Friday, September 28, 2012

Red!

How do I feel about red?  Well, actually I love it!  I know a lot of gardeners that won't have it in their garden - too garish, too bright, not pastel!  I've heard so much talk about pastel gardens that I tried to add a pastel area to my garden.

And what is in my pastel garden?  Well, some pastels, of course.  Whites, creams, pinks, blues:


But, look closely - what do you see in the background?


Red!

Red sage.  That was all that was on the plant tag when I purchased this plant.  It wasn't special.  It had no fancy name to it.  It was red.  It was a sage.  Red sage.  That was it.

I bought it on a whim, and when I got it home, I had second thoughts.  This was surely a big mistake!  In the thrill and excitement of buying an unplanned purchase, I had forgotten - this was supposed to be a pastel garden!  Oops!  Who has ever heard of adding red to a pastel garden?  I was deflated, but I planted it anyway.  What else could I do?


Who would have thought that a plant so common, so non-pastel could look so wonderful here?  This little plant, labeled so simply, and purchased so thoughtlessly, really is special.  The butterflies love it.  It blooms with profusion.  It has spread to fill in this area nicely.  It brings the butterflies joy, but even more importantly, it brings me joy.   It is a lovely addition, even to my pastel garden.



Now I can't imagine this bed without that touch of red.  It brings a touch of contrast, but doesn't clash - perhaps because I have so much red in all the rest of my garden areas.  Or perhaps because of our harsh sun.  Maybe it's just the right shade of red.  Whatever the reason, this little bit of red looks natural and beautiful to me, even here.

This is probably some form of Salvia greggii, also known as Autumn Sage, a perennial in zones 7 through 9.  It grows to around 2 ft tall and wide, and loves full sun.  It also comes in a wide variety of colors.


But I love it in red.  Even where it's not supposed to be!

Do you have a pastel garden?  Do you have red in it?

60 comments:

  1. I use the Salvia greggii in red, white, and purple around my gardens almost as filler. It continues to bloom even in the driest weather so I've always got a bit of color. It propagates easily: just lean a lower branch into the soil and put a clump of dirt on it. Several months later clip the branch from the mother plant and dig up the new plant. Or just go buy several in your favorite shades. Don't care much for the smell... that's not a fragrance it's a smell. Yes, I love red plants in my garden.

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    1. Thanks for the info about how easily it propagates! I'm going to give this a try!

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  2. I am hoping to add lots of red to my garden next year! Hummingbirds and butterflies love it and I want them in my yard as often as possible! And I love that salvia. It is perfect!

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    1. They really do seem to love red. The butterflies are all over this particular plant. I think they're very happy I added some red to this bed!

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  3. I think much of my garden tends towards pastels, and I tend to use blues, purples and yellow to liven them up rather than red. Red doesn't tend to fit in my garden that easily unless it tends towards a blue red.

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    1. Your area must have a softer light than here in the South. It really is a harsh light here, and we need some bright colors thrown in, I think. But the type of garden you described - especially with purples and yellows - is the type of garden I dream of having.

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  4. I love the bright pop of red. Just sets everything off so things don't fade away to the eye. Looks lovely in the background of your pastel garden.

    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. It does give a little added dimension, although I guess I should come up with a different name than 'the pastel garden'!

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  5. I greee, the red looks good. I have an area of white, cream, and silver plants and it looks dull to me.

    Here in San Antonio, a pastel garden not only looks out of place, it feels odd like something is missing.

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    1. I think you're right about needing some brighter colors in our bright light, especially in summer. An area of white, cream, and silver sounds beautiful though. And I bet in the spring and autumn it looks gorgeous.

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  6. I like that fact that red attracts all kinds of birds and bugs...so pretty...I prefer the soft pinks..but love to see the vivid red everywhere..in leaves too!

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    1. I love pink the garden, too. It really clashes with the brick on my house, but I don't care - I just love pink blooms!

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  7. Absolutely love Red! It's probably my favourite colour, so bright and warm. Don't have a pastel garden but could happily have one full of red :)

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    1. I have a lot of red throughout my garden. Maybe that's why it doesn't look so bad here - it ties in with all the other areas that have so very much red!

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  8. The nice thing about plants is they look pretty wonderful no matter whom they are next to.

    That is a lovely shade of red, and this from a person who is all redded out..red bedroom in the 70's childhood, hated red forever.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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    1. Funny how our childhood affects the love (or hate) of certain colors as we mature. I had a yellow bedroom, and now? I have a yellow bedroom still! Just not quite as bright yellow as back then!

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  9. I mix and match and clash but its all good. Your plants look fab, I like the red.

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    1. I sometimes wonder if I'm clashing, too. But like you, I tend to think it's all good! :)

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  10. I love it, pretty with pink, nature throws all sorts of colours together, we should follow her example and if the butterflies love it, great, i know you love butterflies.

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    1. Oh, yes, I do love butterflies. And the fact that this attracts so very many of them really does make me love it even more!

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  11. It is an electric colour on the edge between red and pink. Mine began as cuttings from my mother's garden. Those little flowers add a sparkling grace note.

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    1. How wonderful that you have some with a sentimental attachment to them. I love plants that also give us a memory.

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  12. Oh, I agree. That little touch of red is perfect in your garden! Most of my garden is pastels (and green of course), because of the shade. But where there's sun, there's red (and other bright colors) in all its glory.

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    1. And most of my garden is in full sun - maybe that's why I have red in so much of it!

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  13. I love colors! I have so many different colors in my garden as possible.

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    1. I pretty much feel that way, too. I just can't seem to resist a pretty bloom, no matter the color!

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  14. I love red in the garden. This year, I went red heavy so that I could see it no matter where I turned to look. In fact, after I'm down with my very wordy posts, I plan to celebrate the last of my red hot mammas in the garden with a photo post. The red sage looks amazing!

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    1. I will be looking for that post. I might get some more ideas about red plants that I need to acquire!

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  15. I'm with Cher of Sunray Gardens. I like the red pop. I also love the almost red roses in your banner photo. Do hummingbirds visit it? Does it produce seeds?

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    1. I don't see many hummingbirds on that rose (it's a Knock Out), I think they don't care for the way it's shaped (too many petals). It does produce hips, which have seeds in them, but they wouldn't be the same plant as the parent.

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  16. I too bought a red Salvia on impulse (it looks exactly like yours and was labelled "Salvia greggi red") and I absolutely love it! It doesn't fit in with my pinks and whites, but its so lovely that I don't care. And amazingly, it doesn't really clash. Great finds :)

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    1. I think we have the same plant! I'm glad to know it doesn't clash, even if it doesn't quite fit in with your garden. When I think of your garden, I think of white. Red is not what I would expect! Maybe a little of the unexpected is a good thing!

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  17. I see that...but being a generalist, I kind of like that red splash! I think pastels are what's used here by those who like to hide the desert, and it's nice when used well, like your garden and *those* incredible roses. Even your pastels have some bones in them.

    I alarmed an once-coworker interior designer who visited, when I told her my lavender-ish Mexican Oregano and the colored wall were a happy accident, in how they matched so well!

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    1. It's really hard to do pastels in the desert. It just cries out for a bit of color. Happy accidents are the best!

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  18. I couldn’t agree more, red is a great colour for the garden – it brings a smile to my face any time of the year. Red is actually the dominant colour in my garden and I especially like the deep, crimson red flowers.

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    1. I think red is dominant in my garden, too. Or maybe orange! Both bright colors! :)

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  19. I also think it is a great addition to a garden. I grow several Hot Lips salvias just to brighten up some of my plantings. They are great for bees and hummers too.

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    1. I do love how the bees and hummers love these plants. I should add more!

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  20. I also love red in the garden - bright scarlet red - and that salvia is gorgeous.

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    1. I guess either one loves red in the garden, or not. I am definitely on the love side!

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  21. Red is such a good garden color. Our back fence is covered on both sides with red roses.....

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    1. I bet they stand out beautiful against the fence, too. Red roses are so romantic. They don't need to be pastel to have that touch of romantic beauty to them.

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  22. I'm getting there very gradually, starting with a tiny bit of orange. Now I've got a pomegranate tree and I think that will add a touch of red to a pastel look. I'm trying to get bolder - is it a coincidence that it rhymes with older? Anyway Holley, good on you for throwing away the rule book and just following your heart. I do love Salvia gregii and have a few in the garden,all pastel. But in my defence, haven't seen any in red (really!)

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    1. haha - Maybe we like bolder colors as we get older because we can see them better! ;) I would love to have some of the pastel salvias. I am going to start looking for them! I think I've only seen the red - but maybe that's just the color that draws my eye!

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  23. Hey Holley, just wanted to let you know I nominated you for the sunshine award, one of those awards bloggers give each other for mutual recognition and promotion. There's a little homework involved, see my site for details. If you'd rather not it's no problem. But I do want you to know that I very much enjoy your blog.

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    1. Thanks, Jason! I appreciate the vote of support. :)

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  24. Pastels wash out in our glaring summer sun. I love them, but they really need a bright spot or two to make it interesting. I love your red sage. I have Autumn sage, and it really perks up the front garden.

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    1. I think you're so right about the sun. Pastels can wash out here, too, and I guess that area needed a punch of color.

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  25. Holley I love the red as well...I think patches of red really grabs your eye...my white garden has bits of pink as well...can't be a perfect mono color as Mother Nature has her say...or Holley!

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    1. I think you're right about white gardens needing a little contrast, too. Pink is a perfect addition! And no, for some reason, I just can't stick to just one color! :)

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  26. It's the red of cardinal flower that pops up in my garden. The hummingbirds love it so much , I don't have the heart to pull it out. I guess it's the orange butterfly weed that really clashes, but a lot of the butterflies are orange too. It all goes with green anyway.

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    1. I have never put butterfly weed in my garden, because it does seem to clash with a lot of things, even in my predominately orange garden! You're right, though - it all goes with green! I'm going to add some butterfly weed to my garden. I bet I'll end up liking it!

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  27. Of course I have a soft spot for red. I painted my livingroom floor red, must have it in other places as well. Unfortunately I haven't figured out how to combine it well with other flowers. Interesting that it works with your pastels though. I might just try moving my red heuchera to my pastel area and see how that works out.

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    1. Oh, I can just imagine how wonderful a red living room floor would be! My living room walls are red - yes, I really like it, too! I think the addition (or not) of red outside has a lot to do with the light - I wonder if it would go well or clash with the pastels in your particular area.

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  28. Yes, the wishy washy shades need brightening up, I cant get enough of it. I do wish that Sage was hardy enough for our part of the world.

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    1. Just as I wish the yews wouldn't burn up here! :)

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