Over the years I have seen many great gardens, but it only takes a minute to recognize when an artist is the one doing the gardening. They may have the touch of Monet in their plant combinations, but they also have a flair for what I call echoing of colors.
Take for instance a historic cottage home in Kosciusko, Miss. The bold gardener chose to paint the wicker furniture on the huge front porch an electric sizzling lime. This alone might cause palpitations in some gardeners. But the furniture was made all the more beautiful and striking with the addition of a huge basket planted with Dragon Wing red begonias and the dazzling lime green Marguerite sweet potatoes hanging downward, echoing the color of the furniture.
The colors of your home and trim offer some of the best opportunity for echoing colors. In the hot Mississippi Delta I filmmed a home with a lush tropical landscape. While the palms and gingers kept me mesmerized, my eyes kept going back to an unconventional bottle tree.
While many gardeners use the traditional cobalt blue for bottle trees, this gardener had chosen colors that echoed (or reflected if you like that term better) the colors of the teal blue shutters and golden green trim. The totality of the partnership immediately reflected that an artist was gardening at this home. Indeed, in the rustic backyard gazebo were the palettes and paints waiting for the next session.
Then there was the Louisiana country-style cottage. Everywhere I looked was the perfect finishing touch. Underneath a large porch with lime green shutters was a large olive jar maxed out with coleus and the dangling sweet potato. The sweet potato echoed the shutters and did the irregular variegation patterns in the coleus.
One of my favorites was the garden with the hot shocking pink Adirondack chairs. This combination surely took some careful consideration, for hanging high overhead were blooming crape myrtles of the same color. And as you might expect, on the small matching wood table in between the chairs was a potted geranium, bringing out the same iridescent pink.
Lastly was the bold gardener who tackled the color red. Red is the hardest color to spread around the garden because of its many variations. Add a touch of yellow and you get an orange hue, a hint of blue you have purple, and a dab of white you are left with pink.
The quest for red no doubt began with the granddaughter's playhouse. What child doesn't treasure red? Like a true artist, however, the gardener picked up the red with Adirondack chairs and echoed again with potted begonias.
Echoing of colors in the outdoor world is not much different than getting dressed for church or that night out on the town. Take a broader look at your landscape, the color of your home, your trim and even your furniture. Tie them all together in small units or rooms by echoing colors and you'll see that your landscape takes on a whole new perspective, one with the touch of an artist.