good luck v. talent
One of the best things about being a garden writer is that people send you things for free. This year I was lucky enough to receive a box full of tropical beauties from Brent and Becky's Bulbs (my favorite bulb company and two very nice people) to trial in my zone 5 garden. So many tropical plants make excellent garden annuals, you'd be crazy not to try a few in your non-tropical garden.
Here's what I'm talking about: Did I purposely place this black leaf colocasia next to the purple clematis? I could lie. I could pretend I put that much thought into it and knew from the start that the two would combine wonderfully. Truth is I forgot all about the clematis when I potted up the colocasia bulb and if I had thought about it I probably wouldn't have realized the clematis would still be in bloom when the colocasia got all big and beefy and black. (Don't ask me which clematis this is. It came with the house and all I've done is move it around.)
So this is what you call a happy surprise. The lavender clematis flower brings out a purplish tinge in the black colocasia and the combo almost glows in the fading sun of a late summer afternoon. I celebrate it, but I can't take credit for coming up with the idea. I think this happens more often than most gardeners let on. I know I've occasionally taken credit where credit has not been due, in an effort to make myself look really talented. But since we're all friends here I'll admit all I've done (besides keeping the plants alive) is appreciate a thing of beauty when I see it. And that's something any one can do.