A Cool-colored Planting

I’ve been inspired by the cool-colored wildflowers of Texas to create a plant community that celebrates their cheerful energy.  Living here for the past few years I’ve noticed this side of the color wheel tends to dominant the showier flowers and is likely a result of co-evolution with the pollinators present.

While I’m still a year or two away from having a full month-by-month list, I thought I would share a snapshot of an early trial bed of this color palette.   In a crescent-shaped planting near our drive way I’ve been plugging blues, mulberrys, fuschias, pinks, and whites in to see how they grow and mingle together. And, now that’s it’s looking particularly good, I wanted to share a snapshot of the flora with you.

This scene greets me every morning as I walk to my edible garden.

This scene greets me every morning as I walk to my edible garden.

The dominant emergent is Gladiolus communis subsp. byzantinus scattered in the bed.  The fuschia-colored flowers radiate from a distance, and the north-facing slope creates a tiered theater effect so I see the audience of scapes from a distance in my veg patch.  More sparse in the bed are two penstemon—Penstemon tenuis and Penstemon laxiflorus.  The former has small, funnel-shapel purple flowers with ruffled edges that remind me of those old glass lampshades, and the later has blooms that are a pale pink and a bit flatter and longer.  A few Phlox pilosa in the bed still in the midst of bloom, and I’ve been watching them for seed to sow next year for more of this seasonal filler.

A few blues are scattered about.  The Sisyrinchium are pretty much finished, but their absence is now being filled by Prunella vulgaris.  It’s a nice native herb that has flowers which can’t decide if they are blue or purple.  And, I can’t forget the Tradescantia in flower.  Every morning, I smile seeing their brilliant blue flowers open. 

White flowers serve as good neutral colors in the mix.  A few Hymenopappus artemisiifolius plants are blooming with Astrantia-like blossoms.  I also adore the couple of Baptisia alba in the bed.  The stems have a dark purple color that continues my cool-colored theme.  And, Achillea millefolium is beginning to carpet the ground to provide an effective groundcover. It’s white landing pads add a nice splash of brightness to the bed.

As the color scheme evolves, I’ll share more about what’s of interest.