It took me about three days to get the answer I wanted. What was the question? Something about the color harmony of “In the Garden” was not working. Pulling out the color wheel usually clears things up for me.
In the original painting above the main colors in the figure are cool versions of blues and violets. The background greens were leaning toward the yellow family. On the color wheel it is clear that the yellow greens were a large step around the wheel from the cool violets. This large step is why the warm greens are too jarring when placed next to the violets in the painting.
In the final image above, I shifted the background to a family of greens closer to the violets. This shift has made all the difference.
Color harmonies can enhance the mood of a subject or detract from it. If I were painting a Mardi Gras scene in the French Quarter using complimentary colors (those opposite each other on the wheel), would be a good choice for high energy and bright impact, but the opposite was what I wanted here, more natural, quieter and calmer.