Monday, December 5, 2016

This Month's Color in the Garden: December 2016-The Power of Red in the Landscape

The Power of Red in the Garden Clockwise Left to Right: Dahlia, Landscape Architectural Element, Dahlia, Winterberry and Knock Out Rose (center)
In landscape design and architecture, the color red tends to dominate when compared to other colors. Red tends to make a strong, dramatic statement and creates an illusion of boldness and depth. Red can be used to brighten a space in all seasons, including winter, with the incorporation of architectural elements or perhaps some berry producing shrubs in the garden against a white snowy background. Red foliage creates striking contrast in spring throughout fall, and red flowers, especially tubular-shaped ones, are an attraction to hummingbirds and other pollinators. The color red will have a lot more impact in your garden when used sparingly, and is nicely complemented by the the color green, which is considered neutral.

Nandina domestica berries
Examples of red blooms in the landscape include Red Knock Out Rose, Tulips, Peony, Zinnia, Dahlia and Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower). Red berry producing plants include Nandina domestica, Winterberry, Holly, Skimmia and some varieties of viburnum. Plants exhibiting red or maroon foliage include Heuchera ‘Palace Purple' (Coral Bells), Weigela Spilled Wine, and annuals such as Coleus, Impatiens and Begonia. The most prominent red in the garden that keeps coming to mind is that of the traditional red rose.

Red Knock Out Rose 'Radrazz'
Roses have been grown throughout civilization and are a timeless tradition, speaking the language of love, beauty, courage and respect. Historical evidence shows they were grown in China about 5,000 years ago, and have carried their special meaning ever since. A deep red rose can be used to convey heartfelt regret and sorrow. or twelve red roses conveys "Be mine" and "I love you. The red rose began its history during Greek and Roman times, where it was tied to Aphrodite, or Venus, the mythical goddess of love, who was often seen with roses around her head and covering her feet and neck. The red rose throughout time has symbolized an immortal love that could never fade, even through time or death. In early Christianity, the rose became associated with the virtue of Virgin Mary and in the Tarot it has been considered a symbol of balance, promise, new beginnings, and hope. In Shakespeare's writings, roses had become a poetic standard throughout his works. Throughout its history, the red rose continues to hold its status as the ultimate symbol of affection. Other flowers and their meanings include red Amaryllis, a statement of splendid beauty and pride, red aster which symbolizes patience, Anthurium symbolizing happiness and hospitality and poinsettia symbolizing good cheer and success. 

Architectural Elements Old Westbury Mansion Long Island
In landscape architecture the color red is often used to draw attention or create a focal point, as in the use of red brick for walkways, labyrinths, benches or perhaps some red Adirondack chairs to highlight a sitting area. Estate gardens are known for their mass plantings of red tulips, dahlias and rose covered arbors. In color theory, red tends to make a space look smaller and can be used to make a large space seem more intimate. Red brick also brings to mind thoughts of mansions from colonial time, and can be implemented in modern day to create an old world feel. 
Clockwise Left to Right: Red Knock Out Rose, Dahlia, Tulips, Nandina 'domestica', Amaryllis (center)
Do you have any design or architectural elements in your space that are red and if you do, when and where are they most prominent? I invite you to share whatever shades of red you have going on in your garden in the comments below, whether it be in the form of plants or otherwise. I hope you enjoyed "This Month's Color in the Garden". I'm already thinking about next month's theme, which is the color white! Next up is Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up on the 15th. and Color Our World Round Up on the 30th. 

Have you read my book,"A Guide to Northeastern Gardening: Journeys of a GardenDesigner Zones 3-9" on Amazon? If you haven't, I invite you to check out the preview. If you have read it and found the information to be helpful, please consider leaving a brief review. Your help would be very much appreciated! The holiday season is here and a gardening book can make the perfect holiday gift for yourself or for the gardening enthusiast in your life! Click on the image or links for details!

As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

22 comments:

  1. What beautiful, bright pops of red! I like how you highlight garden elements like paths, not just plants, in the color roundups.

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed this Nicole. I wanted to include hardscape as well, since it is just as important an element in landscape design. Thanks for the feedback!

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  2. The colours of these just jump off the screen in December, Lee!

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  3. A fascinating post. I particularly enjoyed learning about the symbolism of red roses over millennia, as we tend just to focus on them on Valentine's Day. I'm very fond of red, but it can be a little tricky when designing.

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    1. Thank you for visiting Sarah and I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed the post! I had read the "Language of Flowers" a while back in which the author spoke of the secret meaning of different types flowers. I found the book to be fascinating and now enjoy researching the meanings behind each type of plant. Next month is the color white, which stands for purity. Glad you enjoyed and I loved your post about your lab Basil..made me smile!

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  4. What a gorgeous post! The red is so beautiful. I am fascinated by the Victorians use of symbolism. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Oh thank you so much Terri! You just made my day! Have a great week!

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  5. I love the color red in my flower beds and even in my home. Thanks for sharing some insight to the color red!

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    1. It really does make a statement, whether inside or out. Thank you for visiting!

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  6. Enjoyed your feature on red in the landscape. I have a small labyrinth of red brick and pavers that makes a nice focal point. Have tried creating a red border but that hasn't worked out well yet.

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    1. Your labyrinth must be lovely and give you lots of joy. There is a one in our town common ground constructed of pavers with red stone in between. It creates such a peaceful and welcoming feel that is nice to visit.

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  7. Beautiful, colorful photos! Interesting to read too!

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for visiting and have a wonderful week!

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  8. Great post. I like the red berries. In Maine I have Holly, but could use some other berries, painted the pots red and bench. Helps with the all white back ground. SNOW Happy Holidays, live it up! yvonne

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    1. Thank you Yvonne! The bright red berries do look so beautiful against the white winter snow. If you are looking for more berries, China Girl/China Boy Holly or perhaps Winterberry would do well in your zone.

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  9. Red is one of my favourite colors. I wear it all the time and even decorate with it. My dinning room is red. When it comes to the garden however, I seem to have edited it out in favour of pink and maroon. No idea why. Thanks for the reminder of what a great garden color it is.
    If it helps in any small way, I am quite happy to do a book review/giveaway of your book on my blog. Let me know if you are interested.

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed the post Jennifer and thank you for your kind offer. I would be honored if you did a review of my book on your blog!

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  10. Great post! Red is one of my favorite accent colors. Many of my Japanese maples have red foliage, which is spectacular in spring and fall. Some of the pots in my garden are red. I like red in the woodland garden, as it is a great complement to all the greenery.

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    1. The foliage from your red maples is breathtaking Deb, as I just saw in your last post. It is also a nice idea that you use red pots to accent the garden. Thank you for sharing!

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  11. Red in the garden frustrates me, but for an odd reason. I can't seem to photograph red properly! It either turns out pink or orange! Why can't the camera see the beautiful color that I see?

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    1. Red can be a little bit tricky to photograph. I find it shows up as its true color when you photograph on a clear sunny day with a blue sky. Then the color really pops! Have a great week!

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Thank you for visiting. I love reading your comments and knowing you have been here, and will try to reciprocate on your blog. If you have any questions I will try my very best to answer them. As always...HAPPY GARDENING!

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