Re: [gardeners] Re: How much is too much

Liz Albrook (
Wed, 7 Oct 1998 12:53:41 +0000 <> wrote:

> I have purple dome aster which
> is wonderful but has very dominant coloring.  If I have it only in one spot.
> The color just screams at you and your eye doesn't travel the way it should.
> If I place in too many spots then you don't appreciate it as much.  You get
> that feeling of just more of the same.  But how do you find as strong a purple
> this time of year to balance the color. 

I think you are looking at this the wrong way.  You can never 
"balance the color" in a way that will make the eye not stop on an 
intensely colored specimen by adding more of a similar color (or by 
adding more of a different though equally intense color).    The 
whole point of planting an intensely colored plant is to draw the 
eye.  Planting an entire bed or border in intense colors does keep 
the eye moving but can (and usually does in my opinion) result in a 
technicolor headache.

If you are saying that you like the color but want to tone down the 
effect that it has then the simplest way to do that is with other 
less intense shades of the same color very close by.  In this 
particular case you could plant 2 other asters so close to the purple 
dome that the effect is that of a single, multi-hued plant.  If you 
plant a medium purple and light purple (or white) aster very close to 
the purple dome (so that it looks like one single plant)  you will 
help blend the intensely colored purple dome in with the rest of the 
bed while preserving the intense, interesting color of that aster.  
You can enjoy it close up without having it dominate the bed from a 
distance; in essence you can have your cake and eat it, too.  I use 
this technique in various forms a great deal since I like a number of 
intensely color plants but don't like the head snapping, eyeball 
jarring effect that those plants can have in a border.  You can have 
refined, soothing beds with intense colors.

That's the opposite effect that is achieved with "colorbowls".  With 
these the idea is to plant intensely hued specimens in clashing 
colors very close togethor, thereby making a small spot of color seem 
much larger and much brighter.  From a distance, a 12 inch colorbowl 
looks to be about 3 feet in diameter.  Two - three of them can fill a 
.25 acre lot, no problem.  A 10 foot long border of that in a .25 
acre lot drives me to drink.