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Central Midwest Gardening: Inspirational Garden Color Combinations

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Get some inspiring ideas for plant combinations that bring color variety to the garden.

Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) naturalized around a cluster of hellebores

Once the daffodils start to bloom there is no turning back: New colors and combinations pop up every day. Here are three of my favorites:

Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) have naturalized around a cluster of hellebores in the backyard, and I look forward to seeing them both every year. The hellebores bloom first, slowly raising their dark flowers out of the leafy mulch, and the charming native bluebells come along a few days later. At first the bluebells look like tender lettuce plants, but then purple buds and sky-blue flowers push up among the leaves. They're natural complements to the purplish hellebores.

lettuce in the garden

I know it is not polite to play with food at the table, but it's great fun in the garden, and lettuce is one of the easiest and best crops for playful plantings. Sow the seeds of two or three different kinds of lettuce for a pretty parterre. Keep it simple, planting the lettuce in geometric shapes or perhaps your monogram.

My friend Pearl Fryar once carved LOVE, PEACE and GOODWILL into the turf in his garden. In your lettuce patch you could start with LOVE.

pink tulips

The spring palette is predominately pink at Kauffman Memorial Garden in Kansas City. Duane Hoover, the garden's horticulturist, comes up with romantic color combinations and planting schemes every spring, relying on great quantities of pink, purple, white and yellow tulips among violas, dianthus and other cool-season annuals. His budget exceeds mine, but Duane's plantings are exuberant, fresh and fun, and that's what I'm after in my own garden.