The Garden is a Rainbow

It’s pretty colorful in the Fairegarden during May. The cool shades of early spring are grateful for the addition of warmer tones as the weather heats up.

Orange is the debutante of the hour, represented well by butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa.

Finding just the right supporting cast has been years in the making. It was part brilliant epiphany but mostly accidental plant plopping that created the perfect blend that lets all the players show their finery.

The lilies have taken the stage, as well. Queen of the moment is the longifolium asiatic hybrid, Lilium ‘Royal Sunset’.

A stout stalk can hold the numerous flowers high and proud without the need for staking. The combination of melon centers with hot pink edges might sound garish to those with delicate sensibilities, but the light fragrance and dusting of dark freckles should charm the white gloves right off of even the snobbiest colorists.

When confronted with blaring colors, the best and easiest path to garden delight is to simply add more. The reddish Achillea ‘Paprika’,  Astilbe ‘Fanal‘, silver and purple lamb’s ear, Stachys byzantina and various blue Salvias help make the back garden beds a fun feast.

The gravel path dissects what is meant to be matching, sort of, plantings on either side.

Oranges, reds and yellows, complemented by blues, whites and purples bring happy smiles from pollinators, critters and humans. We’re all in this together. The hosta is H. ‘Sunpower’.

The variable colors of Echinacea ‘Prairie Spirit’ have been a blessing. I only buy them in bloom to be able to select the darker reds and oranges as companions to the butterfly weed. Later in the season, those colors will continue to enhance the daylily and daisy shadow and blush as lipstick finishes a model’s makeup. Coreopsis Hardy Jewel Series ‘Desert Coral’ is new this year. The color could not be resisted. I hope it performs over several years, at least.

It’s a rainbow out there, at ground level rather than in the sky. Nature will make changes to the painting over time. The gardener throws the pigments onto the canvas with a hopeful twinkle in her eye, waiting to see the vision become the masterpiece, however it turns out.

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23 Responses to The Garden is a Rainbow

  1. Leslie says:

    It is absolutely beautiful in your garden!
    Hi Leslie, thanks so much! Wish you could see it in person.

  2. grammapenny says:

    oh yum… its a cloudy drizzly day in Massachusetts.. your photos cheered me greatly
    Thank you for making my heart happy with your kind words. I am glad the flowers were able to help.

  3. Marguerite says:

    Wow Frances, its a regular Tonal Hootenanny out there!!! So happy and lively…. that’s what Spring is all about! All greens go together and all colors go with green. I have it on good authority that when G-d was tired of designing the rainbow, the angels, said, Boss (or Ma’am) , just throw all the colors out there and see what sticks….. So there you have it. Thank you for sharing your garden, I just love love the effect of the gravel and the dark fence. They highlight the plantings beautifully. Here in CT for some reason, the winter was good for blooming trees and shrubs and everything has been blooming mightily, much more so than previous springs. I can’t believe you have lilies already, wow. Onward and Greenward!

    So much to love about your comments, dear Marguerite! You really have a gift with words. Tonal Hootenanny made me snort! I am happy to hear your trees and shrubs decided to put on a good show. Some years are good, some are less so, it seems. Our flowers are about two weeks ahead of normal, although normal is just a figment of a dream anymore. I am totally of the same mind about all colors in nature going together, have been beating that drum ever since I started blogging in 2007.

  4. A rainbow for my eyes on this dreary day. We have the green in between the last of the daffodils and the beginning of the columbines, dianthus, iris etc etc. Orange is a lovely color, just have to find the right partners.

    Hi Kathy, I am glad the flowers could color your world! I have been trying to keep something colorful going everyday of the year, whether it is foliage, berries or flowers. It is difficult but a worthwhile pursuit.

  5. Alice says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your lively, energetic garden with us. I have been debating whether to start a new bed this year. My back says “no” and my heart says “yes.” The result was a 50-50 tie. Your photos just tipped the balance in favor of going for it!

    Thanks, Alice. I am happy to enable your new bed! Just don’t make it too large and leave a path for you to get in there to weed/plant/etc. comfortably. Maybe on a bench or stool. That really helps the back issues. Good luck!

  6. Barbara H. says:

    So lovely to see your colorful garden, Frances. It looks like it has really progressed well since you moved in. I’ve been turning over the garden paths trying to get the weeds and grass out, then putting down cardboard and pine bark nuggets over that. Slow progress but it makes such an improvement to the garden view! i’ve just rested up watching 1/2 inch of rain fall – I loved that it made me quit for the day. Many of your flowers seem to be ahead of mine in NE Alabama, though we had an absolutely wonderful early spring. Happy gardening to us both!

    Hi Barbara, thanks for visiting. Good job on the path weed project. That is a good way to get rid of the weeds and make it neater, for a while. Nice on the rain, too. We are mostly ahead of schedule on the blooming, but it will even out come summer. Happy gardening!

  7. Carol says:

    Wow, wow, wow! That is a gorgeous combination of plants. Love it!

    Hi Carol, thanks so much. The garden in back is looking pretty good at the moment.

  8. Cindy, MCOK says:

    I look forward to seeing this Fairegarden one day! It’s a glorious rainbow indeed.

    I look forward to you seeing this garden, too. (And to seeing you, my friend!)

  9. Dee A. Nash says:

    Just gorgeous! I love orange. I’m especially fond of your silvery lamb’s ear with those colors. I have lamb’s ear in another spot, but I love that silver with your oranges and reds. Color snobbinesh has never met our blazing summer sun. 🙂 ~~Dee

    Hi Dee, thanks for those kind words. Lamb’s ear really fits in well with any color. That sun you are talking about fades pastels into no color at all. We need bright and bold.

  10. Gail says:

    Wowzer! Your garden looks fantastic. Love the planting companions to the Butterfly weed. You are a master at color combinations, Frances! xo

    Thanks, Gail. It does look pretty good at the moment. All the good color combos were purely accidental. Although I do learn what looks good together after the fact and try to repeat it. Notes to self… xoxoxo

  11. Wow, absolutely stunning!

    Thank you so much, Gisela. What a lovely name you have!

  12. Lola says:

    Gorgeous as always

    Thank you for your continued support, Lola!

  13. Layanee says:

    We are still in the cool of spring colors here so it is particularly delightful to see it hot in your garden. It looks so very fresh and healthy. Love those lilies. Sigh, the lily leaf beetles love my lilies and I am just not diligent enough to pick and stubborn about spray. I will admire yours from afar.

    Hi Layanee, thanks for stopping by. Grrr to the lily beetles. I picked off some kind of bug that was eating the lilies several weeks ago. Never saw another one. Hope it was just a scout and no more come down here. Enjoy your beautiful cool spring!

  14. Jill says:

    So beautiful! I have more shade every year and I fear my colorful springs are over. My lovely columbines didn’t even show their faces this year.

    Oh no, Jill! That must be deep shade for the columbines to not bloom, although our spring was very weird temperature wise. Thanks for visiting.

  15. tineke says:

    absolutely beautiful! such an artst you are!!!

    Thank you, what a sweet thing to say!

  16. Alison says:

    I loved seeing all the bright colors in your garden! I have Royal Sunset lily here too, but it ‘s not even close to blooming yet. Our spring has been cold and wet.

    Hi Alison, thanks for the kind words. Our spring was both cold and wet sometimes, and hot and dry. We are two weeks ahead of when things normally bloom. Not sure how that will affect the rest of the season, but it’s nice to see the flowers.

  17. Hubba Hubba on the hot colors! I have found that the older I have gotten, the more I appreciate the pop of orange colored flowers in the garden. Love your ‘Royal Sunset’ asiatic lily…it might have to be in my fall bulb order. And, by the way, it looks like the hosta ‘Sunpower’ must really tolerate a lot of sun…I guess it is aptly named.

    Hi Michaele, thanks for visiting. We get wiser as we mature! HA The *royal* lilies have all been wonderful. Last fall I planted Royal Kiss, a very dark red. It bloomed earlier and I hope in the future it will bloom along with these. Sunpower can take direct sun if watered.

  18. Valerie says:

    Such a riot of colours. Beautiful! Valerie

    Hi Valerie, thanks for stopping by. I love all the colors.

  19. A tapestry in full summer colors. Gorgeous. Exciting. Inviting.

    Hi Lisa, thanks for the kind words. The garden is a beacon of brightness right now. I love it.

  20. Kathy Sturr says:

    Gorgeous! It seems like summer, not spring, in your garden with the wonderful butterfly weed, and cone flowers, and lamb’s ears. They bloom much later in z4 I guess. Striking combinations whether planned or not. I have that same hosta who suffered last year from our dry, hot summer but is a stunner right now in the garden.

    Hi Kathy, thanks for stopping by. It is zone 7a here, so we are a month or more ahead of you at this time of year. You will catch up quickly though. It makes for a different combination of things blooming at the same time. The Sunpower hosta needs more water when it gets super hot and dry. I will try to meet its needs this year, unlike the last couple.

  21. Rose says:

    What a riot of color! You have indeed created a masterpiece, Frances. Your comment about the Echinacea made me chuckle, Frances–last year I added a ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ to my garden which is filled with dozens of the pink blooms of Echinacea Purpurea, because I love the yellow and light orange blooms of this hybrid. But I bought one when it wasn’t blooming, and sure enough when it bloomed, all the blooms were pink! So much for variety:)

    Hi Rose, thanks for dropping by. You have to watch those Cheyenne Spirits. I have also bought a pink and learned the lesson. The yellows, reds and oranges are such exclamation points in the garden, I like to place them just so. The only way to be sure is to buy them in bloom, even if it means going back to the nursery several times. Such a hardship! HA

  22. Vicki Jacobs says:

    Beautiful! You do inspire me, Frances.

    Thanks, Vicki. You are too kind.

  23. I’m a huge fan of color, in my garden and my home, so naturally I’m a fan of this. In spring, all around are pastels, but summer brings more color to the party. I’ve been known to call this style of gardening “clown pants”, said with great affection because I use it myself. Well done Frances.
    Thanks, Robin, for your vote of confidence. I love all colors, like you do, but I also firmly believe that one’s garden and home should reflect their own interests and taste. We are lucky to love clown pants, if not the clowns themselves. HA

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