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Color in the landscape

Posted by rosecavalier 3 AB (My Page) on
Wed, Nov 20, 13 at 10:35

As I post this message, we have a wind chill of -40C, and I look outside through my front window. The landscape is devoid of color with the wonderful exception of Colorado blue & green spruce contrasting with the white snow.

To me, the contrast has a similar effect upon the psyche...although not as dramatic...as, say a fire in a glass window woodstove while sitting in a room in complete darkness...or walking under a fresh chartreuse canopy of trembling aspen in the spring...or driving past a canola field in bloom in early summer when everything else is green.

What makes a landscape appeal to you? How do you incorporate contrast in your gardening if you do think it has value? Do you have any photos to share?

As a contrast to the conditions outside, I've included a photo that illustrates a landscape without too much color...but to my eye is very effective.

 photo IMG_1504_zpsf3a3f922.jpg


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Color in the landscape

That is a very interesting photo, I love the structure and pleasing contrasting colors and textures and focusing upon the one guy who dares to be different. I attempt to make my surroundings as colorful and interesting as possible and for the most part that begins with the careful placement of conifers. We were very fortunate to have found this property, the contour and lay of the land is outstanding and most generously sprinkled with large beautiful birch trees and many very attractive native plants such as wild roses and the long blooming bedstraw and classy looking rough fruited fairy bells … oh, and not to forget the dogwood, hazelnuts, chockcherries, saskatoons and wild clematis that in spring are covered in a profusion of bloom. I love lots of color and many areas are saturated, though in other locations I’ve just worked with the native surrounding and cleaned things up and incorporated interesting specimen plants.


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RE: Color in the landscape

  • Posted by beegood Zone 3 Alberta (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 22, 13 at 22:10

I really have no plan. Just buy plants I like and then look for a place to plant. Mostly perennials. This what my beehive looked like last year.
 photo Birthdaypix013.jpg


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RE: Color in the landscape

Me too, though i do have a white garden and an area where there's lots of red and yellow. Just throw things into the ground and hope they look good!


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RE: Color in the landscape

I look for plants that can handle the sun, wind and gravelly, sandy, lumpy clay soil!!!!


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RE: Color in the landscape

I like a variety of shapes, heights and textures in a garden. Colour is definitely secondary for me.


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RE: Color in the landscape

Very pretty


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RE: Color in the landscape

We spend a lot of time in the veggie garden and have made it a very colorful place. Lately, we've been adding more year round interest with the placement of conifers and upright blue junipers that are such great punctuation marks in the landscape. I am lessening the use of annuals in favor of perennials and shrubs ... though, yes, the veggies will remain, lol.


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RE: Color in the landscape

Oh my goodness - that is a stellar garden - just beautiful!!!


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RE: Color in the landscape

What awesome pictures posted here. It's always nice to see them, particularly during the time of year when there's snow on the ground .

twrosz You have what I assume are beets, then cabbage , and then......

What are the taller plants next to the cabbage, on the right middle section of your picture?


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RE: Color in the landscape

Terry...your comment "begins with careful placement of conifers" demonstrates the result of years of time spent gardening...I wish the internet had existed when I had started work on my backyard. It seems like it has taken most of a lifetime to see what plants would survive, what my microclimates were, and how I could modify existing microclimates to be more plant friendly..but it sure has been fun!

Really appreciate the photos showing the "Herculean" efforts
northern gardeners have gone to...to create their own Edens. And everyone's Eden appears to be a work in progress...trying out new ideas...just wonderful.

Northspruce...I found your comment...color is secondary...very interesting. I'm including a photo that expands the concept of texture and shape...and parallels somewhat what I see in Terry's veggie garden.

 photo IMG_1505_zps8bc9b22b.jpg

Cabbage as contrast...mmm. and why not throw in a rose standard.


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twrosz, that is absolutely STUNNING!

It's so gorgeous that i don't even want to pick the veggies now.... LOL


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RE: Color in the landscape

I had been thinking that those cabbages were looking good and would make for a very nice photo :) ... we then went onto harvest our best ever crop of storage cabbage.

nutsaboutflowers, those are fava beans, I don't recall what variety (from Thompson and Morgan) though, they emit a beautiful soft fragrance for weeks on end.

Yes, it's fun to see what others are creating and evolving within their spaces. Since this place is relatively new from the literal ground up, I'm still in the process of building the bones and always do lots of head scratching selecting and positioning conifers and evergreens and deciduous trees and shrubs ... then, the perennials and annuals find their place among them.

rosecavalier, the colors and textures of that photo have my eyes bouncing all over the place, I mean in a calming good way. Apparently, edible crops have been used in a very pleasing visual manner ... who knew that cabbage, lettuce, boxwood and standard roses could looks soooo good together! Now, I just wish boxwood and tree roses were fully hardy here!

ostrich, I'm looking forward to seeing how your new place evolves in Calgary.


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Terry...your statement about "edible crops being used in a pleasing manner" was reflected in even more ways in this garden. In the photo below, to my astonishment, apple trees were being used like boxwood...the apple trees trunks were about 4" in diameter but stood only 2 ft high! Wonder if Konrad has played with pruning techniques like this.

 photo IMG_1501_zps0dbb3449.jpg

At first sight, I didn't realize that this wonderful garden was designed around edible vegetables and herbs...they even used horseradish as a landscape plant...all edible art...something like sushi!

 photo IMG_1494_zps05895db6.jpg

The Garden at Villandry, France. They used climbing roses, treeroses, and the odd smaller tree as contrast anchors...not unlike what you are doing with your placement of evergreens....lots of straight lines for a more formal appearance.


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What I'd give to have a climate similar to France! I especially like the idea of small evergreen hedges to frame and enclose plantings ... though, we cold zoners are very limited in that regard. I've only come across a few boxwood plantings situated in a north facing aspect that have performed well until a low snowfall winter dried them to a crisp. Previously, I had a used dwarf 'Danica' cedars, but these also need to be covered over in snow and often dehydrate badly in early spring. For a very attractive specimen plant, I extensively use 'Moffat Blue' upright juniper, this compact selection is superior to 'Wichita Blue' and 'Moonglow'. For several years, these have been available at Walmart, one gallon plants being especially affordable in price.

At some point I'd like to train an espalier apple tree!


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RE: Color in the landscape

Terry, how tall do those upright junipers get? I looked at Moonglow in the fall but didn't buy it. I want something evergreen for the birds, and i'd like to put it close to the house so i don't want one that gets too big. The dwarf Alberta spruce has been a dismal failure and cedars are out of the question as they're just expensive deer feed around here. Any advice?


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RE: Color in the landscape

Marcia ... from what I was able to search, ‘Moffat Blue’ can get to be about 9 ft x 2 ½ wide, though that would take a very long time, as it’s slow to put on height because the leader has a tendency to want to go sideways before growth continues upward ... though, the dense branching habit is very pleasing and sets this selection apart from others. If you’d like something faster growing, then I’ve also been pleased with ‘Medora', though it's more of a bluish gray, rather than the bright silvery blue of 'Moffat Blue'. I’ll try to remember to post photos come next spring. These both are very good alternatives to 'Wichita Blue' and 'Moonglow'.

I really enjoy the colors and textures of this photo and how it captures the feeling of summer :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Medora upright juniper


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RE: Color in the landscape

BTW, Marcia, you can successfully grow dwarf Alberta spruce in zone 3 ... if planted out of the winter and early spring sun and until the frost has come out of the ground in April. I have 'Sander's Blue' planted on the north side of my garage and it always comes through with no problem whatsoever. It was previously in the open garden where it would badly burn each spring.


I found a photo of 'Moffat Blue' juniper that shows the very nice branching habit it develops.

Here is a link that might be useful: 'Moffat Blue' juniper


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RE: Color in the landscape

Unfortunately, the spot i want the evergreen for is right in the sun facing south, so i guess that was not ideal for the spruce. I knew it needed protection, and covered it the first couple of years and then shielded it as per advice from somewhere. It still had a lot of winterkill and really doesn't look great now. I put a small flower bed in front of it so that the dead brown parts are hidden.

Thanks for the advice on 'Moffat Blue'. I'll be on the lookout for it. I'm not sure if it will be available around here, but one of the guys from the local nursery will bring things in from Winnipeg.

By the way, Terry, your garden picture - the first one with the cabbages in it - made it as Garden Web's photo of the day today! Congrats!


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