Marsala – 2015 Pantone Color of the Year – in the garden.

In December, the time of year when the Pantone Color of the Year is announced, there usually isn’t a whole lot of any sort of color in my garden. But last week, when I was piddling around out there, I realized the time has come where that color is starting to manifest itself. In the few years I have been paying attention, this is one of the Pantone choices I have liked the best. And right now, there seems to be quite a bit of it out there.

Pantone Marsala

It’s no secret I like red. I find this particular version of it rich, supple and elegant – understated rather than loud – as reds go. I haven’t been able to think of many currently flowering flowers that actually sport this color, but there are plenty of other elements that showcase it or a close simile.

The emerging leaves and flowers of the Bloodgood maple was the one that made me think it was time to write this post.

The emerging leaves and flowers of the Bloodgood maple was the one that made me think it was time to write this post.

The red-twig dogwood Cornus alba 'Elegantissima' which is leafing out is another one.

The red-twig dogwood Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ which is leafing out is another one. The bark looks a lot more blue in this photo than it actually is, but reds are so hard to photograph… Wonder what the trick is…

The sprouting Imperata cylindrica 'Rubra' (Japanese blood grass) looks pretty close too.

The sprouting Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’ (Japanese blood grass) looks pretty close too.

Euphorbia sports a beautiful range of reds, Marsala included.

Euphorbia sports a beautiful range of reds, Marsala included.

The checker pattern of the Fritillaria looks pinker in this photo than it actually is. One of my favorite spring flowers.

The checker pattern of the Fritillaria. One of my favorite spring flowers.

Somewhat fuzzy photo, but the stems of Epimedium sulphureum are a pretty good match too.

Somewhat fuzzy photo, but the stems of Epimedium sulphureum are a pretty good match too.

The adorable flowers of Mukdenia rossii have maroonish centers.

The adorable flowers of Mukdenia rossii have maroonish centers.

The new foliage of a rose fits the bill.

The new foliage of a rose fits the bill.

In fact, it seems many roses have dark red new foliage.

In fact, it seems many roses have dark red new foliage. And thorns too, for that matter.

Another dark red beauty - Acer palmatum dissectum 'Red Dragon'.

Another dark red beauty – Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Red Dragon’.

I like the red branches of Salix gracilostylus 'Melanostachys' - black pussy willow.

I like the red branches of Salix gracilostylus ‘Melanostachys’ – black pussy willow.

There are plenty of Heucheras that could pass for Marsala. Not sure what kind this is - there are so many Coral bells...

There are plenty of Heucheras that could pass for Marsala. Not sure what kind this is – there are so many Coral bells…

The stalk of the Crinum lily is a rich brownish red.

The stalk of the Crinum lily is a rich brownish red.

Clematis 'Gravetye beauty' has both red old growth and new shoots.

Clematis ‘Gravetye beauty’ has both red old growth and new shoots.

IMG_8437

As do the stems of Plumbago – the poor thing is still in a nursery pot.

 

Black onyx hellebore has that warm, luxurious dark red.

Black onyx hellebore has that warm, luxurious dark red.

As far as flowers go, it is the ones usually sold as “black” that will come closest to Marsala. As time progresses, there will  no doubt be more Marsala in my garden – as some of you might know, I’m awfully fond of black flowers. The photos below are from my garden from years past. Kind of fun to revisit what I have to look forward to in months to come…

Queen of the Night tulip - her after having lived out its glory days in a vase.

Okay this one might seem like a stretch, but when the light is right, it is dead on… Queen of the Night tulip – her after having lived out its glory days in a vase.

The flowers of Polypodium pleianthum.

The flowers of Polypodium pleianthum.

The stamens of Clematis 'Henryii' fit the bill.

The stamens of Clematis ‘Henryii’ fit the bill.

Thorns!

Thorns! Okay – these might be a little red, but they are in the right part of the red spectrum.

All the nuances present in Berberis nana compacta 'Purpurea' convey a very Marsala whole.

All the nuances present in Berberis nana compacta ‘Purpurea’ convey a very Marsala whole.

'Black Barlow' Columbines, for sure.

‘Black Barlow’ Columbines, for sure.

A backlit Aeonium 'Schwarzkopf' will do.

A backlit Aeonium ‘Schwarzkopf’ will do.

And of course that Abyssinian banana.

And of course that Abyssinian banana.

... and backlit Vitis purpurea.

… and stems of Vitis purpurea.

... and the berries of Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace'.

… and stems and berries of Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’.

The list of Marsala candidates could easily get longer still. Black Dahlias, the black Landini lilies, calla lilies, those really cool black Scabiosas, bachelor buttons, cosmos, and so on, but this will do for now. For the most part, I tend to scoff at idiocies like ‘Color of the Year’ and goofy trends like that. It’s kind of silly – I love all colors in the right setting, and I have had a special place in my heart for these particular kinds of rich, dark, voluptuous reds for many years. I don’t intend to stop loving them in December 2015 when Pantone launches the next trendy color. I don’t really  pay much attention to trends other than noting them, and I generally like to think of them as crutches for the creatively challenged. That said, we all have our favorites. I’m drawn to reds, so putting together this post was easy – I like surrounding myself with them. Last year’s color was a lot worse for me – Radiant Orchid was the color – a kind of violet purple. I started compiling photos for a post, but never got around to finishing it – almost all of the photos were taken in settings other than my garden. Perhaps I still will post about it. The post would be a year late, but hey – it’s still a totally valid color, beautiful in its own right – even though the trend gurus at Pantone have moved on to the next fleeting notion.

About annamadeit

Born and raised in Sweden, my aesthetics and outlook on life are strongly shaped by a culture rich in history and tradition. I care a great deal about environmental responsibility, and my aesthetic reflects the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia. I was trained as an architect at the University of Cincinnati and as a color specialist at the Scandinavian Colour Institute in Stockholm. I'm obsessed with plants and gardens, and aim to take my skill set a step further by designing gardens as well as interiors. As someone so aptly said: " Architecture is the skin that separates the exterior from the interior". So true - you can't successfully focus on one without incorporating the other. I'm also an avid cook, and I love to ski. In addition, I put time and efforts into trying to rectify things that I feel are wrong in my immediate community. As you will see, The Creative Flux will touch on all these things, and more. For sure, it's all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blog!
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10 Responses to Marsala – 2015 Pantone Color of the Year – in the garden.

  1. rickii says:

    Isn’t it amazing what turns up when we go out there with an agenda in mind? Bet you could do a full post on any color we could throw at you. This one’s a keeper…especially that clematis.

    • annamadeit says:

      It would be fun to try, wouldn’t it? I saw this post on color psychology once where colors were matched up with how it affects our psyches. I always thought it would be fun to take those specific colors and match them up with plants….

  2. Kris P says:

    You have an unerring eye for color, Anna! All the Marsalas in your garden are beautiful. Pantone could learn something from your photos about great color combinations.

  3. mattb325 says:

    The combinations and colours in your garden are wonderful. I love the red foliaged plants – the ‘Bloodgood’ Japanese maple has to be a favourite. You have so many beautiful plants in so many glorious shades!

  4. I don’t get it. Why do we need a Color of the Year? I love every color that Mother Nature comes up with except puke green. I can live without that one.

  5. Pingback: March is the new April | Flutter & Hum

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