probably right...after all, at one point I hate purple and orange in combination...now I rather relish them together!Delete
I say let it grow on you a bit before ripping it out. Maybe add some California poppies to push it way over the edge?? I am no help, I know. Congrats on the interview!! I am off to read it!ReplyDelete
You're absolutely right...I've already thought better of it and have decides to enjoy it for what it is...exuberant!Delete
Well, I am going to agree with you, Scott, I do think the colors clash. I have a similar color clash going on right now in my garden, the bright magenta of rose campion and the screaming RED of elderberries ripening. It is hard to look at, but at least with you, the hummers love both flowers. I would move one of them. I plan to move mine in the fall.ReplyDelete
I have lots of Carex in my garden, I love it! You should buy more! Carex elata 'Bowles Golden' is a favorite. And Carex testacea turns such a pretty shade of orange (IMHO).
How cool to have garden visitors who loved your garden. Of course they would.
I may still do that, Alison...I'm going to let it be for the time being...and see what I can do...and you're right, the hummers love it and that makes it even harder to mess with!!! I love that particular Carex...every time I see it in a garden, my heart hurts a little...perhaps I'll try it again...nothing ventured, nothing gained, right!?!Delete
Scott,I like to limb-up shrubs like this if the branching structure is attractive. It keeps the green canopy but does not appear as such a 'heavy' presence.Stick your head in there and see what it looks like. If that Agastache was Salvia ugilinosa...ooo-la-la! Still I am jealous. I've been trying to get Monardas to bloom for 10 years in my garden.Who can't grow Monarda ???ReplyDelete
That's such a good idea...especially since it would allow me to underplant it with something more intersting :-) Actually...I have A LOT of trouble with certain Monardas...this one and 'Raspberry Wine' are the only ones I've had for more than 2 years.Delete
i don't see the clash. if anything, reds+pinks+purple combos are very TRENDY right now. if you want to see those two colors together, just watch how 20 somethings dress.ReplyDelete
Hahahahahahahahaha...perhaps I'm just not comfortable being trendy, I guess!!!Delete
I can't believe you haven't been featured before in PM. I loved reading your plant picks, then looking out into my yard and realizing how much impact you've had on my garden. My knautia are just getting going and I love it. I have become a bit of a grass whore and I blame/thank you.ReplyDelete
Hahahaha...well...I'm more of a curmudgeon than the people they usual interview ;-) I'm so excited your Knautia is doing well...and it's always awesome to feel like you've inspired something in other gardeners...I think that's one of the coolest things about blogging. I honestly can say I've taken away or learned something from every blogger I visit...yourself included ;-)Delete
Congratulations ofn the feature!ReplyDelete
Hi Scott, I don't like red with pink either, especially in those shades. But I wouldn't blame the monarda if I was you! I think the red monarda gets along well with the grayish orange of the macleaya, once in flower, you should get rid of the agastache instead! The laurel looks just fine, it does a nice background to the finely textured border, what is that you don't like of it?ReplyDelete
You could be very right, Alberto...I think my anti-red bias might just be getting the better of me ;-) I think you're right, it's not the Laurel...it's me...I just think it's kind of dark and boring...but the more I look at it, the more I think it just needs a proper pruning to bring out it's good qualities.Delete
I don't care for red (or orange) with my garden--it's all pinks/blues/whites/yellows. I've spent YEARS trying to get rid of those two colors, but birds (?) keep ensuring I have more.ReplyDelete
Hahahaha...oh dear...those blasted birds! I generally have the same palette...I honestly think this might be the only truly red flower in my garden!Delete
The blooms are very pretty, but it's not the best combo in color but I don't think it's too bad, but that's the fun of gardening, moving things until we get them right. You'll have it right by next year. :)ReplyDelete
Cher Sunray Gardens
So very true...and you're right, of course...it's not THAT bad...I'm just kind of sensitive ;-)Delete
Jacob looks very happy growing in that spot. The red acts an an accent among all the blues and purples. Leave it-it's fabulous!ReplyDelete
I know!!! That's what makes me feel bad about moving it...this is the first year it's looked so good...it's practically doing a happy-dance!Delete
I rather like the red and purple together: we have Monarda 'Cambridge Scarlet' flowering against Verbena bonariensis and I like the combination.ReplyDelete
If you must keep the laurel, then you could utilise it as a dark backdrop for plants that require one, or you could scramble a clematis up/through it.
OMG...I love the idea of a Clematis growing up through the Laurel...that would give it so much more interest!Delete
Sometimes the key to making two colors work together is to add the perfect third color to blend them . . . maybe deep violet? Though I'm not sure what would bloom at the same time in that color. Hmmm. Good luck!ReplyDelete
You could be totally right...I may have to play around with other colors...there has to be something that makes them pop!Delete
I like the bright color combination. Hopefully, they'll distract from the unfinished shed....ReplyDelete
Hahahahahahaha...they aren't bright enough for that ;-)Delete
I like red and pink together but for some reason this combo is not quite right. Maybe add something else to the mix. As for the laurel you may want to consider thinning it out a little otherwise I like it.ReplyDelete
Exactly...it's not like red and pink can't work together...these two just kind of have a "tension" about them...hmmmmm.Delete
That hot red just tells you it's finally summer, and the purple being there will keep it from making rash decisions. (The hummingbirds got it right.)
You might make a large topiary from the laurel...
Hahahah...that's for sure!!! I think that's a good idea...I really need to consider the Laurel again, don't I ;-)Delete
Scott - I vote with linniew: make topiary! Laurel leaves are too large to work with for any fine detail work so a squirrel or bird may be a bit much to ask but you could make a sphere or tidy oval which would really accentuate the lovely swirly meadow grasses and perennials. Thank you so much for having me and Josh. We really enjoyed spending some time with you two. I hope to return soon!ReplyDelete
I am starting to agree on the Laurel...suddenly, it seems like amidst the generally "free-form" spirit of my garden...perhaps something more formal like a topiary would be a wonderful counterpoint. I'm glad I brought it up...I was feeling so unhappy with it's big, hulking presence...now I'm starting to think of all the possibilities it could provide! I was so glad to have you over, and I hope you visit again too :-)Delete
What's interesting is that Monarda likes wet feet and Agastache likes dry feet and yet they co-exist beautifully. Here's my tip for the day: When I had a bevy of unseemly orange-esque tulips blooming amid the softer pink hues, know what I did? I cut them orange buggers and brought them indoors. Methinks you could do the same with the Agastache if you decided you were unable to tolerate it with Jacob any longer.ReplyDelete
And I vote for limbing up the Laurel. You can plant something cute under it or if the ground is too hard, use the spot for a series of containers. Plus you can hang dangly things on the Laurel's laurels. :)
I know...it's it bizarre!!! Cut flowers seems like a great idea...especially since this Agastache smells AMAZING!!! After reading all these comments, I agree...I think I'm going to limb-up the Laurel and give it the topiary treatment :-)Delete
I don't think they clash with each other. Red and purple is a great combination. Your starting a new trend here.
I think a visit to the Japanese Garden could show you how to prune that shrub (though they do it with camelias). I saw a laurel hedge that was opened up to expose the lower branches and it was spectacular.ReplyDelete
I don't think the red and purple together are so very bad. That being said, I made a similar mistake with my bee balm, moving it to a section of the garden where the colors are more pastel shades of blue, yellow, and pinks. To my eye, it looks really out of place. I think that I am finally just realizing that I like the idea of the bee balm more than I like the reality of it!ReplyDelete
I am a little late to this party Scott, but I like the red and purple together. To 'fix' it, plant more red!! Make it look like you want it there, that is not an accident.ReplyDelete
Actually the monarda has a bit of purplish red at the base of the bloom anyway, so it kind of reflects off the the purple agastache. Looks fine to me.ReplyDelete
I've done worse! And I do it regularly since I just bring home cool plants and throw them in wherever this is open space and then move them later. Did you see this one? I'm surprised nobody commented on how hideous the combo of the 'Route 66' with 'Grand Marshall' was!ReplyDelete
I like the color combo too, it's like my Crocosmia 'Lucifer' planted next to a giant butterfly bush. When I see red, I am happy thinking of the hummingbirds that will be delighted by it. I planted a few more trellises of runner beans for themReplyDelete
this year. It is so amusing seeing them stake out their territory. Lovely photos as usual.
On the computer screen, those colors look fine together to me. I have Jacob Kline in the back, and like it with the gray headed coneflower. One thing about the monarda, too, is that it doesn't have an overly long bloom time. I can't remember if they bloom again after being deadheaded.ReplyDelete
I am disappointed I haven't seen any hummingbirds yet this year.