A new look at Hydrangea Harmony of Colors may be just what you need as you plan your garden for 2022. You’ll see that it not only adds beauty to the landscape, it energizes and excites you and suddenly everything you do in the garden seems fun.
You probably have heard about basic colors schemes like monochromaticism, blends of similar colors, complementary colors, and the old adage of opposites attract, or one selection from the hot side of the color wheel paired with its opposite from cool side of the color wheel.
When it comes to the new riotous colors of today’s hydrangeas, you can open up that color scheme door to include triadic and even quadratic harmony, three or four colors equal distance apart on the color wheel. This is all about knowing your hydrangeas and picking out partners.
My fun started almost three years ago with the arrival of Let’s Dance Rave hydrangeas that were bred for extra cold resistance up north but were like an electrical charge of color for those of us in the South. Electric blue and purple mauves you didn’t know existed suddenly became available for garden partnerships.
I asked my color design guru son if his clients thought about combinations with their blue or purple hydrangeas, and the answer was only a couple. The old-fashioned way is simply to plant them as stand-alone shrubs. Here you find the impetus for this column.
At the beginning I referenced knowing your hydrangeas as to their color. In reality, this is also like knowing your soil pH and how it varies across the landscape. In my backyard, a hydrangea can be electric blue, telling me the soil is very acidic. The same variety in purple 10 feet away is less acidic. Up the hill in the left corner are some Wee Bit Giddy hydrangeas, new this year from Proven Winners with shocking red pink blooms. I expect it to change over the years, but who knows about this old hill.
Wee Bit Giddy provided me with my most outlandish monochromatic partnership of 2021. The Garden Guy interplanted Heart to Heart Tickle Me Pink caladiums. Since I had never grown either, the result was beyond all expectations.
Blue violet colors or flowers with blue and violet mixed together have always stirred me. It’s like this is a magical blend maybe only fit for royalty. Sometimes I even think this marriage only occurs by accident, but I am sure the great designers intentionally make it happen.
So when a Let’s Dance Rave hydrangea, Rockin Deep Purple salvia and Superbells Double Blue calibrachoas came together in my garden in a monochromatic blend, I had a state of euphoria. An intermingling of Goldilocks Creeping Jenny gave a finishing touch of chartreuse.
Proven Winners is debuting Soprano impatiens in 2022, which, by the way, are still dazzling now in November. These little orange and violet shades workhorses allowed me to create a triadic blend of color with the lime green foliage of Rockin Golden Delicious salvia and blue hydrangea blossoms. This filtered light garden has held its interest since June.
One of my favorite combinations of 2021 mimicked a wildflower meadow against the blue hydrangeas. Obviously, the hydrangeas were in the shadiest part of the grouping, while Uptick Coreopsis and Evergold Carex grass grew in the sunnier front. Superbells Tangerine Punch calibrachoas and Soprano Orange impatiens were at the left flank.
If you just don’t know where to start in your hydrangea partnerships, consider some of the Shadowland series of hostas. These are guaranteed to make dazzling partners. The Garden Guy in pursuit of hydrangeas and azaleas blooms together just planted the new Perfecto Mundo Orange azaleas in front of Tuff Stuff Ah-Ha, mountain hydrangeas that always have long-lasting huge blue blooms.
Wonderful hydrangea partnerships await you for 2022. The Garden Guy hopes you will jump on the bandwagon and let your imagination flow.
Norman Winter is a horticulturist, garden speaker and author of “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.” Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.