Punch Up the Color!

Looking for a new color twist this year? Try magenta on for size. Neither pink nor purple, magenta  leans towards fuchsia but is deeper.

Designer Daniel Mount is one of the best colorists I know. Where I would settle for a pleasing color echo he achieves that but  then kicks it up a notch to become exceptional. In the design above I love the way he has blended the burgundy tones of velvety Big Red Judy coleus with  duskier bronze foliage of Kerala Red x Opopeo love-lies-bleeding (Amaranthus) before throwing in the wildly vibrant Red Riding Hood phlox. A froth of pale yellow Japanese forest grass edges the border while the rich golden Sun King aralia (Aralia cordata 'Sun King' ) becomes the backdrop.

Red Riding Hood phlox (Phlox paniculata 'Red Riding Hood')

Red Riding Hood phlox

Red Riding Hood phlox

This perennial grows to 2' tall and wide in sun or part shade. The fragrant flowers attract bees and butterflies. Divide every 3-4 years. Hardy in zones 4-8

Sun King aralia (Aralia cordata 'Sun King' )

Sun King aralia

Sun King aralia

A standout in the shade garden, this golden leaved perennial grows to 6' tall and 4' wide. White summer flowers are followed by black fruit. Hardy in zones 4-8

Kerala Red x Opopeo love-lies-bleeding (Amaranthus)

Kerala Red x Opopeo love-lies-bleeding

Kerala Red x Opopeo love-lies-bleeding – bronze foliage and magenta flowers

An annual worth growing or hunting for. In late summer long tassels of magenta will explode from the central bud. To 5' tall. Birds will love the seed heads!

Other ideas?

Enjoy these other combinations by the same designer.


Annual cleome and perennial lilies takes over from phlox for floral color while gold perennials are replaced by creamy white grasses.


Distant tulips echo the rich color of the Ravenswing cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris 'Ravenswing') stem as it pierces the golden Japanese forest grass in this early season scene. (Be warned; this perennial can become invasive).

Or try these color combos;

Magenta + Black;  chic and sophisticated

Magenta + Orange; wild child!


Thunder and Lightening field scabious (Knautia) with hyssop (Agastache)

Thunder and Lightening field scabious (Knautia) with hyssop (Agastache) – discovered in a Seattle garden. Designer unknown

What will you pair it with?

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  1. Crys Stewart on March 25, 2015 at 9:35 am

    Beautiful photos. Great ideas. Thanks!

    • Karen Chapman on April 3, 2015 at 1:52 pm

      Daniel is such a great designer – glad you felt inspired as I was