10 February 2010
In The Garden With the Fluvanna Master Gardeners
By Irene C. Burke - Fluvanna Master Gardener
Fluvanna County Extension Office: 434.591.1950
YFor those who visit at dawn and dusk, there are white gardens; for those seeking coolness in a torrid landscape there is blue. Multilayered, wildly textured green gardens have become fashionable lately. There are yellow and orange gardens but few dare create a passionate, vibrant, red-only garden. Hummingbirds would be frequent visitors. They love the color so much.
English royalty wear red. In China red means good luck. Red creates an emotional reaction as in seeing red. A swinging red lantern may mean stop to a train or go to a pilgrim. Red-eyed devils, the red-eye and red tape all conspire to make misery but a red garden? Theres a tale. What will you say with your red garden and how?
Red in your gardening life may dominate a section or the whole territory from trees to shrubs, flowers to vegetables, groundcovers and grasses, containers, too. Tree bark, shrub stems, foliage, berries and blooms, all are opportunities for red in the garden.
If you plant in drifts where color changes slightly from one tone to another, scarlet will soothe but if you mix your crimsons and rubies, the look becomes chaotic and disturbing. If thats the effect youre looking for, then dazzling confusion comes to mind.
Make a small garden seem brighter and more spacious by using a single color. A vibrant color like red, however, must be moderated with shaded tones and intensities, otherwise the richness will box-in the space.
Greens will poke through no matter how intense the cherry-reds and deep burgundies. So decide how much you will allow. Whether emerald, jade or Granny Smith-green they all offer relief as in Ahh! But they also bestow depth and direction guiding your eye through the landscape, dividing and separating without symmetry.
Rocks and gnarly roots rarely come in true red but like the greens they punctuate the setting with a tactile and visual release.
Who are these reddened creatures? Though reds are plentiful in the gardens of temperate climates not all are suitable for the acid clay and humid summers of the Central Virginia piedmont. Nor would it be fair to suggest what will only be heavily browsed or severely damaged by deer. That would be a cruel tease casting you into gardenings red zone.
Much of what is suggested is from Fluvanna Countys own Master Gardeners along with the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension personnel who also consulted with nursery and landscape professionals and the Master Gardeners in Northern New Jersey.
Bear in mind that the mantra is: Plant what works where you are instead of working so hard to plant what works someplace else. This is but a small sample. More awaits you on the Internet.
Annuals: Amaranthus cruentus, Salvia, Zinnia. Perennials: Astilbe Thunbergii Red Straussenfeder, Crocosmia Lucifer, Echinacea Tomato Soup and Red Knee High, the winter effects of Euphorbia amygdaloides hybrid Helenas blush, Double Peony Red Magic, Yarrow Red Beauty and Paprika. Trees: Red maple, hawthorns (Crataegus) Crimson Cloud, Crape Myrtle Tonto. Shrubs: Male and female Winterberry (Ilex verticillata), Red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia), spicebush (Lindera benzoin). Vegetables: rhubarb.
Tip of the Week
Fuel-line air bubbles make your car stall, hesitate and even refuse to start. One air bubble in a long-stem rose blocks water from rising past the bubble or a nick or tear, dooming your Valentines Day bouquet to an early death. To prevent air from entering the stem, hold each in water while cutting the end an inch from the bottom or an inch above a wound.