Embracing Magenta Gardens

The Gardenist

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I read this morning on one of my favorite garden blogs (Black Walnut Dispatch) that it was once a very common thing for gardeners to avoid the color magenta because people associated it with poison —  arsenic was once commonly used in pesticides, giving crops that had been dusted with it a magenta color. 

These days, while plenty of heinous chemicals still persist in many commonly used pesticides, pink tinge-ing arsenic is not typically one of them. But there is, among some, a persistent aversion to magenta colored plants.... which is really too bad, as they are wonderful design choices. 

I always find these tidbits of history so interesting, and I am quite relieved that we have moved past our arsenic days.  But it got me thinking about magenta and how to use it to greatest effect in the garden.  Here are three ideas that I think would be fantastic. 

Inspire a Tropical Style

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Combine Magenta flowers with Red and Yellow flowers to acheive a tropical look.  Hibiscus flowers like this one from infojardin are a perfect color inspiration. This can be practically done in containers with a Canna lily (in any of the three colors), adding in annuals like impatiens or bromeliads for interesting texture.   

Get Sultry and Sexy

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Pair magenta with dark wood or dark containers.  The inky-ness of a dark finish will soften the boldness of the magenta and make for a strikingly elegant look.  I imagine pink crepe myrtle planted in front of an ebony stained porch.  

Dynamic Contemporary 

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Black and White combnined with magenta creates a vibrant, edgy, contemporary look. Plop this chair (from Terrain) among a heady mix of maganeta flowers (my favorites, Echinacea Big Sky 'Southern Belle'Sedum 'Birthday Party') for a striking setting. 

How do you like to use magenta in the garden?  What is your favorite mix?

(Images: Hibiscus from infojardin, Crepe myrtle from George Weigel, ebony swatch from Vermont Plank Flooring, all others as linked above.)