Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Purple Inspiration

Purple can be used to help create a desirable mood in the garden — from peaceful to romantic to inspiring. In color theory purple traditionally indicates knowledge, self-respect, spirituality, dignity and wealth. In the landscape it promotes feelings of inner calm and self-worth, providing a sense of refuge. It also is considered useful for creative inspiration and insight. If you feel drawn to violet, lavender, plums and deep purples, here are five tips for adding this hue to your yard.
1. Adopt a Color Strategy

As with all colors, too much purple can backfire. Still, a single color scheme can work if you use enough variation. Here, for instance, light lilac catmint 'Walker's Low' and dark purple salvia leucantha 'Midnight' create sufficient contrast to keep this peaceful planting from growing dull.
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For a broader palette, choose an analogous color scheme that combines neighboring hues on the color wheel, as in this front garden with its soothing blend of blue, violet and purple. The plant selections include dwarf catmint Nepeta mussinii, alliums and purple salvia.
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Complementary colors (hues from the opposite side of the color wheel) can bring out the best in each other. Here, fiery yellow adds a colorful punch and energizing contrast to cool purple salvia.
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2. Go Formal or Casual

Associated with both royalty and serenity, purple is at home in any style of garden. Planted en masse, spiked purple flowers like salvia or Veronica make an elegant choice for a formal bed.
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Likewise, purple is at home in casual settings, as evident in this lupine meadow.
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3. Think Beyond Plants

Add purple to the landscape by painting trimwork, front doors, arbors, gates or containers. A mix of energetic red and peaceful blue, purple has the unique ability to work well with both cool and warm color schemes.
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A trio of purple — plants, a pot and a painted front door — greets visitors to this charming residence.

When to Paint Your Door Purple
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The color of old-time favorites like lilacs, violets, irises and hydrangeas, purple is sometimes pegged as an old-fashioned hue. Designer Margie Grace threw that nostalgic notion a curve with these mod purple arbors.
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4. Set a Mood

Lavender is thought to enhance feelings of inspiration and insight, making it an ideal choice for a contemplative garden.
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According to color theory, purples and soft mauves are gentle hues that help ease strong emotions. Make your yard a haven with this color combo's soothing hues. (Plants shown include astilbe chinensis 'Visions' and hydrangea 'Endless Summer'. )
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Purple makes a romantic gesture in this lovely dining spot, where clematis climbs the trellis to create a privacy screen.
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5. Don't Forget Foliage

Dark purple foliage makes an excellent accent. Consider ground covers, such as setcreasea purpurea, for a swath of purple in a garden bed.
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The deep purple-black of bugbane (cimicifuga ramosa) 'Hillside Black Beauty' creates a striking foil against silvery eryngium and pink astilbe. The plant produces pale white spires in the fall.
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Drought-tolerant gardens can get in on the purple act with a broad choice of succulents steeped or tinged with the eye-catching hue.
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Even shrubs like American beautyberry can add a touch of purple to delight the eye.
What is Purple?
Time is purple just before night
when most people turn on the light.
But if you don't it's a beautiful sight.
Asters are purple, there's purple ink.
Purple's more popular than you think.
It's sort of a great grandmother to pink.
There are purple shadows and purple veils,
and some ladies purple their fingernails.
There's purple jam and purple jell
and a purple bruise next day will tell
when you fell.
The purple feeling is rather put out,
the purple look is a definite pout.
But the purple sound is the loveliest thing.
It's a violet opening in the spring.
I love this poem from Hailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O'Neill who dedicated her lovely poems:  "To my children and grandchildren and to all those who see and feel the wonders of color either with sight or through their imagination." 1961

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