True pink is a blend of red and white, but there are many colors that we call pink. From the softest shades of blush to the most vibrant shades of magenta, pink plays a vital role in a beautiful landscape.
Green, white and pink set a clean, crisp scene in a shade garden. Early in the summer, this can be achieved with the delicate pink spikes of Astilbe chinensis Visions and the white and green variegated foliage of Lamium White Nancy tickling its toes. Later in the season, Carex Ice Dance paired with a pink-flowering turtlehead like Chelone Hot Lips can accomplish the same effect.
Light pink and white are cooling and give some relief from the heat of summer. In a sunny border, plant two coneflowers together en masse -- Pink Double Delight and White Swan. Together, they are as refreshing as a tall glass of lemonade.
One of the most beautiful and easiest colors to partner with pink is blue. Classic examples to use in a sunny garden include combinations of pink hyacinths and blue scilla bulbs bursting forth together to welcome spring and pink roses underplanted with catmint blooming together all summer long. The light pink flowers of Bright Eyes Phlox and metallic blue blooms of Big Blue sea holly carry the theme until frost.
Pink blossoms shine like a beam of light when paired with purple flowers. You may need sunglasses to look upon the soft pink blooms of Pink Mist pincushion flower when it's partnered with Salvia May Night. The color pink also keeps deep purple flowers or foliage from fading into the background. Try partnering Double Scoop Bubble Gum coneflower with Honeysong Purple stokesia or combine a deep purple phlox, like Nicky, with pink-flowering clematis for a dazzling show.
The color pink can lend a touch of romance when it's mixed with white flowers and silver foliage. Picture a white clematis twining its way through a light pink climbing rose with the fuzzy, silver foliage of lamb's ears at its base. All that's missing is a glass of wine and some soft music.
Pink flowers may bring a touch of sentiment to the garden. Imagine a scene of pink hollyhocks, foxgloves, sweet peas and roses, and you are transported back to your grandmother's garden.
Blossoms of pink are perky, convey a feeling of happiness and provide a visual "pink-me-up." What could be more cheerful than a mass of Grand Parade bee balm or a drift of Tiger Edition lilies?
Don't be afraid to have fun with intense shades of pink. The bright pink flowers of Geranium Max Frei, the single, fuchsia-pink flowers of Peony Doreen and the deep magenta blossoms of Phlox Junior Dance are sure to stand out in your sunny border.
In a shady spot, however, softer shades of pink will be the standouts. The dusty pink flowers of Astilbe Rheinland and the light pink flowers of Geranium macrorrhizum Ingwersen's Variety are lovely choices for these lightly shaded sites.
If you'd prefer more drama in your landscape, try mixing pink flowers with purple foliage. Clematis Nelly Moser climbing through a smokebush with purple foliage is one of the more dramatic combinations in my landscape. The deep pink plumes of Astilbe Rheinland partnered with the deep purple-foliaged Heuchera Obsidian is another one of my favorites.
Pink flowers are also beautiful when paired with chartreuse foliage. In a shade garden, this combination is easy to attain with the chartreuse bamboo-like blades of Northern sea oats and dark rose flowers of Hot Lips turtlehead. Or plant a Gold Heart bleeding heart and get cherry pink flowers and chartreuse foliage all in the same plant.
The colors a gardener chooses to use in his garden present his personal vision of beauty. Those who view a garden get a glimpse into the soul of the gardener who created it. Whether or not you decide to use pink in your color palette, be sure to choose colors and plant combinations that are pleasing to you and that demonstrate your personality. That is the garden you will love to walk through and be motivated to maintain.
• Diana Stoll is a horticulturist and garden center manager at The Planter's Palette, 28W571 Roosevelt Road, Winfield. Call (630) 293-1040, ext. 2, or visit planterspalette.com.