Text and photos ©Nancy J. Ondra
Continuing on the burgundy-and-gold theme in honor of this month’s Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop, I offer up some more high-contrast combinations from my front garden, focusing mostly on annuals and tender perennials. (For the first part of this series, see Dark and Light – Part 1.)
Below, annual ‘Purple Majesty’ millet (Pennisetum glaucum) does an excellent imitation of a dark-leaved corn clump against the bright backdrop of golden elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Aurea’).
At its feet are the glowing yellow leaves of ‘Limelight’ four-o’clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) and deep purple ‘Osmin’ basil (Ocimum basilicum): two other annuals that are a snap to grow from seed. Park Seed sells ‘Limelight’ seed here, ‘Purple Majesty’ millet here, and ‘Red Rubin’ basil, which looks very much like ‘Osmin’, here.
On the other side of the same golden elderberry was ‘Maple Sugar’ hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella), which does an excellent Japanese maple impersonation, reaching shrub-size proportions by the end of the growing season. It’s hardy only in Zones 9 to 11, but I consider it worth buying every year for the terrific color and texture. (If you can’t find ‘Maple Sugar’ plants, ‘Red Shield’ makes a good substitute, and you can grow it from seed [available here from Veseys Seeds].)
The bright coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) is ‘Giant Exhibition Limelight’, yet another beauty that’s easy from seed (available here through Park Seed). And along the front, there’s frilly ‘Mascara’ lettuce, available from Territorial Seed Company. Ready for even more combos? Check out Dark and Light – Part 3.