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Using Color in Your Desert Potted Garden

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Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder… sometimes 

Color is the most prominent element in a garden design and typically the first one considered. Color is what draws us into a garden and often is what gets us out of the house onto our patio.  

When driving down the boulevard and you approach a bed of flowers, what draws your eye in? Color!! What I have experienced is that the first image of that bed is described as pretty. But when stopped in traffic and I have the time to really look at the garden, something clicks in my mind that this is just not working. What first is viewed as fun and exciting, can become exhausting when you sit with your coffee or cocktail ready to relax after a long day. 


Too many colors makes a potted garden too busy

Why doesn’t it work? Too many colors in one garden! 

Purple Osteospernums, Red Dianthus, Blue Pansies, White Allysum, and more – Oh My!

In choosing color combinations, we know what we like when we see it. However, sometimes we think a color combination will work when we choose the flower colors at the nursery but once they are home and planted, we wonder – what did I do wrong? 

We tend to buy what we like in the store. The rainbow of colors and shades attracts our attention and unless we have a ‘color agenda’ we don’t put the brakes on and try to coordinate our selections.

What not to do in your pots – Yellow Violas, Orange/Burgundy & White Snaps, Purple, Purple/White, Burgundy, Orange Pansies, White Allysum

Take a Moment

Step back to plan your potted gardens.  

I always suggest putting the plants that will go in one pot together on your shopping cart and then step back to look at them. Look long and hard. Stare at your combinations and see if it works as you view it with your critical eye. 

Ahhhh, such a difference. Yellow in Calendula, Violas and Nemesia, Blue in Pansies and White in Kale. With a Burgundy/Yellow Center Diascia.

Combining Color in your Desert Pots this Winter 

  1. Start with two colors that you also use in the room inside your home. Choose the room that also has a view of your pots.
  2. Add a contrasting color if you would like.

For instance, if your home is decorated in earth tones of rustic oranges, browns and green, begin with an orange. Green will enter the picture with leaves and stems. Then add either purple or yellow depending on how exciting or vibrant you want your color combination to be. 

Another example – if your room is decorated in primary colors, choose something like the blue and yellow and perhaps add red as shown in the lead photo above. 

The key is to put your plants together and if you like them – try it!  

The beauty of using potted gardens is that you can easily change your mind, try new combinations or take out one plant and substitute another without breaking the bank. Keep your money out of the compost heap – Happy Potting! … Marylee

I hope you stay in touch with me!

Feel free to send me your questions.

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