Keep Your Cool Colors

Erin Conant

Garden design, in essence, is the pleasing arrangement of attractive plants. Characteristics of attractive plants range from leaf texture and bloom size to overall shape and mature height. But a plant’s leaf and flower color are the most powerful design elements in a landscape.

Green, blue and violet are considered cool colors, and when used correctly they have the unique ability to evoke feelings of calmness and serenity. These colors also tend to recede, making an area appear larger and deeper than it really is.

A few examples of cool color plants perfect for our area include:

  • Fall aster — This low-growing perennial saves its beauty for a dramatic display of purple daisy-like blooms in fall. Although not terribly showy the rest of the year, its feathery foliage is a deep green color that only enhances the cooling effect.
  • Snakeroot — A nearly evergreen plant, this dense-spreading, no-fuss groundcover has lovely purple flower clusters that bloom continuously through the growing season. It’s also a great native substitute for Asiatic jasmine.
  • Purple trailing lantana — Mounding and trailing, this variety of lantana has pin cushions of soft purple and white flowers that are loved by butterflies and bloom most of the year.

Simply including plants with deep green foliage or varying shades of green also can create a cool, tranquil atmosphere.

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