Maybe you plan your garden meticulously as soon as the first signs of spring pop up. Or maybe you wait until summer, see what grows well and add as needed to keep things looking lush. Whatever your approach, thinking about one small thing can take your garden from looking haphazard to looking completely curated. It’s your garden color palette.
You think about the color palette for the interior of your home, so why leave your garden unattended in this way? Choosing a few colors for your exterior spaces and growing plants in those colors will make your outdoor spaces look polished and vibrant.
And, like all good design, choosing a garden color palette is a lot easier when you have a few principles to guide you. Here’s a quick look at some of your color palette options in your outdoor spaces.
Want to keep it simple? Go monochrome. Choosing plants in a single color gives your garden a cohesive, seamless look that helps it blend together so your outdoor spaces look established and attractive.
The easiest way to work with a monochromatic garden color palette is to go green. Grow virtually any type of foliage and you’re right on track. But you can still go monochrome if you love colorful flowers. Just pick a color — whether that’s pink, white, purple, blue or another fave of yours — and stick with plants that bloom in that color.
Remember color theory? (If you need to brush up, we’ve got a great color rule guide here.) Complementary colors are those that are positioned opposite one another on a color wheel. That makes it super easy to follow. Even if you’ve shied away from complementary color pairings in your home’s design up to this point, consider it for your garden color palette.
While this can be a pretty in-your-face color combo in interior spaces, complementary colors are ideal for outdoors where they have plenty of room to breathe. Pair yellow and purple, blue and orange or red and green for a lively looking garden.
Another color theory basic, analogous colors are ones that are placed next to each other on the color wheel. And using analogous colors in your garden can help different plants blend visually, giving your yard a cohesive but still colorful look.
Just a few examples of analogous garden color palettes you could choose include: blue, green and yellow; red, orange and yellow; purple, blue and red. Clearly, there’s room to play here. And sticking to a specific section of the color wheel gives your yard a clear vision even if you go wild when choosing plants.
Another go-to for designers, the 60-30-10 rule is also a pretty simple one to follow. You pick one color to make up 60% of the space (the green in the photo above). Then, you choose a secondary color to make up the next 30% (above, it’s indigo). Finally, you round out the space with an accent color that completes the last 10%. It’s usually a bold color like the red in the image above.
The 60-30-10 rule gives you plenty of flexibility while building in guidelines that ensure your garden will look balanced when you’re finished. And that final 10% is a fun opportunity when you’re talking about blooms. Choose something surprising and vibrant to take your garden to the next level.
Armed with these garden color palettes, you’re ready to make your outdoor spaces shine all year round. Which one will you choose?
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A 2-year-old’s afternoon in the garden with her mom led to the discovery of an entirely new species.
The newly discovered tree hopper species, the Hebetica sylviae, was named after none other than young Sylvie Beckers, now 5, who discovered it while overwatering the flowerbed three summers ago.
“Usually when you discover a species, you want to give it a name that describes something about the animal or plant,” her mom, Dr. Laura Sullivan-Beckers of Kentucky, told InsideEdition.com. “Because we don’t know its biology yet and since she was involved, I thought it would be a good thing to call it after her.”
Sullivan-Beckers, an assistant professor of biology at Murray State University who specializes in the evolution of mating behavior in spiders, told InsideEdition.com it all started in the summer of 2016, when she had invited her then-2-year-old daughter into the garden to help her plant wildflowers.
“I put the seeds in and I let Sylvie water the flower bed,” she said. “She watered and watered and watered and the soil flooded with water and there were all these tree hoppers that were bright green and they floated to the top.”
Because tree hoppers are normally found on trees, Sullivan-Beckers said she was immediately fascinated and began taking pictures to send to her Ph.D. adviser.
“We looked at one and he was like, ‘Oh, this is really weird. This is out of place,’” she recalled. “He then put me in contact with some people at USDA. and they were the ones that looked at it and compared it with specimens around the world.”
A lot of research and hard work later, they found that Sullivan-Beckers and her daughter had discovered an entire new species.
“You don’t think about it happening in rural Kentucky,” she joked. “This just landed in my backyard.”
Since they have only found the specimen after it was deceased, they haven’t been able to make many strides in research about the Hebetica sylviae, but she said they did determine that it was most likely a prey species for wasps that likely resides at the top of extremely tall oak trees.
Even with minimal knowledge about the new species, Sullivan-Beckers said she hopes the new discovery, born out of a sweet mother-daughter bonding moment, encourages more families to get outdoors.
“There’s biodiversity even in your own backyard,” she said.
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Not all cucumbers — or watermelons, tomatoes or other garden treats — are created equal.
Some yield earlier or more heavily than others; some simply taste better; some are better at resisting disease.
In an effort to help home gardeners sort through the seemingly endless variety of seeds and plants that are available, the nonprofit group All America Selections seeks to identify the superior choices.
The first winners for 2020 have just been announced — and, boy, do they sound tempting. It’s too late in the season for Ohio gardeners to plant them this year, but you might want to reserve a spot in next year’s veggie garden for one or more of these mouth-watering champs.
As gardeners know, there’s no such thing as guaranteed success, but these winners can improve your odds.
“All-America Selections is an independent nonprofit organization that tests new, never-before-sold varieties for the home gardener,” the group says on its website. “After a full season of anonymous trialing by volunteer horticulture professionals, only the top garden performers are given the AAS Winner award designation for their superior performance.”
Here are profiles of the latest winners, expected to be available next spring as seeds and/or plants:
Green Light cucumber, a miniature variety, produces 3- to 4-inch fruits that don’t need to be peeled.
• Why it won: This selection boasts high yields (40 or more cucumbers per plant), attractive fruits that mature quickly and, perhaps most important, “superior eating quality.”
• Who should try it: Anyone who loves salads — traditional tossed, Greek salad, or mixed chopped veggies — would appreciate this new twist on the classic cucumber.
One Mambo watermelon plant yields three to four 11-pound fruits with sweet red flesh and dark-green rinds.
• Why it won: The judges found Mambo exceptionally easy to grow, with “high seed germination and vigorously healthy vines.”
• Who should grow it: If you’ve had trouble in the past getting watermelons to produce and ripen, this variety “will grow and yield well even in cool, cloudy conditions!”
The three tomatoes that garnered honors all occupy their own niche but share a crucial trait: disease resistance, good news for gardeners who have struggled with weakened, infected plants.
• Celano, a grape tomato, stays small enough to grow in a large container. The judges praised its sweet flavor and resistance to late blight.
• Early Resilience, a Roma type, is “a home canner’s dream” with delicious fruits on healthy plants. It’s highly resistant to blossom-end rot, the nemesis of many a tomato grower.
• The 3-inch fruits of Galahad, which is resistant to late blight, boast “sweet, meaty flavor.”
Galahad, by the way, is the only newly announced winner limited to the West/Northwest and Heartland regions. (The Heartland region borders the Great Lakes region, which includes Ohio.)
All of the others in the story are national winners.
Diana Lockwood, a freelance writer covering gardening topics, posts on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mrsgardenperson.
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