If you enjoy shaking up color schemes in your landscape, one way to be oh-so-current is to follow design industry leaders, such as the Pantone color corporation. Flowers by the Sea offers suggestions for seven garden combos based on the spring 2015 Pantone Fashion Color Report.
"Muted" is a good description for the soft colors of the current Pantone palette. They range from a chilly triad of ocean-like pastels to a warm, red-brown shade of wine called Marsala, which Pantone has named its color of the year.
Clothing and materials for interior design -- including appliance finishes, paint and wallpaper -- are all influenced by Pantone's annual spring announcement of new hues for decoration. Although FBTS can't provide exact matches for these colors, our selections come close.
Here are 15 FBTS plants to create stylish looks in your 2015 garden.
Pantone's Aquamarine is a cool, pale blue similar to the March birthstone that was once thought to protect mariners. We see it in the prim, star-shaped flowers of Blue Milkweed (Tweedia caerulea), which is often added to bridal bouquets.
Based on color, height and cultivation needs, Blue Milkweed would work well with the pale turquoise of Sapphire Tower (Puya alpestris), which is a good match for Pantone's Scuba Blue. As to Lucite Green -- a creamy shade that is difficult to find either in foliage or flowers -- we recommend the short, succulent groundcover Hens and Chicks (Echeveria elegans), which we don't sell but very much like.
These plants tolerate drought and aren't picky about soil except for requiring good drainage. While Blue Milkweed and Sapphire Tower prefer full sun, Hens and Chicks can handle some shade.
Blue Milkweed (Tweedia caerulea) Zones 8 to 11
Sapphire Tower (Puya alpestris) Zones 8 to 10
Some color combinations are reminiscent of school colors. Such is the case when you pair the deep blue and golden-orange flowers of Silver Puya (Puya coerulea) -- a ringer for Pantone's Classic Blue -- with the mustardy gold of Fern Leaf Yarrow (Achillea filipendulina 'Cloth of Gold'), which is a close match for Pantone's Custard.
Silver Puya gains its common name from its silvery white foliage whereas its scientific appellation "coerulea" is Latin for "dark blue." Both of these medium-height species prefer full sun, need well-drained soil and resist drought.
Silver Puya (Puya coerulea) Zones 8 to 10
Fern Leaf Yarrow (Achillea filipendulina 'Cloth of Gold') Zones 3 to 9
David Verity Cigar Plant (Cuphea x 'David Verity') has the same tangy look as Pantone's Tangerine. Border it with the much shorter Mango Popsicle Hot Poker (Kniphofia 'Mango Popsicle') featuring a flower spike shaped like a candle flame. Both require full sun and average watering based on local rainfall. However, David Verity can handle abundant moisture.
David Verity Cigar Plant (Cuphea x 'David Verity') Zones 8 to 9
Mango Popsicle Hot Poker (Kniphofia 'Mango Popsicle') Zones 6 to 9
For a zesty, drought-resistant border in a sunny location, try Bronze Sword (Libertia peregrinans) and long-blooming Kudos Gold Hybrid Anise Hyssop (Agastache x 'Kudos Gold') both of which reflect Pantone Tangerine and Custard. Bronze Sword is an Iris family member grown for its striking, striped foliage.
Kudos Gold Hybrid Anise Hyssop (Agastache x 'Kudos Gold') Zones 5 to 9
Bronze Sword (Libertia peregrinans) Zones 7 to 11
Pale yellow throats accent the dusky rose of our Yellow Pink Hybrid Jame Sage (Salvia x jamensis 'Yellow Pink'). They are delicate looking yet drought resistant. For an intense dose of what looks like Pantone's Strawberry Ice, interplant a border of this Jame Sage with the equally drought-resistant Rusty Sage (Salvia lanceolata), which has brownish-pink flowers.
Yellow Pink Hybrid Jame Sage (Salvia x jamensis 'Yellow Pink') Zones 7 to 9
Rusty Sage (Salvia lanceolata) Zones 8 to 11
Hairy foliage is one way in which nature makes plants drought resistant. The hairs help cool plants and conserve moisture by reflecting solar radiation. They also shimmer in sunlight, creating a silvery gray look, which is partly why the foliage of Velvet Centaurea (Centaurea gymnocarpa) and Cedros Island Sage (Salvia cedrosensis) are a good match for Pantone's Glacier Gray.
Being much taller than the blue-flowered Cedros Island Sage, Velvet Centaurea would form a lovely backdrop with its thistle-like lavender blooms. These are excellent full sun choices if you have made a resolution to plant a dry garden this year.
Velvet Centaurea (Centaurea gymnocarpa) Zones 8 to 10
Cedros Island Sage (Salvia cedrosensis) Zones 9 to 11
Finally, we arrive at one of the most dramatic combinations of Pantone's 2015 spring report and two of the most difficult floral colors to find -- the brownish-red of Marsala and the warm beige of Toasted Almond.
But we're up to the challenge, because our equally dramatic Tower of Jewels (Echium wildpretii) is an excellent lookalike for Marsala. Then there is the charming pastel blend of Marsala and Toasted Almond in Wooly Multicolor Sage (Salvia lasiantha), which grows almost as tall as the gem-like towers of floral power.
Create a medley by adding Little Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea 'Las Pilitas'), which is the shortest of the three plants and has hints of rusty red in its leaf-like bracts.
All are sun-loving species that thrive on average watering. Plant Tower of Jewels and Wooly Multicolor Sage side by side, leaving sufficient space for the Echium to rise up majestically between masses of the shrub. Add a front border of Little Hummingbird Sage.
Tower of Jewels (Echium wildpretii) Zones 8 to 11
Wooly Multicolor Sage (Salvia lasiantha) Zones 8 to 11
Little Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea 'Las Pilitas') Zones 8 to 11
Spacing and Other Questions
Whether massing or combining groupings of plants, it's necessary to consider the best way to space them for gardening success. For advice about spacing, please click on Ask Mr. Sage: How Should I Space Salvias When Planting. This information also can be applied to Salvia companion plants.
Each plant description in our online catalog describes the colors, cultural needs, size and USDA cold hardiness zone of that plant as well as any wildlife it is likely to attract. You'll also find lots of information on a broad range of plant-care subjects in our Everything Salvias blog.
However, if you have more questions about garden design, spacing or any of our plants, we are always glad to share what we know. So please call or email us and we'll do our best to help you create a garden of the year.