In the mood for purple

Purple coleus

Purple coleus gets a container planting glowing.

A professional artist once told me “Never forget the purple.” He was looking at a portrait I was painting–which lacked, among other things, any sense of depth–and encouraging me to try underpainting. Many great masters of the art world used this technique to give their works luminosity by, you guessed it, painting in layers starting with a rich, muted colour such as umber or purple. Sometimes you can still see that dried-blood/burgundy coming through in a finished painting if you look at it as up-close as possible before the security guard sees purple.

You won’t be able to avoid this brilliant hue when spring fashion hits the racks in full force–Pantone announced Radiant Orchid to be the colour of 2014. Designers have fallen for the colour head over strappy heels. My garden won’t be quite so fashionable, but the idea of using this colour to add depth and luminosity to the garden is worth a revisit. Here’s a slideshow of ideas.

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