OK, I admit it, I'm a bit of a color snob. Or maybe a color fanatic. I have shoes in lime green and turquoise and a pair of orange cowboy boots. Then, a while ago, a thread at the venerable Gardenweb posed the question:"What is the worst color combination you've ever seen in someone's garden?" it really got me thinking.
First, of course, I was a bit puzzled by the "You would not believe it but this lady had a X next to a Y" emails that resulted. While I don't always follow the "...if you don't have something nice to say" rule, I try to reserve my sneering for worthy topics such as SUVs. And then I looked at my own garden, just a tad worried.
But on my recent trip to Tassajara, I really wondered what Mother Nature is thinking. I mean, look at the tomato-red Castilleja (Indian paintbrush) with the purple Salvia spatacea (hummingbird sage). And all that combined with -- green?
I'm not even sure the second photo, purple Salvia with blue and white Lupine would make it into a book of color recommendations. And isn't the yellow with the tomato red a bit garish?
Not to mention Castilleja together with Collinsia heterophylla. A bright with a pastel? Red with lavender? Tsk tsk.
What a relief to finally encounter a familiar color choice: Black and white. Here, the charred remains of the chaparral and the first white flowers of Gnaphalium californicum (pearly everlasting).
Postscript: In my own garden, I do prefer to group colors by region. And maybe I'll do a post about that some time. But I'm delighted by any color combination other gardeners come up with -- especially Mother Nature.