Amateur Gardening

Scarlet fever

THERE’S no denying that splashes of red provide cheer in the garden. But scarlet flowers (such as those of ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ dahlias and Lobelia cardinalis ‘Queen Victoria’) can easily overpower their border companions, and while we’re happy to have red in the autumn border, many people avoid it in summer. Thankfully, there are ways to temper red, so that you get all of the positives without any of the possible negatives.

The trick is to avoid big swathes of it, and to combine it with the right colours. “Large blocks of undiluted red are a mistake; indigestible as swallowing a lump of uncooked dough,” wrote the late Christopher Lloyd, who created the colourful garden at Great Dixter. “Red can combine well with other strong colours…

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