The vastness of violet

Purple-hued flowers have way of brightening gardens for years

Provocative and thoughtful. Imaginative and inventive. Those are some of the words color experts at Pantone use to describe their selection for home and garden Color of the Year, ultra violet.

“Complex and contemplative, ultra violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own,” the group said.

For gardeners, the implications are as infinite as they come — with many of our favorite blooms available in rich, colorful shades of purple that brighten our landscapes and memories for years to come. Annuals, perennials, even fruits, berries and vegetables celebrate 2018’s color of the year winner.

For lovers of purple, in all its wonderful shades, this is the perfect time to really show off your favorite plants and flowers that boast this beautiful color. Celebrate the color of the year by making purple an ongoing garden theme throughout the seasons, along with colorful garden art that highlights the color purple, containers in shades of violet, purple foliaged plants and more.

Need a primer on purple plants for the garden? Here are a few to get you started:

Purple petunias

A favorite of many gardeners, there are dozens of varieties of colorful petunias available in shades of purple. An instant classic, and one that has topped best-seller lists for the past two growing seasons, is night sky, a breathtaking petunia in rich ultra violet with starry white speckles splattered across the surface.

Petunias come in many shades of purple, from light lavender to stunning, royal grape and near-black. Many varieties are patterned in striking combinations of purple with lime green, pink, yellow, cream and white.

Supertunias and superbells also explode with vibrant purple colors throughout the growing season, sprawling like miniature petunias in hanging baskets and garden beds and borders.

Plum explosion

A number of other popular annuals come in shades of purple. Some of my favorites are the sweetly scented nemesias, with their tiny, snapdragon-like blooms rich with amazing aromas. Verbenas, either vining, sprawling or upright, also bloom in shades of beautiful purple.

Spikes of colorful angelonia in purple add vertical interest to container plantings and garden beds, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies to their beautiful blooms.

There are purple four o’clocks, purple alyssum, heliotrope, cosmos, cleome, cockscomb, dahlias, gladiolus, purple callas, salvias and so many more.

Combine these plants with other colors such as white, pink, lime green, as well as contrasting gold and orange for breathtaking displays in containers, hanging baskets and garden beds.

There are also a number of excellent annual foliage plants that display the color purple beautifully. Many varieties of coleus feature splashes and streaks of bright purple. Persian shield boasts stunning, metallic purple leaves for an incredible display in the garden.

Perennials in purple

Purple is also a popular color in the world of perennials, with many wonderful plant choices to help celebrate the color of the year.

Begin the season with a burst of purple tulips, hyacinths and other spring blooming bulbs. Dozens of varieties are available in shades of purple, often blended with other colors. Spring blooming perennials in purple also include fragrant bearded irises, many of which gleam in ultra violet radiance. Siberian iris, as well, come in shades of purple.

Continuing with spring-blooming purples, several columbines feature purple blooms, along with lilacs, peonies and delphiniums.

As summer arrives, purple dominates the perennial garden, pairing well with golds, pinks and white. Classic purple coneflower, bee balms in shades of grape, garden phlox, hosta blooms, blazing stars, or liatris, joe pye weed, ironweed, asters and more provide months of color in the garden.

How will you celebrate Color of the Year ultra violet in 2018?