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Use violet, purple for royal gardens
By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
Angelface Dark Violet angelonia came out this year and caused a stir with its unique color. It is by far the darkest angelonia we've seen in the market. It is also vigorous, sending up a bounty of wonderfully spiky flowers that are so welcome in the garden.
Violet is the darkest color on the color wheel and is the color closest to black. Violet is the color of royalty as it looks rich and expensive. The color even has the same name as a diminutive flower, the violet. But ask yourself: Does all of this describe purple?
I used my favorite search engine on the Web and asked the question, “what is the difference between violet and purple?” The number of answers I got indicated to me there are a lot of people with too much time on their hands.
On the other hand I found scientific papers on the subject, including one called “Purple, the Fake Color” that was a discussion of a scientific analysis using chromaticity diagrams. Then there was another paper that dealt with a crayon company selling a particular color called violet (purple).
I think one of my favorite garden books probably gives the best answer: “Add the slightest hint of red to violet and you tip the scale toward purple; add even more and you'll get magenta.”
Flowers with a violet color may be a little submissive in the garden. They tend to disappear in the shadows or at sunset, but they can harmonize well with other colors. They rock and roll when partnered with the complementary yellow. The garden will come alive when you combine violets with pinks. Use them with blues and you'll look like a landscape professional. Don't forget the softer versions of violets that we tend to call lavender or lilac.
Because it is so late in the summer, we will probably have to put the Angelface Dark Violet angelonia on the back burner until spring. If you found fresh transplants this time of the year, they would look great until frost, but that probably won't happen. Mums are the flower of the day, and there are some nice violet or purple-colored selections.
It will not be long until the first cool front triggers pansy- or viola-planting mania. There are some incredible new violets or purples to choose from. One new one that caught my eye comes from a company called Floranova and is a viola called Angel Violet Duet.
Angel Violet Duet is the perfect flower to show the subtle differences between violet and purple. The outer petals have a very slight touch of red to make purple while the inner petals are a true violet. The look of these fragrant, cool-season blossoms is absolutely stunning.
Then there is the new Deep Purple panola. It is very dark and partners incredibly well with the new Panola Deep Orange. These mid-size pansies have awesome vigor and staying power in the landscape.
Fall is an absolutely terrific gardening season, and it's coming our way soon. You may wish to include a few plants with the color of royalty.