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A garden is not made in a year; indeed it is never made in the sense of finality. It grows, and with the labour of love should go on growing.

~Frederick Eden~

Garden Design

In our area, June has been the month of open gardens and garden tours. Of course, count me in - I love looking at attractively arranged plantings and get ideas for my own garden.

Later this month we visited Wyoming and - WOW - it seemed like I had a second chance at spring and new inspiration!
Mother Nature knows color! Vast mountainsides and fields, covered in yellows, blues and purples, interspersed with white. What a show!

To me, the big questions is: 'What makes some plant and color combinations attractive and others hurt my eyes?'
Many gardening publications discuss how to select plants in more or less detail, provide suggestions and ideas. Never-the-less, I find myself digging and moving plants while they are in bloom - mainly because they 'don't look right' in their current spot. This apparently isn't just a matter of individual taste, scientists report that the human brain has an innate dislike of too many contrasts all at once.
You may not be color-challenged like I am but I hope that you'll find some of my thoughts on this subject helpful in planning and planting your own garden.


While the Wyoming hillsides looked fantastic with bright and mixed colors, too much variety in a smaller garden or bed fails to delight my eyes and senses.
To me, my garden is like music: A short song needs more harmony while a symphony or opera can have lots of variety.
Select some of your favorites and, like the refrain in a piece of music, repeat them throughout your garden in different areas to create a sense of continuity.
This continuity can be made up of a particular plant that is represented multiple times in different colors or a single like color or foliage shape to draw one's eye and bring the big picture together.


Plant a bed or garden area with a theme. While vegetable, herb, water, cottage, butterfly etc gardens are familiar to most of us, take a step further and consider these choices:

  • Name Garden - select plants that have names associated with your family and friends.
  • Touch & Smell Garden - group plants that are known for scented foliage or flowers
  • Moon Garden - combine shades of blue - the first color to disappear when the sun sets - with whites
  • Complementary Garden - use shades on opposite sides fo the color wheel to create contrast such as blues with oranges
  • Tranquility Garden - combine pastels and muted colors such as soft pink and lavender
  • Foliage Garden - choose plants with chartreuse, lime green, bronze, reddish/purple or variegated leaves

Color Combinations

Scientists have associated meanings and symbolisms with different colors. Take a walk and look at your garden, do your color choices evoke similar feelings?

  • White & Green - relaxation
  • Yellow & Blue - spring/new beginnings
  • Pink & Blue - restfulness
  • White & Blue - cheerfulness
  • Red - caution/attention
  • Yellow - happiness/optimism
  • Orange & Purple - energy/boldness
  • Yellow & Purple - excitement
  • Red, White & Blue - patriotism

Plant Height

Check the mature height for your plants: taller plants toward the back and/or center and shorter plants toward the front/edges of the garden or bed.


July in the Garden:

Divide & Plant iris :
Plant Daylilies :
Add a Wind Chime :