This month we’re giving you the red carpet treatment! We’re cutting through the red tape to share our perspective on the color red and its place in gardening lore. After all, February really is all about “rockin’ the red’! It’s American heart month and February 5th is national wear red day.  What would Valentine’s Day be without the color red and the celebrities will be walking the red carpet at the 88th academy awards ceremony on February 28th. So, while it may be cold outside February is still one red hot month!

At a time of year which is often dominated by cooler colors like blue and white it isn’t as difficult as you might think to generate some warmth, and foundation plantings like shrubbery are the place to “see some red.” Follow our feathered friends and you’ll find holly berries and winterberry bushes which they use for protection as well as a food source. Red twig dogwood and nandina can provide a beautiful contrast in a snow covered landscape and if you are looking for flowers keep an eye out for witch hazel and camellias as the winter comes to a close.

After a long, cold winter it’s hard to beat the color red for some dramatic appeal in your landscape. Like the winter, the early stages of spring are dominated by trees and shrubs such as azaleas, Japanese Maples and dogwoods. However, they are quickly replaced by tulips, moss phlox, and the striking fritillaria also known as crown imperial. Finally, perennials such as astilbe and Louisiana Iris, both of which thrive in wet soil conditions, continue the red display with the majestic peony joining in the pageantry.

One of the hallmarks of summer are 4th of July picnics and the celebration of the red, white and blue. Let your patriotism show by planting a red Mister Lincoln rose or white containers filled with blue salvia and red petunias! The choices for red themed plants for your summer garden are almost endless. Popular perennials such as daylilies and coreopsis are often readily available, but why not try some terrific if not lesser known perennial such as perennial hibiscus or the late summer blooming helenium? There are also a wide array of annuals to choose from; including, verbena, canna, dahlia, zinnia and the red foliage of caladium and coleus too! Your red flowers will look great combined with yellow and orange blooms or cool them down by pairing them with white flowers.

Finally, the power of red doesn’t fade when fall arrives. As the cool weather arrives oak and maple tree leaves turn pretty shades of red and the backbone of fall flowing containers, chrysanthemums, take center stage. Red and yellow flowering pansies are also a great container choice and you’ll notice that many red colored succulents such as hens and chicks turn a deeper shade of red as the weather cools. Another succulent, Sedum Autumn Joy, can be a great addition to hot and dry places in your yard and while it is green for most of the year its flower heads turn red as well as shades of pink and purple in the fall.

If you add any of the plants we’ve mentioned to your yard you’ll be “in the red” all year long!

Be sure to look over our previous posting in The Year in Color: White As Snow 

Read the next in this series The Year in Color: Wearing of the Green

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