Saddle shoes and poodle skirts. Letterman jackets and duck tail haircuts. Soda fountains, drive-ins and rock-n-roll. These were just some of the classic fads of the 1950’s. But what about gardens? While most 50’s style gardens and yards were filled “all things tacky,” you can recreate a style of your own using some retro garden ideas from way back when. This article focuses on the use of pink, black and turquoise plants for a 50’s garden theme.
50’s Inspired Garden Design
In the 1950’s garden, an assortment of mass produced decorations scattered about was not uncommon – plastic wildlife, garden gnomes, the now very politically incorrect black jockey statues, lantern holders, etc. Here you would also find wide open, well-manicured lawns and an abundance of round- or box-pruned evergreen foundation plants.
Where one lived, however, was a major factor in its overall design. Simply put, if you lived in warmer climes, the gardens took on a more tropical flair while in other areas plants focused more towards subtropical to temperate schemes. Regardless, many gardens in the 50’s reflected an outdoor-indoor living, as patios and swimming pools were quite popular. Hardscape features were focused on more so than the plants, though garden flowers were big and colorful when implemented.
And then there were the color schemes, with pink, black and turquoise among them (usually inside). Although not as prominent in the garden, your 50’s inspired garden can take these quirky pops of color and give them new life.
Plants for a 50’s Garden Theme
However, you choose to design your 50’s garden is ultimately up to you. This is simply my take on creating a vintage 50’s garden, so your retro garden ideas may differ according to your needs and tastes. As far as the plants go, consider those having various textures and forms. Also, look for plants with similar growing requirements – no different than with any garden design.
There are a number of pink plants that you can include in this garden. Here are just a few:
- Rose Thrift (Armeria maritima Rosea)
- Daylily (Hemerocallis ‘Catherine Woodbury’)
- Bee Balm
- Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus ‘Sugar Tip’)
- Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata)
- Rain Lily (Habranthus robustus ‘Pink Flamingos’)
Black plants mix easily with other colors and work well for a 50’s theme too. Some of my favorites include:
- Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’)
- Hollyhock (Alcea rosea ‘Nigra’)
- Chocolate Cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus)
- Hellebore Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger)
- Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii ‘Black Knight’)
- Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus nigrescens ‘Sooty’)
- Pansy (Viola x wittrockiana ‘Bowles’ Black’)
While this color is somewhat rare in the plant world, here are some of my top picks:
- Porcelain Berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata)
- Turquoise Puya (Puya berteroniana)
- Turquoise Ixia (Ixia viridiflora)
- Jade Vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys)
- Turquoise Tails Blue Sedum (Sedum sediforme)
And it wouldn’t be a 50’s garden if you didn’t toss in those ‘tacky’ ornaments. Have fun with this. For my pink, black and turquoise color scheme, I see flocks of pink flamingos. Maybe even a few statues or black containers with pink and turquoise mosaic tiles. Who knows, I may include a saddle shoe planter or two and vinyl record edging.