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IDEA: New Color Combinations!

Looking for inspiration and ideas for the Idea Garden, a vase of flowers on a hotel counter triggered the plan for summer color! The simple flower arrangement had silver foliage, blue and purple flowers, and a ruffly pink rose. To the market I went, looking for those colors in plants that would take our challenging location!


The gray color was easy to find. Dusty Miller (Senecio cineraria ‘Silver Dust) provides lots of silver-grey foliage and is an easy plant to grow. It will take the full sun and hot, dry conditions of our island Idea Garden. It will grow 8 to 10 inches tall and begin to bush out as we keep the tops of the plant pinched.

Since I have experienced their incredible beauty coupled with incredible drought tolerance, I looked for the purple color in the spikes of Angelonia (Angelonia ‘Serenita Purple’). Growing to a height of 12 to 14 inches, these plants will make an excellent vertical interest in our planting bed. They will fill out to 8 to 10 inches wide.


Looking for the ruffly, full-flower look in something that would stand up to the hot temperatures and blazing sun in this bed, I found portulaca or moss rose (Portulaca grandiflora ‘Happy Hour Coconut’). This is an easy care plant that just does not miss a beat in the heat. I expect these plants to fill the area where they are planted since portulaca is a low-growing plant that spreads to about 12 inches.


The planting needed some additional accents, or so I told myself when I spotted the ornamental peppers (Capsicum annuum ‘Black Pearl’). Their leaves are nearly jet black! So, we brought home 10 of the Black Pearls for the Idea Garden. These plants will be a little bushy, growing to 14 inches tall and a little less in width.


Totally hooked on the purple-silver color scheme, we purchased 2 flats of Dusty Miller, 2 flats of portulaca, 10 peppers, and 12 Angelonia for the garden. We are looking forward to planting the garden, now!

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About sdorn

Sheri is the State Coordinator for the Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Program and Extension Specialist for Consumer Ornamentals. When she is not traveling about the state of Georgia admiring the work of Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteers, she spends time in her own (real and virtual) gardens.