Worst Plant Combination Ever

Red goes with green:  it was right there, all the time.
While staring out the window I realized the following combination is really, really bad.  The rust-red Acer foliage makes the blue in the hydrangea look dirty.  The clear blue in the hydrangea makes the rust red Acer foliage look--dirty.  Oh boy.  That's just not right.
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Gardening used to be so simple:  I learned not to kill plants, most of the time.  Plant them where they will be happy.  Give them what they need.  That was enough.  Not any more.  

Consider another warm (orangey) red combined with a more muted blue, this one the colors of 'Tropicanna' with the blue-green of Kashmir Cypress, Cupressus cashmeriana, seen at the San Diego Botanic Garden:
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Better?   It looked better in person--fine, in fact--than in the photo.  Perhaps the nearby pure green makes it work, or the vertical lines of both the canna and cypress foliage add to the effect. 

Pure orange and blue look great together:
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Pure red and green also look great together, as in the green of Alluadia procera and the red flowers of Schotia brachypetala, also seen at the San Diego Botanic Garden:

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Would some intervening green foliage and orange make the situation less nausea-inducing?  Look how beautifully a rusty red transitions to orange in this Kniphofia.  Thence to blue? 
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Maybe I need to spray the Hydrangea flowers with muddy water to tone them down.  Of course the Hydrangea must be almost ever-blooming, to extend the nausea throughout the year.
I did add a splash of orange in the form of 'Rock and Roll' Alstroemeria this spring.  The Alstroemeria looks surprisingly fine with the Acer, believe it or not, but the added complication of variegation induces yet more color chaos.  
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I was so proud of having blued up that Hydrangea.   I was so proud of beginning to understand the virtues of pleasing color combinations. 

Look at the trouble it's gotten me into.   Ah, for the good old days, when I could simply be happy plants haven't died.  
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  1. Maybe you're not wearing the right sunglasses. BluBlockers to the rescue? ;)

    1. Or new curtains for that window. Thick ones that block the view and can't be opened. That would fix it.

  2. So these are the dirty pictures on the internet that everyone is talking about. It is an unfortunate color combination but on the bright side, both plants are looking really healthy and happy! Could the hydrangea move?

    1. Yep, those are the dirty pictures. You'd think they'd be more popular. The Hydrangea could move--unfortunately not without my help.

  3. Color can be sooo difficult in the garden. What looks good from one angle may not look so good from another. Or the plant foliage meshes nicely, only to have the effect ruined by the blooms of one or another plant. Every year here, I struggle with the clash between the red-orange daylilies I inherited and the pink Alstromeria, also inherited, which doesn't entirely die back for a month or more after the daylilies appear. This year, I put a pot with feverfew in between to act as a mediator. Picking the Alstroemeria and hiding them away in a vase helps too...

    1. Maybe gardening isn't as fun as we think it is. No...that can't be right.

  4. The challenge is half the fun, but those darned plants keep insisting on blooming and ruining my perfect tapestry of foliage color. I'm OK with turning my back on them until they get it out of their systems.

  5. This less-fortunate combination occurred because you have so many good color combinations we couldn't allow you to get cocky about it. Seriously, it's not that bad. I think it's the very light greenish-blue new growth that's not satisfying you. Of course, you could feed your way back to having a pink hydrangea.... Pink and rusty red?

  6. Maybe it's no the most fantastic color combination ever seen by human eyes, but I find something serene about it. If you hate it, you could always work the soil to change the color of the hydrangea to a pink.

    1. Well that's the funny part--I had to work at turning it blue in the first place. The normal color for Hydrangea here is pink because our soil is naturally alkaline. I'll let it go back to pink and blue up the other hydrangeas in the garden instead. It's not that it's totally terrible--it's just that it could be better, y'know?


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