Try Purple and Silver for a Fresh Flavor

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It’s that time of year when we are both creating endless container combinations- each one unique. Always on the lookout for cool new plants and different combinations i seem to find myself frequently drawn to purple; purple pots, purple leaves and even purple flowers. The obvious color partner is chartreuse but while attractive that is rather predictable.

Now PURPLE and SILVER gets my attention.

Going solo

Some plants have it all.

Lochinch butterfly bush has the most beautiful felted silver foliage and fragrant lavender flowers.

Lochinch butterfly bush has the most beautiful felted silver foliage and fragrant lavender flowers.

Butterfly bushes have a bad rap for seeding everywhere and are banned in several states. In WA they are still widely available although the sterile forms are gaining popularity. Lochinch is not sterile but it has never set a single seedling either in my garden or a neighbors. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to enjoy this beauty and watch the hummingbirds and butterflies coming to feast.

Japanese painted fern glows in the shade

Japanese painted fern glows in the shade

Japanese painted ferns bring a fresh color palette to the shade garden. Deep purple/burgundy veins with shimmery silver and grey feathers

A classy double act

Feathery purple fountain grass against silver wormwood - one of my favorite combinations

Feathery purple fountain grass against silver wormwood – one of my favorite combinations

Two plants – two colors. Nothing else is needed; just delicious on their own. The purple fountain grass and Silver Mound wormwood are perfection. We have a similar combination in Fine Foliage (p. 52-53 ‘Purple Waves’)

The sculptural container repeats the purple but brings something extra. That glossy finish adds sparkle – an interesting contrast to the matte silver foliage of the licorice plant.

Notice how the matte silver licorice plant plays off the shiny surface of the container

Notice how the matte silver licorice plant plays off the shiny surface of the container

Have you tried the latest silver kid on the block? Bella Grigio is lambs ears (Stachys byzantina) on steroids.

Ultra silver with dusky purple - mouthwatering

Ultra silver Bella Grigio lambs ears with dusky purple succulent foliage- mouthwatering

I’m trying this new sexy silver in several container combinations as well as a groundcover in a hot sunny garden – I’ll let you know how they fare in a few months but right now I’m entranced with it next to this moody sedum – a dusky purple with grey-blue undertones. I confess I’ve lost the tag for the sedum but will try and get an ID.

Or make it a trio

A columnar Blue Surprise false cypress introduces a gentle third color

A columnar Blue Surprise Port Orford cedar introduces a gentle third color

The purple shades from Rose Glow barberry (it is not invasive in the Seattle area), Xenox sedum and heuchera are highlighted by the silver wormwood while the grey-blue conifer adds subtle depth.

Or what about adding in hot pink? Or copper? or bright orange? There are SO many possibilities, I could write a book………….now there’s a thought!

What would you add to purple and silver? Post photos to our Facebook page – we love to share your ideas with other foliage-aholics.

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8 thoughts on “Try Purple and Silver for a Fresh Flavor

  1. Barbara

    Really loved this post, Karen. I had not heard of Stachys ‘Bella Grigio’ ! Haven’t seen it around here, but WILL now find it, and see what I can put together. All the best !

    Reply

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