Break with tradition: Have a pink and red fall garden.

Orange and yellow may be the traditional colors of fall flowers, but other combinations, such as pink and red, are especially eye-catching.

Courtesy of Helen Yoest
This eye-catching pink and red fall garden contains Muhly grass, Cordyline australis ‘Red Sensation’, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, and castor bean.
Courtesy of Helen Yoest
It’s hard to believe that only three plants can cause such sensation.
Courtesy of Helen Yoest
A path leading through plants of pinks and reds. Traditional fall colors with a tinge of red lead the eye forward.
Courtesy of Helen Yoest
On another path, Muhly grass, hollyhocks, Knock Out roses, and a crape myrtle.

As traditions go, fall is filed with the colors orange, yellow, and red. This color motif carries over nicely, particularly if you want to mix in pumpkins and gourds. After all, traditions are made from what is readily available. And fall shows these colors often.

The nostalgia these fall colors bring can’t be denied. In addition, they give a feeling of warmth, helping to prepared us for the winter ahead.

Moving away from that tradition may take a little nudge, so consider this my nudge to you.

I want to introduce to you pink. No, not the Pink of I’m a hot singer-whose-given-name-is-Alecia-Beth-Moore-but-Pink-sounds-so-much-cooler fame. I’m referring to the color.

Warm, fuzzy, girly, confident male -- I submit that there is a color of pink to speak to everyone. In particular, I want to share with you examples of using pink in the fall garden.

You may be surprised to learn of so many ways that pink delights in fall. Muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris), pink dahlias, Knock Out roses, as well as the fading florets of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, cockscomb (Celosia), and hollyhocks.

Pink and red pairings

These pinks pair nicely with many reds, such as Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea 'Nana'), coleus, crape myrtle, and red fountain grass. And for a dash of drama, use giant red castor bean (Ricinus communis) next to any shade of pink.

Look at the two photos above and the two at left. (Click on the arrow at the right base of the first photo to see the others.) Nice, right? I bet you are thinking, “ICARumba! estas combinaciones de colores son calientes, calientes, calientes!”

This fall, I plan to add a little more pink to my garden, so my garden can also be hot, hot, hot.

There are many other pink- and red-colored plants to enhance your fall; but I limited the selections to what could be seen in these photo examples.

Thinking pink in the mountains

The photos are from the garden of Vivien Phillips, located in mountains of North Carolina. Vivien is a natural-born garden, creating pink and red combinations at her mountain home. I had the pleasure of staying with her last September, when I took these photos, and plan to return later this month. My camera was clicking at every step.

I learned about Vivien’s garden from her designer, a dear friend of mine, Suzanne Edney, in Apex, N.C.

I’m anxious to see what’s new in Vivien’s garden this year and what new and exciting combinations I may present to you after my visit. In the meantime, I’ll be thinking pink!


Helen Yoest lives in North Carolina and writes about Gardening With Confidence. She's a garden writer, speaker, and garden coach. She's also a field editor for Better Homes and Gardens and Country Gardens magazines and serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum. You can follow Helen on Twitter and Facebook. To read more by Helen here at Diggin' It, click here.

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