Coral-colored Flowers Look Great with Blue and Red

Peony 'Coral Sunset' (left) and 'Pink Hawaiian Coral'
Coral and all of its iterations from peach to salmon intrigue the heck out of me. But I've found that when it comes to combining them with other plants, it can come out looking like a fashion faux pas.

Pink steals the originality of the corals, and corals tend to ruin the innocence of the baby pink shades. They just don't play well together.

Peony 'Salmon Glory'
Peony 'Red Charm'
I planted two of the coral shades of peonies next to each other several years ago. Peony 'Pink Hawaiian Coral' has more pink in it, while 'Coral Sunset' has a drop more yellow. But if I'd included a baby pink peony in the mix, it would make me crazy until I could finally move it.

If I'd planted Peony 'Salmon Glory' near the corals, I'm not sure if I could live with it. It seems to have been imbued with the faintest hint of orange, but not enough so that you wouldn't call it pink on first glance.

So what goes with the coral brigade? True red mixes with everything, and the peony 'Red Charm' is one of the truest of red peonies. Another in the true red range is Helianthemum 'Hartswood Ruby', which I have planted at the feet of the coralish peonies. This Blooms of Bressingham introduction has happily cavorted in my raised bed for the past four years. All it requires is sun and a serious shearing after the first flush of blooms for it to keep returning.

Geranium 'Rozanne' with
Salvia 'May Night'
Allium 'His Excelency'
I love blue with coral, or more accurately, purple. When the early coral peonies are in bloom, so is Centaurea 'Amethyst Dream'. By the time Peony 'Salmon Glory' opens, the Salvias are blooming. 'May Night' is the first, opening around the same time as Geranium 'Rozanne', another blue-purple flower. Of course, I can no longer live without the large flowering onions, which bloom along with the mid-season peonies.

Centaurea 'Amethyst Dream'
I'd like to include two disclaimers:

1. I've always felt that pursuits like gardening should have few rules when it comes to aesthetics. After all, taste is a judgement call. So if you prefer to mix pink and coral, the color police aren't going to beat down your door. In some cases, it actually works.

2. When it comes to subtleties of colors and shades, photographs can be misleading. I'm no good at taking landscape shots that show how well certain plants go together so I take individual plant portraits. It's up to the imagination and a leap of faith to picture them as neighbors in your garden.

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