My name is Carol Verhake. I’m the current president of the Hardy Plant Society Mid-Atlantic Group and a landscape designer in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, in the Philadelphia suburbs. My passion for gardening started about 18 years ago when I bought my home and was forced to deal with overgrown shrubs, pachysandra galore, and a woodland that had been used as a dumping ground.
I was a graphic design major in college but never worked in the field. Instead, I pursued a 34-year career in healthcare IT. Now in my second career as a designer, I’m leverage my training in art and design. I noticed when I was taking the attached photos of my garden that the color wheel and the concept of complementary colors must have made a strong impression. Clearly, I like purple and yellow! In my opinion, it makes for a striking combination.
Ornamental onion ‘Millenium’ (Allium ‘Millenium’, Zones 4–9) has purple flowers that are complemented by the yellow foliage and flowers around it. Read our plant guide to ornamental onion here.
In another part of the garden, the same color scheme is at work. Here the purple comes from dwarf Chinese astilbe (Astilbe chinensis var. pumila, Zones 4–8), phlox ‘Wanda’ (Phlox paniculata ‘Wanda’, Zones 4–8), and more Allium ‘Millenium’, with yellow notes coming from the leaves of hostas.
Zoom out a little, and you see that the same color combination is repeated across the garden, ensuring that the design works whether you are looking closely at a particular planting or taking the wide view of the whole space.
We usually don’t think of hostas for their flowers, but this one fits the color scheme perfectly! Lavender blooms and yellow variegated foliage.
Humans aren’t the only ones who enjoy Carol’s design. Phlox is a great native perennial and is beloved by many pollinators, including this little hummingbird moth (Hemaris thysbe).
And finally, the most important feature of any garden: a place to sit and enjoy all the beauty.
Have a garden you’d like to share?
Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!
To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.
If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.
You don’t have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!
Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.
Get our latest tips, how-to articles, and instructional videos sent to your inbox.