Purple reigns in this garden

I would like to say it was planned, but really – it was a happy accident.

I am well on my way to creating a purple flower bed. Oh, white and silver are mixed in, and of course, green is the backdrop, but purple is the star.

It started with my love of allium bulbs. Big beautiful spheres of purple that bloom in the spring. I plant more each year. Last fall, I added giant alliums to the mix. 

So far, the leaves are broader and more pronounced than the others. The stems are growing quickly, and I can’t wait for them to open. The adorable little girl down the street calls them Dr. Seuss bulbs because of their magical quality.

The tulips in this bed disappeared years ago. The deer and squirrels saw to that. 

In their place, I planted grape hyacinths, which have survived so far. They bloom right after the early white snowdrops. It’s a nice way to get through the late winter and early spring days.   

Other early bloomers are my hellebores or Lenten Roses. I started a few years ago with the pinkish lavender color. It was happy and continued to grow. Last year I added one with a reddish hint, Anna’s Red. It did well, and the two colors blended well together.  

Because the hellebores are happy in this spot, I added a third plant a few weeks ago. This one is a bit more dramatic, New York Night, with dark flowers. I planted them in a row, so the color gradually changes as your eye travels across the garden.

I have the traditional small lamb’s ear out back, it has purple spike blooms and would have fit my color palette, but I went with a large leaf variety. It is bushy and mounding and seems very happy in this semi-shady sunny spot. The fuzzy leaves have a silver sheen and last well into the winter before dying back. Early this year, new growth appeared, and it is now back better than ever.

It could be that the large leaf lambs ear is proving right the saying about perennials – first year they sleep, second year they creep, and the third year they leap. This plant has certainly taken a leap.

This little bed in my front garden is bordered by dwarf mondo grass and backed by a stone wall. The fact that it is contained gives me a small but high-profile area to design. Over the years, I have tried several different plants, but now, I have found this garden’s sweet spot.  

As the spring moves into summer, I have the opportunity to add purple, green, and silver. I may try to add purple fountain grass or Salvia, a perennial that likes sun, so I need to be careful. This bed is a little on the shady side.

I added Heuchera or coral bells. I chose the dark reddish-purple but could have gone with lime green. To add even more lime green, low Creeping Jenny would be a perennial ground cover. I also have several varieties of sedum that fill in between the plants.  

In a sunnier spot, I could plant Russian Sage, lavender, and Irises. If deer are not visitors to the garden, pansies, violas, and petunias are good choices to add white and purple to the mix. 

To add height, climbers such as clematis, morning glories, or even hyacinth bean vine will extend the color if given a trellis to grab hold of as they grow. I have Solomon’s seal as back drop here and in the back garden.  The deer nibble on it in the front but don’t touch out back.

As summer winds down and fall approaches, mums and asters will appear. Sometimes I do this in containers, and sometimes I plant them directly into the ground. I have not had good luck keeping them from year to year.

As my little front garden bed develops, I will be more intentional about what I add. I will work to carry the color story throughout the space and throughout the seasons. This will make my sister happy; she is crazy about purple. It will make me happy to finally have a direction for this garden that greets me every day.