Fall as Spring Garden Inspiration

This fall has been particularly inspiring for its color.  It’s been a while since I did a post on color and this one is going to be a little bit different.  I want to try and use the fall foliage of a single plant as inspiration for an early spring garden.  Rather than a single hue, I’m going for a mood and a range of color. I specified this plant for a client’s garden.  When I visited last week, the foliage just made me stop in my tracks.  What’s more is that I have this plant in my garden and as of today it is still green!

Rather than the deep oranges, vibrant yellows and clarets we expect from fall foliage, this smokebush – Cotinus coggygria ‘Golden Spirit’ has muted tones that are just by their juxtaposition electric.

Cotinus coggygria 'Golden Spirit'

Here’s a possible palette.  It’s a little bit narrow, but very, very sophisticated.  The colors are complex and lend themselves to both plantings and accessories.  At this point there’s no clear front runner although you could make one color dominant.  So let’s go shopping via the web!  All of the images – other than three I took on site – below are linked to their source (so just click them)  if you’d like to explore the idea on your own.

Autumn Smokebush

Here’s how to translate that into a garden…for the opposite season via accessories, plants and just about anything else you could want for a lovely outdoor space.

Fermob furniture

Above the peach/salmon color dominates via garden accessories and below a pale Margarhita green.  It would be easy to do this with any of the first three hues.

Classic wicker furniture

It takes discipline to pick one narrow range and let all others be supporting players in a garden design as our tendency is to fill gardens full of color, color, color.

Some other details that would work…

An obvious first choice would be from the wide range of Heuchera colors available.   Below is ‘Key Lime Pie’, but there are abundant choices.

Heuchera 'Key Lime Pie'

Hellebores - an early spring favorite

Bulbs are a great choice for the early spring garden and there’s still time to get some and plant them before the ground freezes.

Accent Daffodil via Colorblends

Viridiflora Tulip via Tulip World

The garden will need other details – that’s what the darker, more neutral browns are for…

Rustic gate from a private garden in NY

Rustic twig work is best done in early spring when saplings are green…so a rusticated fence or gate is a perfect early spring garden project.  If metal is more your style…salvage yards are full of reclaimed rusty fence sections…

Rusted salvage yard fencing

The possibilities for the color in one small random photo to inspire an entire garden are endless.  All it takes is a bit of imagination and some web shopping!

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3 thoughts on “Fall as Spring Garden Inspiration

  1. Some of us achieve a limited and beautiful palette by chance. I don’t know whether its because I love roses that I have so much other pink and red in my garden, or if it is because roses are so frequently pink and red, that I love roses.

    Color palettes are a personal thing. I often have clients who ask me to focus on one color or to leave out one since they don’t like that color. It always makes for an interesting design solution.–s

  2. An inspiring post, Susan – thank you! You have detailed a color mix which is in front of many of us who don’t seem to have our eyes connected to our brains in the same creative way you do.

    Thank you, Jane. I have a great big place in my design heart for color. I agonize over it though…–s

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