Turning the spotlight around reveals a well-defined garden masterpiece and some helpful advice.
BY JAMEE GREGORY
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Blue pots and a crisp white Lutyens bench harmonize with the blue white and pink in my borders; the pale pink clematis blossoms look inviting wrapped around the white post; crisply cut walls of privet create a natural room; evergreen conifers, shrubs and hedges defi ne a flagstone path, and shades of green tie everything together; foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) is the star of my spring border. The spectacular spikes of mauve-pink last for weeks and will self-seed. Its bold shape and color add architecture and drama to any garden. Always plant at least five or seven plants together to form a clump.
POISED TO PLANT a few midsummer flowers? As I have, take your cues from Claude Monet, the Impressionist artist, and mix plants like paints to create a glorious confection that showcases your taste and style. On his estate in Giverny, Monet allowed plants to grow in a wild profusion, tumbling happily, but he was always conscious of the palette. Follow his example—using bold blues, bright yellows, pinks, mauves and white—and you can’t go wrong.
Picture your garden as a vast canvas, an area crying out for a harmonious plan. Come up with complementary colors, and don’t fall for every sexy plant that tempts your fancy. Those who see themselves as hot bodies should opt for red, yellow and orange plants, a selection that works well in bright sun. If your taste is cooler and more in line with the typical English perennial border, look for pale pinks, blues and whites, a selection that looks divine in the soft light of a Hamptons afternoon or early morning. It’s a subtle but satisfying combination that offers many options.
To elaborate on the English perennial border scheme, blue is the color that makes it all work. Choose perennials like lush nepeta (known as catmint), hardy clematis or campanula. Look for hydrangeas like ‘Blue Wave’ or the lace-cap variety; they love the climate! Lean to lavender and try varieties like ‘Hidcote’ and ‘Provence.’ Then create accents with pale greens, like fluffy Alchemilla mollis, known as lady’s mantle, or annuals like ‘Green Envy’ nicotiana. Into this mix toss handfuls of pink, like fairy roses, annual verbena or buddleia to attract butterflies—and try bright pink lilies like ‘Stargazer’ for July. Next time you head to Marders in Bridgehampton, Lynch’s Garden Center in Southampton or Buckley’s Flower Shop in East Hampton, zero in on pink ‘Apple Blossom’ petunias or pale pink hibiscus. Stagger the profusion of pink: Let trees like crape myrtle bloom in the high summer and ‘Autumn Glory’ sedum in the fall.
Whichever hue you choose, hot or cold, remember to keep on track, using a color wheel as your guide. Before you know it, your garden will be in perfect harmony, making artwork for your eyes all summer long.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOSH LEHRER