Coral pink is a very warm, almost hot, color. It never was part of the master plan in my head when I planted the front walkway English-inspired garden.
When it was first introduced, the hype about Rainbow Knock Out Rose was as intense as the coral pink color of its petals. Then, its subsequent performance in my test garden was so awe-inspiring – yes, gardeners do feel awe when a plant out-performs its expectations – I just had to transplant it into the front yard flowerbed.
It can be frustrating for some gardeners to know that an uber-beautiful plant is flourishing in an unseen back yard garden. I prefer to admire such plants as I exit and enter the front door of my home.
Then, only a year after the coral pink rose was moved to the front garden, I acquired Bartzella. The most convenient spot to plant this magnificent yellow Itoh peony was two feet away from Rainbow Knock Out.
In a short while, both plants grew exponentially as they literally reached out to touch each other. That’s how a new, unplanned color combination, one that I never thought appropriate for my English-inspired flowerbed, came to dominate the early summer palette of the front garden.
To my pleasant surprise, this coral pink and lemon yellow composition appeared very pleasing to the eyes, especially with the long view of the grey stone house façade in the background. It should not have been a surprise. After all, the peony is yellow, albeit a cold yellow, and coral pink contains pigments of yellow.
Although the added vibrancy of this color combination upset the cool balance of the flowerbed, it ushered in a new approach to coloring the garden. In time, the warm color palette would become my inspiration to increase the intensity of tones of future flowerbeds. This change of heart coincided conveniently with increasing requests from clients for me to use bolder colors.
What an evolution this has turned out to be! At the outset of my gardening experience, I adhered to emulating the British palette of polite, cool pastel shades. Now, I am comfortable using brassy color combinations that some might consider clearly American in spirit.
As long as the tones of a home’s façade can accommodate hot colors, there is no longer any protocol preventing gardeners from using them. As time goes on, rules about the aesthetics of garden composition – especially in North America – evolve or change. In some communities, they have been discarded altogether.
Now, courageous homeowners plant for their personal pleasure; often to the dismay of their more conservative neighbors. As the lyrics of a Cole Porter song recount, now heaven knows, anything goes.