by Rochelle Greayer
Cute summer towns are a haven for houses with adorable little gardens.  They are always tidy and like a properly dressed lady (whose handbag always coordinates with her shoes), the plants often coordinate with the house.
I’m not exactly this type of gardener (or dresser for that matter) – I tend to either a) be too frazzled to try (and instead, I am drawn to the fashion standby of black – yes even my house is black), or b) I try to make some other bigger experiment with my choices (which are sometimes brilliantly successful, sometimes dismally disappointing). I envy those who can follow fashion rules (I just can’t make myself do it!), because they are reliably elegant and neat and tidy – so I am cataloging some of the inspiration hoping that maybe I can use it in my own slightly crazier schemes.
My ‘cute summer town’ of choice was Bar Harbor, Maine where I spent last weekend. On a morning walk I was drawn in by this house.  I know – the shot isn’t that sexy – despite my total willingness to trespass for the sake of this blog – but the combo of a crisp white house that had a rich cherry/ oiled teak or ipe colored deck (i.e. nice tones of deep red) and black railings and trim was eye-catching enough to make me cross the street for a closer look.  What really took this front garden to another level though, was the Spiraea and the Weigela that complimented the decking and trim and added depth and texture to the whole curb view.
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After noticing the first one, I had my radar up for other combos throughout the weekend.  An easy one is white and blue (white house blue plants, or blue house with white plants).  These were a few of my favorites using mock orange and Delphinium.
I also noted a great combo where an imposing inn with a wrap around porch was surrounded with a sea of hostas that looked something like Shadowland Whee! Hosta.  The inn was painted a pale yellow color and the hostas were a perfect blend between the green of the lawn and the yellow of the house. (No shot of this is forthcoming as it was raining and I was driving by in a car and that’s just dangerous).
Feeling inspired on my return from up north, I’ve put together a few combinations that I thought might help, should any of us want to create a perfectly coordinated ‘look’.  Yellow, grey and pale green (along with white, which we already discussed) are among the most common house colors so I played with those for ideas.

Yellow and grey is a very modern color combination but the Russian sage (with its purple flowers and airy, slightly wild habit) will keep things from being stark. Alternatively, if you have a shady area, try the beautiful grey and yellow foliage of the Hosta ‘Autumn Frost’.
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‘Denim ‘n Lace’ Russian Sage Perovskia atriplicifolia
Grey and orange are also a very modern and striking combination that is warm and welcoming.  To keep it sophisticated, try plants that feature orange and rust colored foliage rather than blooms.

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Green and red are great for a striking and lively combination as they are complimentary colors.  A house that is more yellow or blue than straight-up green will retain the dynamic nature of the pairing with out suffering the sometimes jarring effects of opposite on the color wheel combinations.

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