gardener in April. That is when cars almost automatically turn in the
direction of garden centers where everyone stocks up on their favorite
plants for spring.
For many people,
the first choices are some of the many annuals that are already in
bloom with the promise of more to come in the months ahead.
The choices are
dazzling, particularly in the great range of colors that are in the
marketplace now. And that raises a question about how to combine this
fabulous array in your flowerbeds.
The first rule
is to follow your heart. Most everyone has favorites on the color
spectrum. These colors such as bright red, vivid purple or cheerful
yellow make them happy at the first sight. Donít be afraid to walk
into a garden center and tell yourself, "I really like
orange," or "This year, Iím going for violet."
Once you know
this, you can forge ahead. Then, surrounded by all these colors you
realize you will not be happy with just one.
the wonderful task of mixing them awaits. Some gardeners may fear
this, thinking they may do it wrong and mess up the entire summer. But
those of us who practice mixing colors know it works every time.
That is because
the colors of nature go together beautifully. The most beautiful
flowerbeds I have ever seen combine many colors.
If you are just
beginning, look at this task in a couple of ways.
The first is
varying tones of one color. Pink and yellow flowers, for example, come
in many shades from pale and soft to bright and vivid. It is the same
with purple, which ranges from palest lilac to deepest violet. Tones
of the same color always look good and interesting together. This is
especially effective in large containers or hanging baskets.
approach which never fails is to choose the three primary colors, red,
yellow and blue, and mix them up with various annuals. This makes a
beautiful sight, refreshing, vivid and easy to accomplish with the
range of choices on the market today.
You do not have
to make a clear, one-third division among these colors. It is fine if
one, red million-bells or yellow marigolds, dominate. Let the blues
and yellows provide the supporting cast. Yellow, even in small
amounts, will add zing and zest to a bed, the same way it does with an
arrangement in a vase.
those two approaches to color, you will gain confidence in mixing
plants. That will lead you to a third one, which boils down to
combining very bold colors. Red and purple, purple and orange or
orange and blue may not seem made for each other, but they combine
very well, especially when you choose the vivid tones of these colors.
If your eyes need time to adjust to these hot combos, add a bit of
green foliage and see how you like that. The addition of silver
foliage or white flowers will also accomplish this bit of softening.
Q. What is the
best way to deal with dandelions? I hate to use chemicals
A. The best way
is to dig them up and do it before the flowers set seeds. Of course,
if you have children who delight in blowing the seed heads, let them
have their fun but prepare to dig again when those seeds produce new