Color in the landscape at this time of year can be a rather limited palette. Various shades of white (depending how dirty the snow is) mix with shades of brown and gray. No wonder we look forward to spring when the earth teems forth with life-giving greens and a Crayola box of color. While we wait, it's encouraging to look at the hues that have been chosen as Pantone's colors for 2018.
As a gardener and manager of a garden center, imagine my delight at the color of the year selected by Pantone: ultra violet. Purple has a regal and majestic meaning to it, but ultra violet was chosen to reflect "originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking" according to Pantone VP, Laurie Pressman. "It leans more to blue than red and that speaks to thoughtfulness, a mystical quality, a spiritual quality."
Hmmmm . . . thoughtful, mystical, and spiritual sound great, but what if you just like the color purple? For those of you kindred lovers of all things purple, here is a sampling of new perennials and annuals to add to your garden in spring:
‘Blueberry Ice’ Bougainvillea (shown above) is compact and perfect for small, sunny spaces. The cascading lavender-blue flower-like bracts are offset by its second-best feature - variegated green and white foliage. This tropical will slowly grow 2 to 3 ft. tall and 5 to 6 ft. wide.
‘April Night’ Salvia x sylvestris is a new salvia that blooms a month earlier than its relative ‘May Night’. Its longer bloom time of blue-violet flowers and compact, dense habit make it perfect for the garden or in patio containers. ‘April Night’ is hardy in zones 4-10.
‘Pikes Peak Purple’ Penstemon x mexicali is a hummingbird magnet! The tall spikes of grape-colored, nectar-rich flowers bloom throughout summer. This adaptable and versatile Plant Select® winner will reach 3 ft. tall when flowering, 2 to 3 ft. wide, and is hardy in zones 4-7.
Will we see more originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking as the year unfolds? Will ultra violet live up to its expectations? Let’s be positive and hope that it does. At least we know it will in the garden.
Horticulturist and General Manager of Burlington Garden Center
For more 2018 Pantone colors, visit pantone.com .