Since everything outside is either white or brown, it seems like a good day to think about some other colors, lots of other colors. I'm starving for them. So where better to turn than to my friend--and garden juggernaut--Chrissie D'Esopo (remember her dragon?), who loves color and is not shy about it. I don't know too many other gardens that put on such a lavish display, with big blocks of color jammed higgledy, piggledy against other blocks of color. Wowsa! What a show.
She does it almost all with annuals, and plants 20,000 a season to get the colorific effects she's after in her ever-enlarging garden. She also uses lots of pots--500 or so--so she can more easily yank and replace any poor performers. The results do get attention--when Chrissie is open for a garden tour, she gets more than a 1,000 visitors, sometimes twice that. There have actually been fender-benders in front of her house, as passing motorists can't keep their eyes on the road. Yep, it's the kind of place that can cause whiplash. She has so much to see.
There are lots of ways to use color, from mannered, carefully wrought harmonys and color complements at one end of the spectrum and wild free-for-alls like Chrissie's at the other. Actually, Chrissie is just about off the charts. I use plenty of vivid colors too, but tend toward restraint in combining them, so it's always kind of liberating for me to see Chrissie's extravaganza. The sheer exuberance of color, splashed thither and yon, is something I call happy color. It's not about making conventional combinations, or using a color wheel or any other designerish notions, it's all about I-love-color fun. She even protects tender plants from pounding thunderstorms by covering them with her huge collection of umbrellas--all in bright colors, of course.