January 22, 2014

Luxe

Plants that have rich mahogany tones always draw my attention. I like shades of deep cordovan, plummy wine, and tawny cognac.

I am obviously supposed to be living a different life, drinking expensive liqueurs and wearing fine leather accessories while sitting on luxe furniture.

I noticed this when I was going over the photographs Jim took on several garden visits this past summer. The shots I asked him to take were often of plants that had deep coloring.

Like this Hydrangea serrata 'Preziosa" that we saw at Whiteflower Farm in Litchfield, Connecticut (yes the same Whiteflower Farm nursery that sends out the glossy catalog). It was fall, and the red-wine blooming hydrangea was next to a golden amsonia hubrichtii and the combination was extravagantly rich.

I have Hydrangea 'Preziosa' in my garden, but it is small, has never bloomed, and is barely hanging on. I moved it, of course, and in the process I kind of divided it in half (which you really can't do with a woody shrub) and now I have two barely surviving hydrangeas. Will they ever look like this?

At Wave Hill Garden in the Bronx, New York City, a magnolia with leaves backed in velvety mahogany brown caught my attention. It is Magnolia grandiflora 'Bracken's Brown Beauty', and it is a beauty. It's the hardiest of the southern magnolias.

It's the congac-colored leather-looking underside of the leaves that gives it such a rich look.

Mukdenia rossi 'Crimson Fans' is a red tinged glossy ground cover. I saw this at Cornell Plantations in Ithaca, New York. I was immediately drawn to the richly tipped leaves. The leaves are quite large, the plant mounds over in cascading fans, and the painted edges of the foliage shine jewel-like.

I have several small mukdenias that I planted last year, but of course mine are puny and look like nothing so elegant yet. But those wine tipped fans intrigue me, and someday I will have them.

I grew red tinged clover in a pot last year, because I liked the soft dark splashes on its leaves. This is real clover, Trifolium repans, complete with little white pom pom blooms.

Even humble clover looks luxe dressed in a rich amaranthine.

20 comments:

  1. Love the combo of the amsonia and hydrangea. It seems that the fancy hydrangeas take forever to grow up and bloom. Their time will come tho. Must be patient weedhopper.

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    1. Lisa, I am trying to be patient waiting for shrubs to mature, but digging plants up and moving them multiple times never seems to help!

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  2. I agree with Lisa--I love the hydrangea/ amsonia combo. I'm still waiting for a 'Pink Diamond' hydrangea to bloom in my garden. I practically killed it the first year I planted it in the middle of a drought. But I left the twiggy plant where it was; last year, a few leaves appeared on the lower branches. I don't know if keeping it means I'm patient or just lazy:)

    Your clover looks anything but humble; so sweet!

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    1. Rose, that amsonia and hydrangea really are meant to be together, I love the combo too. Here's hoping your Pink Diamond makes it : )

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  3. Ha! Was chuckling about the liquor! That Hydrangea serrata 'Preziosa" and golden amsonia hubrichtii are drop dead gorgeous! One of the best combinations I have seen in a long while! I agree on the deep tones of mahogany...they add such a richness and depth in so many areas of the garden. Hope your hydrangeas bounce back for you! Have a great week! Nicole

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    1. Nicole, I agree that the dark purples and wine colors add not just color, but real depth in a garden. They make everything else look good around them.

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  4. The deep tones add a certain regality to the plants. Did you just dig up ordinary clover and pot it, or was it a certain type that you purchased?

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    1. Kathryn, I bought the clover, it is a cultivar called Dragon's Blood I think. Really unusual for such a common plant.

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  5. I have to agree with everyone else about the superb amsonia/hydrangea combo. It is a keeper.

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    1. Patty -- yes it is! I need to see if I can duplicate that in my own garden.

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  6. Wonderful colors, Laurrie! I liked as you say: congac-colored. Yes I have one that I say beet-colored leaves, it's PHYSOCARPUS opulifolius 'Diabolo'. Nice hydrangea, I'd like to grow one of this color!

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    1. Nadezda, the Preziosa hydrangea probably would not be hardy for you. I am pushing it a little trying to grow it this far north, although the one growing so beautifully in the picture is in a town near me.

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  7. Heyyy, Fancy Lady Laurrie,

    Your taste in colors is exquisite. I grew that 'Preziosa' in Connecticut with no problem; either I was lucky or close enough to the Sound to keep it going. In any case, the blooms are the color that would make a great shirt – one that would light up my wardrobe.

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    1. Lee, Glad to hear you grew Preziosa so well -- and it does make a great shirt color! I gave my Colorado son a shirt for Christmas last year that was that deep color (the only one he owns that isn't plaid) and he looked really fine. You need one for sure!

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  8. Oooh, oooh, and oooh! I love all the colors in this post! I thought mukdenia was a tropical plant. Looks like I've got some learnin' to do! When I dug up my last three hydrangea - because they were miserable - they ended up being about 8 separate plants. I was really surprised. The hydrangea/amsonia combo is so fabulous! WANT! Ignoring the fact that I have no where to put it.... :o)

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    1. Tammy, it's funny how hydrangeas break apart into separate plants when you dig them up. I guess the young stem and root systems are brittle. I'm glad to know I have inspired several new plants for your garden : )

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  9. I have that issue with digging shrubs up and moving too many times. There's a mockorange I keep doing that do, each time I vow I'll let it stay in one place. Love the rich colours you are drawn to, many of them are leaves and bark which is perfect for year round interest.

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    1. Marguerite, moving shrubs is a strange addiction. I promise myself too that I'll leave them alone, and then I don't!

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  10. There's a beautiful Hydrangea 'Preziosa' at the entrance of Chanticleer. I got a piece of a similar one from a friend several years ago. It has some of the coloration of Preziosa but only a bit. I think I'll give the real thing a try and see what happens, probably up near the house where its roots won't sit in water.

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    1. James, When we were at Chanticleer in June I did not notice the hydrangea, but of course the rich blooms were not out then. I do want to go back in fall, and I'll know to look for it! I think a deep wine red 'Preziosa' would be very nice near your house, tucked in next to the other plantings. Perfect.

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