Design yourself a pink garden

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Copy of ss Valentine 1 - Oriental Vnu

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This classic oriental landscape offers a modern approach to creating a border of pinks.

Pink is one of the most popular flower colours; it is charming, calming and romantic. This Valentine’s Day, choose from a wide variety of pink-flowering plants ranging from the soft delicate pinks to rich magenta hues.

The quickest way to achieve a romantic pink garden is to choose summer-flowering bedding plants. You can also plant pink bedding plants in a container to give as a Valentine’s Day gift.

For instant pink colour, try allysum, bedding dahlia, dianthus, lavatera, nicotiana, penstemon, petunia, phlox, portulaca, verbena or zinnia. For partial shade, consider New Guinea impatiens, begonia or coleus.

Designing with pink

If you are really brave, design an entire garden around pink, varying the effect where desired by using one of many tried-and-tested colour combinations. This approach is particularly effective in small townhouse gardens. Or, you may be more interested in planting a particular section of the garden in pinks. Begin with a secluded nook with a pretty bench for two. Or, go for pinks on your patio.

Professional designers often use pastel pinks to create an illusion of distance in a border where a garden is wider than it is long. By planting the back of a border in pastels, the garden appears to have greater depth. When planted on the long sides of a narrow garden, pastels can make it seem wider.

Summer pinks

The many tints and tones of pink, from the softest pastel to the vibrant hot pinks, offer a host of choices. For rose enthusiasts, the rose is the queen of the pinks. Begin by planting large shrub roses (try Queen Elizabeth) or tall standards (Pink Iceberg) at the back of the border. Medium-sized roses do well in the middle and ground cover roses at the front of a bed. Many of the latter make superb patio plants when grown in containers.

Another reliable and long-lasting pink bloomer is the marguerite daisy (Argyranthemum frutescens).

Pink hebes, with their spires of flowers, will add another shape variation to the border.

Shrub or standard-grown pink hibiscus and frangipani will thrive in warmer gardens, while the water-wise Pride of India provides stunning colour in dry regions. The large blooms of the hydrangea are ideal for a shady spot in the garden, and flower in November.

For instant colour, plant perennials and annuals. Taller plants such as cannas, cleome and hollyhocks thrive in the back of a border. Dianthus, bedding dahlias, diascia and petunia are colourful and long-blooming front-of-the-border plants. In shade, plant New Guinea impatiens and begonia. Pink at medium height is provided by the delicate and water-wise gaura, cosmos, nicotiana, pentas, penstemon and zinnia. In sunny spots on the patio, place pots of pink pelargoniums and petunias. In shady areas, place New Guinea impatiens, begonias, fuchsias and anthuriums.

Colour combinations

Whether pink is used in a monochromatic (single) colour scheme, or in association with other colours, it can enhance your landscape through all the seasons. Below are some ideas:

l The many shades of pink make it possible to have a complete pink garden, without it becoming monotonous. Borders of flowers in tints and tones of pink, from the softest pastel to the vibrant pinks, can be most attractive, particularly if plants of different heights and textures are introduced.

* Pink and white is a classic combination for the novice gardener to try. Some flowers make it easier by coming in a mixture of pink and white, such as striped petunias and Bougainvillea Coconut Ice.

* A blue, pink and white combination never fails to please the eye. Grey foliage can also be introduced. Blues include blue salvia, agapanthus and Cape plumbago.

* Pink and mauve, with touches of blue and grey, create a harmonious colour scheme. For greater impact, introduce deeper shades like violet and magenta as well as the paler pinks. Consider including lavender, barleria and petunia.

* Pink and red is an adventurous colour scheme which is particularly effective in areas with hot dry summers, where a too-pastel colour scheme can look somewhat washed out in the strong sunlight. Combine blue-red flowers that have blue undertones with shocking pink and magenta shades. With orange-reds use peachy pinks. There is a multitude of red roses; also consider pelargonium, red salvias and dianthus.

* Pink and red foliaged plants, such as Pittosporum Garnetti, pink foliaged coleus, cordylines and New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax) can be included when appropriate. - Saturday Star

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