Still, if you are just planning the perfect June wedding and are looking for a more thoughtful or stylish color palette, don't limit yourself to the printed catalog or magazine - try going outside and studying the woodland or the garden for a moment. The above image demonstrates that sometimes, there is something just "right" about certain combinations. There is a reason why hip flower sites show blush, champagne and plum flowers - all Photoshopped with filters and de-shadows to look perfectly pale, but do you ever see this in real life? nope. Wedding blogs and hip stylish florist school sites know design quite well, but they also can manipulate images to appear, well, prettier than they actually are. Gorgeously yummy, but not very realistic when viewed in real life.
Florists aside, in your garden, or, in your cutting garden, which is really should be two different subjects, the logic is different - the lighting is real ( either the sun, or in your home), and the plant material is not flown in from all over the world, it's seasonal. So forget Gerbera, lilac, Peony's, Billy Buttons and Hydrangeas all in the same arrangement - it's just not gonna happen. I know many of you want amazingly coral, pink, peach and buff - when in reality, this rarely is achievable outside of photoshop and creative lighting. Few of us live in a magazine photoshoot or a wedding blog with a handy color shift feature. But there are ways to add new and more interesting color palettes to you garden containers, new color ideas for your wedding, or new color palette combinations for the garden.
If you want more posts on my color theory and plants, let me know - I think a little too much about it sometimes! But I do know my color theory, I work on a Wacom screen all day picking palettes for design projects, ranging from apps to print and product, and I am a pretty handy horticulturist, so maybe I can offer some sensible help here. It's a subject that I can frequently post about if it doesn't bore too many readers.
A few basic things to remember when buying plants based on color - if may have already discovered that seed catalogs and nursery catalogs are terribly misleading. They show closeups of flowers like coral zinnia's or blush poppies, but the reality often is that 95 percent of the plant will be green, and 5 percent will have a flower with the color that you want. Of course they assume that you already know that the two plants will bloom at different times of the day, and year, and that the seasons will be off. There is just SO much to know.
1. Heliotrope - Heliotropium arborescens ( seed sown February 20th - Swallowtail Gardens.
2. Iris versicolor - "Cat Mousam' (Joe-Pye-Weed's Garden)
3. Parsnip Flowers - Pastinaca sativa, I always leave some in the garden to bloom (Johnny's)
4. Stock 'Quartet' - Mathiola incana (seed started March 12th, Johnny's Seeds)
5. Society Garlic - Tulbaghia violacea
6. Cardonna Sage - Salvia x sylvestris 'Cardonna' (Plant Delights Nursery)
7. Blue Flax - Linum lewisii (from Annie's Annuals)
8. Lathyrus Winter-Blooming Sweet Peas - (From Owl's Acre Sweet Peas)
9. Knautia macedonica - (Annie's Annuals)
10.Geranium 'Ann Folkard' (Plant Delights Nursery)
12.Lathyrus- Winter Blooming Sweet Pea ( Owls Acres Sweet Peas)
Some of my best color combinations outdoors have been arranged in just this way - observing and noting what plants, and what color flowers and foliage, appear each day. For example, next year, I am replanting a border in front of the greenhouse which sits against a dark boxwood hedge. I noticed this spring, how nice the new yellow foliage bleeding heart looks against the dark hedge in early spring, and tulips in various shades of violet, plum and purple will mix nicely emerging from the border of chartreuse. If you are planning a June wedding, or looking for purple flowers and green flowers, spring is the best time to work with such a palette.
It's been raining for four days, and feeling a little British-like here in New England. So in honor of the Queen's Jubilee, (yeah, it's just an excuse to pick some flowers from the garden), I picked some purple flowers from the garden today. I could smell the Mathiola ( Stock) from a distance, it is very fragrant in the evening, and with stems nearly two feet tall, it is at its prime. I hate to say that I pulled out most of the seedlings that I started in March, because I made a mistake and first pinched them back, but they never branched ( I thought I had read that they should have been pinched to form strong two-foot tall bushy plants, but I confused this directive with one for snapdragons). Hey, it happens, even to me! The few that I left un-pinched, are now blooming, so I might as well pick them and enjoy them on this rainy, cold day.
The first of the Lathyrus ( Sweet Peas) are blooming also, but these are the winter blooming Sweet Peas which if you remember, I sowed back in November. Our field mice ate most of them as them emerged as seedlings, but a few re-sprouted in their pots in the greenhouse, so I waited to see what they would do later on in the season. These are specially bred for winter cut flowers, (or to be more accurate, early spring sweet pea crops), since these are sweet peas which require less than the twelve hours of daylight, which is what summer-blooming varieties need to grow strong and bloom properly. These are just reaching peak bloom while the summer sweet peas are just starting to bud. One cannot compare the two forms. My summer blooming plants are three times as large, after only a few weeks outdoors.