Monday, September 10

Whose Bright Idea Was This?

I guess it was bound to happen: My foliage tunnel vision finally came back and bit me, so to speak. I tend to forget about the baby-pink flowering phase of sedum 'Matrona' because I love it all the rest of the year... but why, oh why didn't I think about it when I planted it next to this soft purple Russian sage? The combination is so sweet, is it not? Ugh!

In an attempt at purging that appallingly cutesy sight from my brain, I'm also posting this picture of my reblooming lantana. The blue "berries" are pretty, but keeping up with deadheading them means I get to enjoy more of these bright yellow flower clusters. And they handle being planted in my dry chimney pot quite well, so they are definite front-runners to inhabit this space next year again. Just please remind me not to move one of those disgustingly adorable 'Matrona' sedums over here beside the lantana. Or maybe I need to go with one of the orangier varieties next year, just to be safe.

I swear my garden doesn't "do cute"... I'll just have to remember to tell 'Matrona' that. (If not for her lusciously moody foliage, she'd be evicted for this already.)



Laurie and Chris said...

I tried a few years ago to grow lantana, but it didn't make it through the winter. I forgot about it until I saw your picture. I don't think the purple and pink look that bad together in the picture. Maybe in person it is worse.

Unknown said...

laurie & chris, I don't think it overwinters here, either--I'm at least a zone, maybe two, too cold for that. I might have to do some online research to figure out if I can overwinter lantana inside or in the garage somehow, though. Just to see. It takes off well in the heat of the summer once it gets planted, so picking up the 4in pots of it once they go on clearance isn't too bad either.

The picture probably looks very pretty... I was just shocked. I'm not a pink girl, I'm really not. But if my Mom reads this, I know she'll be saying something like, "YES! I knew she had it in her!" (Next thing you know, she'll expect me to go dress shopping, too. *sigh*)

Anonymous said...

That is NOT cutesy! I'm not a pink person either, but the contrast with the smoky leaves and the deep red of it amaranth?...are terrific. And then there's that bit of acid yellow behind the Russian sage.

Besides, even if you don't do pink, nature does--and does it fabulously!

Entangled said...

I don't think the sedum is so bad. Really! And the amaranth looks great with it and gives some visual weight to the combo. But my 'Autumn Joy' is also in that place in the bloom cycle where I don't like it very much. I'm wondering how it would look next to some of Annie's and MSS's oxblood lilies (assuming they bloom at the same time).

Anonymous said...

I have a lantana that I overwinter inside, usually in a bright corner with east and north windows. It's not ideal. I cut it back hard. It gets some weak, spindly new growth. It loses a lot of leaves and is really messy and ugly. But they're tough. When I went to Arizona a few years ago I noticed that they are common 'parking lot plants'.

I didn't think the combo in your image was all that bad. But then I've never been accused of having a good color sense.

Ki said...

Hey, the sedum looks ok with the amaranth so maybe it's the Russian sage that need to go.

In Hawaii Lantana is an invasive. I remember hiking with bushes close to the trail and getting snagged by the thorns. So I don't have a good feeling for the plant. Pretty but nasty.

Unknown said...

slh, now that you mention it I do like the Russian sage with the acidy 'All Gold' hakonechloa. And I like the way the amaranth (you're right, they're 'Hopi Red Dye' amaranth seedlings) handles the otherwise girly pink. They just need to be separated from each other, that's all. Whew. Thanks!

entangled, that's an interesting idea. I noted in comments on another blog that you mentioned Yucca Do has oxblood lilies labeled as hardy to zone 6b... that was enough encouragement for me anyway. *grin* Maybe I should plant them near the Russian sage after I move it. That would be interesting.

Craig, thanks for the tip on how to overwinter. I'm going to give it a try because I do have just such a window and don't mind mixing "good houseplants" and "experiments" there. And as for the latter comment... well, your blog pictures say that your color and garden design sense are wonderful. :)

Ki, huh... I can't imagine hiking near a lantana bush. (Although to enjoy the paradise of Hawaii, I think I would brave it!) I haven't really noticed thorns per se, but it is kind of prickly in general.

Unknown said...

Hey entangled, I forgot to ask... what don't you like about this time of bloom on your 'Autumn Joy?'

Carol Michel said...

How pretty and sweet, soft and petite. Now just add a little cherub statue and you will have "too cute".

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

Unknown said...

CAROL!!! *gasp*

Kylee Baumle said...

Umm, Kim? I think it looks wonderful and not cute either. When I first saw the picture, I thought you were going to complain about the russian sage. To me, that's what might be out of place, if anything is, but even that isn't offensive to me. I actually like the sedum and the contrasting purple foliage around it. Honestly, in your picture, things look great!

I hate to see what you're going to think about my garden! There is very little planning that goes on there...

kate said...

I love coming here and reading about how you move plants - I tend to just leave things just because of inertia.

The Lantana is lovely ... great colour and cute too.

Melissa said...

I am having a morning - contrary.

I like the color combination and am planting it all over my yard (for the blue I am relying on flax and chicory) here is the weird thing - I hated pink until I had two little girls. I hated pink until my second little girl. My first child has tons of pictures of her in navy, black, gray, red, and some lavender.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Your blog is called a study in contrasts, isn't it? So why be bothered by something sweet? You have a lot of stuff to contrast with the sweet ! See, problem solved.;-)

Unknown said...

Kylee, the Russian sage is definitely out of place. It was temporarily stuck inside the circle that contains rich (relatively) imported soil with the thought that it would be moved to the poor native soil in front of the circle where it should be happier. It never did get moved, hence the floppiness.

Btw, I already love your garden from seeing it in pictures. And less planning goes on here than I might unintentionally lead people to believe, too. :)

kate, inertia is nice sometimes, too. I think my plants might actually grow up to be the size they want to be if I would only leave them alone. lol.

Me, that's interesting. I know that in recent years I have branched into yellow and orange flowers, but I just can't imagine adding pink to the mix. *grin* btw I think it's exceedingly cool that you're planting flax and chicory on purpose. I adore chicory--which is probably the reason it's the one weed that does NOT appear in my yard!

YE, lol! Good point! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm not wild about pinks and blues together either. I used to have blue mealy sage next to pink Salvia greggii, and I hated it. I ripped out the blue sage, and I'm loving the pink salvia again.

Why not just deadhead the Matrona to get rid of the pink? I love the burgundy amaranth next to the Russian sage.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Liberate the colors from their gender-type prejudices! Men can wear pink, it is not a girl color. Pink in the garden does not have to be "cutesy." In this combo, maybe trite, but not "cutesy." (Too English Garden.) I think the Russian sage would look better with the Lantana. Then add something plum purple to the pink/crimson planting. Any color (except orange) can look good in the garden, as long as it is used in a way that pleases the gardener. I hate orange, so there is no way it can please this gardener. Sorry.
I just planted Clematis 'Comtesse de Bouchaud,' a sweet pink if ever there was 1. I'm going to pair it with the crimson Clematis 'Madame Julia Corevon.' I hope it doesn't look "cutesy." I agree with you about the whole dress-buying, let's get a manicure & wear lipstick girly thing. It's not me & I hope it's not my garden. (For a truly gag-inspiring experience, check out Delores Umbridge's office in the "Order of the Phoenix" movie.)

Unknown said...

Pam, the thing is... with our long winters here, I like to keep up as many seedheads as possible. Once 'Matrona' gets past this color stage the flowerheads darken to a brownish color and they usually stay upright for a good part of the winter. I don't want to sacrifice those months of interest for a couple of weeks of pink. Argh. :)

mr. macgregor's daughter, your orange is my pink! I actually love orange in the garden. :)

I bet your clematis look good together, btw. I do like a good pink and red combo if it's done right.

Anonymous said...

Kim: You are too hard on the garden. I don't think it looks cutsy just pretty! Cut the suckers off if you don't like them...LOL:) They would look good in a vase! Great lantana also!

Carol Michel said...

Kim... is that a *gasp* of delight or did you not like my idea??

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

Entangled said...

Kim, I just read Tony Avent's latest e-newsletter and he's selling oxblood lilies too (I never noticed them before in his catalog), but he's only claiming hardiness to zone 7. My gardens are practically on the borders of 6b/7a.

The 'Autumn Joy' sedums are now at that gray-pink-mauve muddy stage. I looked at them again just now, and they remind me of big blobs of dryer lint. I'll like them again in a few weeks when they turn dark.

Unknown said...

layanee, I will like them again once they start to darken up... but not in their current cotton candy shade next to that sweet purple Russian sage! (I have a yellow-variegated upright sedum and some lower blue-foliaged ones that bloom pink and I pick those buds before they can bloom all of the time because I hate how they look next to the plant foliage. lol.)

Carol... let's just say I'm still a little speechless at the thought. LOL. (Definitely NIMG!)

Entangled, hmm. Tony is usually a good one for zone-rule-bending, too. Maybe if either of us tries them we should aim for a warm microclimate... maybe plant them close to the house foundation to give them a little extra warmth? I think I'm still game to try it--the payoff would be worth it. :)

And now I remember why I happily gave my friend my only 'Autumn Joy' sedum when she admired it. Big blobs of dryer lint are a great description... but you're right, when they turn dark in a few weeks they go back to being handsome!

lisa said...

Heh...I agree with many other comments, the combo isn't offensive to me, but I can see what you're saying. For purple-y foliage and dark red flowers, how about 'Purple Emperor' sedum? I also grow 'Hab Gray', that's blue foliage and white flowers...looks nice. (Not too tall so far, though. Purple emperor IS tall.) I love Kate's comment about "inertia", that's me to a tee! That said, I'm planning a major hosta makeover next spring, with a bunch of cool new cultivars, and loads of transplanting! You are definately rubbing off on me, and that's a good thing!

Unknown said...

Lisa, I just moved 3 'Purple Emporer' because they were driving me nuts... all of mine have what appear to be sunspot burns on the leaves. Do you notice that on yours? 'Hab's Gray' is a gorgeous one--if I could find it around here, I'd already have that one, too. :)

Glad to see that this influence thing goes both ways. I already have a list of winter projects thanks to you--starting with a new vermicompost system for the basement!

Digital Flower Pictures said...

You could always spray paint the Sedum any color you want (j/k). Not commenting on the colors I do like the touch of wild, layered look your getting there.

I don't want to be discouraging but the Lantana looks like um.... heck after overwintering. Even spraying it doesn't seem to help. It also seems to bring down all the adjacent plants. It does usually survive but looks bad for several weeks in the spring. What I have been doing for the last several years is I bring it inside and if it starts to look bad I get rid of it right way and pick up a couple new ones in the Spring. I hope your experience isn't as frustrating as mine has been.

Ottawa Gardener said...

hee hee. At least it's not the garish contrast of creeping mother-of-thyme pale lavender with blood red dianthus. Ah!

Anonymous said...

I think it looks good and "full."

I have no color sense. I gather that purple and pink aren't good? (I'll make a note.) I lack the sophistication to balance THIS color against THAT one. (Though my exwife was a WIZZARD with color things.) But I have NO reaction to your color combo.

My reaction is that it looks good and "full."

Very good.

I like gardens to be lush and... well... "full." I like different shapes and textures coming at me from different layers and levels. Spike leafs. Round leafs. Simple flowers. Racemes. Tall and narrow, low and wide. Yellow-green and Grey-green and Blue-green. I like to think of "rooms" in there for bees and bugs. "Full." And from it, I like to see some stalks of things too. Butterfly Bush. Hollyhock. A Hosta spear. Like a random runaway whisker in an unkempt beard. Full and thriving. Maybe some berries too.

So... in THAT regard, your top photo is a creation of wonderfulness. Wow. That's the kind of stuff I like.

But I guess everyone sees what they see.

(I'm not sure what the problem in second photo is supposed to be. Is that a color thing too?)

(Now I'm actually nervous to go home and look at my garden this afternoon. I wonder what COLORS I've made it? I haven't really thought about it before. I hope my garden isn't "cute.")

Rosemarie said...

You do realize you opened a can of worms here, do you?

My expensive 2 cents is: I Love It. I think the color and foliage are so complimentary. But this is coming from someone who ADORES her row of pink impatiens and her cat statue. ;)

Unknown said...

digital flower pictures, I admit that I do like the layering going on there. Just not the pink! Thanks for the heads up on the lantana... I may overwinter it anyway just for the heck of it, but only if I happen to have the extra room.

ottawa gardener, is that the voice of experience speaking? *grin*

Clerk, the lantana picture was meant to make me feel better, because I love the way that color combination turned out! And I do like the fullness/lushness of the first picture... and many people like putting that shade of pink and that shade of purple together in the garden. To me, it's just too "pretty," though--I've been pretty much always more "interesting" than "pretty," in all aspects of my life, so it doesn't seem to fit well in "my" garden if that makes sense. I do find it nice in other gardens, though.

ps. Anyone with all of that handsome foliage (hydrangea, foxgloves, barberries, etc.) most likely does not have a "pretty" garden. The only thing that's pretty about your garden is the new stonework--but stone has a gravity and weight that keeps it from being pretty in the same was as pink, so you're even safe there. ;)

rosemarie... I like worms! *GRIN* See, this is exactly what I meant by the NIMG meme: You like the pink-lavender combination personally, and might have it in your garden... I can appreciate that it works, but personally I would not want to see it all of the time in mine.

Shirley said...

Hi there, Kim

Firstly, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the chat in the comments! But hey, I can also see where you are coming from :-)

You really are a woman after my own heart! Friends used to tell me that my plants would shiver when I went out into my garden. I have also had references to suitcases and holidays over the years :-) Funnily enough, this year I haven’t changed too much – maybe I have been unwell! LOL.

I don’t do ‘sweet pink’ and have only recently have seen orange as acceptable – but it has to be bright orange! I am opening my palette from the many wonderful shades of green in my garden :-)

Colour is really just down to personal taste. To me you are doing an inspiring job with colour, texture and plant types and I look forward to seeing more :-)

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