Royalty. Passion. Mystery. Purple has come to symbolize these meanings and more. Hard to imagine today, but at one time purple was considered somewhat rare, perhaps lending credence to its mystery and elitism.
There are subtexts to the meaning of purple, as various shades and tones signify different things. Light shades are floral and romantic, while their opposite dark shades represent intellect and dignity. And there are negative meanings associated with this color–decadence, conceit, and mourning, to name a few. Purple is the color of the vestments worn by Roman Catholic priests during the Lenten season, symbolizing penance. The deep royal shade in the Mardi Gras trinity of purple, green and gold represents justice.
But I did not consider any of these meanings when choosing plants for my gardens and containers. For me, it comes down to contrast, texture and light. It seems counterintuitive, but a purple plant can help light up a shady spot.
Just the last weekend while visiting a nursery with my sister and admiring the vivid container combinations containing purple flowers, I said that until recently I had never really thought of purple as one of my favorite colors in the garden. My wardrobe was void of that color and there was no sight of it in my house. However, more and more, I’ve grown to love purple (I even wear it now). Be it a punctuation point, pause or prevalent plant, purple makes a statement in several ways in the beds and pots in my garden.
Let’s take a look.