Purple Reign

Petunia Surprise Blue SkyPurple plants are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners, and American Nurseryman predicts they will be the top gardening trend in 2018.   Purple plants can offer a cool appearance when paired with blue and green, yet can appear warm and stimulating with red, orange, or yellow combinations.  Plant foliage provides another way to build in contrast and texture with your favorite purple plants and flowers.

Not only is purple the color of royalty, it’s apparently the new color of health. Purple foods are touted as containing healthy doses of anthocyanins — purple antioxidants. These compounds help to ease the aging process, reduce obesity, help to fight cancer and protect cardiac health. Plus, according to the Garden Media Group’s report, purple food promotes mental health.

Combine these benefits with the increasing desire of gardeners to grow some of their own food — plus the outstanding ornamental characteristics of purple vegetables and berry plants — and purple in the garden is a trend that just may be long-lasting.

Purple foods that can be grown by home gardeners include acai berries, beets, black raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, goji berries, eggplant, plums, purple cabbage, purple carrots and purple sweet potatoes. Many of these selections can be planted with complementary perennials — even with herbs.  

In recognition of the year of purple, visitors to the Horticulture Display Garden can view a variety of purple vegetables in the Wes Gray Backyard Garden display. Purple vegetables on display includes artichokes, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, and pepper.