The power of pink comes to fore
NOW that everything is coming into flower it is easier to tweak the colour scheme and add plants that either strengthen the main colour or provide contrast.
One of the colours that does not seem to get much attention when talking about colour is pink. Yet, walking through garden centres it is the predominant colour of most summer annuals, especially the shade-loving varieties.
Think pink and the bedding plants include Begonias, Cleome (Picture), Cosmos, Dianthus, Dahlias, Diascia, Impatiens (New Guinea) Petunias, Dahlias, Verbena, Vinca, and Zinnias.
Among perennials, the delicate pink Gaura “Ballerina” is a most popular plant. Shades of pink also predominate in Alstroemeria, Aquilegia, Angelonia, Armeria, perennial begonias like “Dragon Wings”’ and “Million Kisses”, Echinacea, Pelargoniums, Hibiscus, Lobelia Speciosa, Penstemon and Perennial Verbena. If you love flowers it’s hard not to have pink in a summer garden.
There is often a sense of being apologetic about using pink. Maybe because it is such as soft feminine colour and many of our landscapers are male? Nevertheless, the reality is that many gardeners use pink in abundance.
Veteran garden writer Nancy Gardner describes pink as friendly and versatile. While pink may be dismissed as predictable, the other side of the coin is that it induces a relaxed atmosphere. We respond to the soft, feminine, and soothing qualities of pink and that is what many of us want in a garden.
Pink is a mix of red and white and it is incredibly diverse, from hot and sizzling at one end of the spectrum to soft and dreamy at the other end. Besides working well with red and white, pink also combines well with purple, blue, yellow and even orange, if the pink is a hot, cerise colour.
The main thing to remember when using pink with other colours is that it tends to be either a cool pink (on the blue side) or a warm pink (on the yellow side). Even though pink goes well with red, don’t mix cool red with the warm pink, or vice versa. Pink also jars if warm and cool pinks are used together although it can be defused by using blue and mauve shades in the grouping and even adding in yellow, which always works well with mauve
The other aspect of pink is that it blends with most colours by picking up and altering, depend- ing on whatever is next to it.
Whether pink has crept by stealth into your garden or whether it has been intentional, here are some combinations that can either soften or add drama to the garden.
Pink and blue with a touch of lemon or white is a traditional combination that is soothing but not insipid. Pink and yellow can work together as long as there is no trace of orange in the yellow. Angelonia “AngelMist” Pink and Nemesia “Sky Blue” are a delicate, wistful combination.
A blend of pink and white is fresh and cool, even if the plants used are heat and drought tolerant, such as pink Salvia gregii and white agapanthus.
Pairing pink with mauve is romantic and ethereal, especially when silvery grey foliage is added like that of Senecio Dusty Miller, Artemisia, Stachys and Lavender. Another alluring combination is Echinacea and Perennial basil, especially the new Echinacea PowWow “Wild Berry” which is a deep rose pink. It carries more flowers than other Echinacea varieties.
Red and pink (both with blue tones) are bold together and touches of blue or white can be added. Pink appears darker when placed with white, and is bolder when used with blue.
Pale pink with deep green creates a contrast, setting off the pink tones. With the problems of downy mildew, a safe option is the New Guinea Impatiens “Divine” which is not affected by downy mildew and gives almost the same sense of abundance. The flowers and plants are slightly bigger than the bedding impatiens.
Hot pink with glowing orange is theatrical and modern. It needs to be offset by dark greenery. A mass planting of Zinnia Zahara Fire and Double Coral Rose is quite spectacular.
Magenta pink with deep green and dark, true blue adds depth and draw the eye in an otherwise insipid scheme.