Oh, the possibilities with that Wicked witch! Son James dazzled me again with a combination planting featuring this year’s hot new coleus ColorBlaze Wicked with coleus and Canary Wing begonia. Immediately, I noticed his carefully intentioned design of having the lime green margins of the coleus echo the golden-lime of the Canary Wing begonia.

While I often refer to terms like triadic harmony, complementary color and monochromatic colored schemes, it is the “echo of color” in the garden that thrills me the most. The echo can be subtle or seemingly shouted but it is a clear clue the designer was using this form of repetition to grab you, causing you to grab a click or two with the camera.

The coleus and begonia echo of color was between plants, but once you start echoing from plants to doors, plants to furniture and plants to wood trim like shutters, or colorful picket fences, then the excitement or visual stimulation created seems to go off the charts.

The son uses the echo ploy in commercial landscapes throughout the city. I was noticing an apricot-orange door to a business the other day and the planters welcoming the clients featured Luscious Royale Cosmos lantana, Superbells Dreamsicle calibracha and Vermillionaire cuphea, each one having a role in echoing the color of a most memorable door.

Something similar happened at the bright red festive looking doors welcoming patrons to a restaurant in the Old Town community of North Columbus, Georgia. In planter boxes along the sidewalks, boxwoods provide evergreen structure, but flowers like Blue My Mind evolvulus and the echoing color of brilliant Calliope Red geraniums gave the look of being hand selected to match the doors.

Those were echoes with doors but My friend Barbara Harvey in Kosciusko, Mississippi, always kept me mesmerized with color echoes from flowers and foliage to furniture whether in the back yard or the front porch of her Victorian house. One year she took my breath away with her front porch creation.

She created a sitting area combining two white wood rockers and two wicker pieces. One wicker piece was a small table between the rockers and the other was a fairly large Victorian-looking wicker rocking chair. The wicker pieces were painted with the most shocking shade of lime green that could be purchased or mixed at the paint store.

The echo, however, came from the largest handmade iron hanging basket anyone would attempt to hang above a porch railing. In the basket were monstrously large Dragon Wing Red begonias and a lime green ornamental sweet potato cascading toward the wicker rocker.

As a horticulturist and writer, I get invited to a lot of home and garden tours. Of course, that was pre-pandemic. At one in Madison, Mississippi, there was a color echo at a Creole Cottage style home that was a thrill for the senses. Similar to the Kosciusko setting, lime green was the star of the show.