Colour is such a personal thing. The colours you wear may say something about you – extrovert or conservative, trendsetter or practical. But with clothing it’s so easy to ring the changes from day to day. Not quite so easy in the garden.
So, using Colour in your Garden … will you be extrovert or refined good taste? Cool, calm and collected tones of blue, or the dazzling intensity of orange and purples? I have my own personal dislike in the garden – pink and yellows combined. Pink is so pretty but I don’t think it’s a great mixer , though it can look great with tones of pinks, blues and mauves. Just not yellow. In my opinion.
The height of “good taste” may be the White Garden – white tulips, billowing Iceberg roses and so on, backed by hostas and stachys perhaps … but even the most famous White Garden, at Sissinghurst, isn’t entirely monochromatic, it has tones of green and grey too. And, after a while, perhaps an all-white garden may seem just a little tedious.
I have written individual posts about colours in the garden. Here is a round-up of the main considerations.
Red is a hot primary colour and can add a little excitement to a border. It can draw attention to a feature or divert attention away from an eyesore.
It is not a restful colour and looks best with green foliage,
or in the weaker light of spring and autumn, or in a monochromatic scheme.
Yellow is another hot Primary colour and looks lively and cheerful in a border. It looks good mixed with tawny shades in autumn …
and striking when mixed with its Complementary purple or blue.
Van Gogh used this colour contrast in many of his paintings.
Who doesn’t love blue in a border? It is a cool recessive Primary colour and is very calming in a scheme. It looks elegant and serene when mixed with white and pastel shades. It can add a little romance to your garden.
It tends to look a little bland on its own but adding its Complementary colour orange will make it sizzle.
Very much the colour of Autumn, Orange is a warm vibrant colour.
Place it next to blue or purple and its colour intensifies further,
producing a border bristling with energy.
Probably the colour I use most. Just think Alliums, Salvias, Verbena bonariensis, Lavender, Clematis…. I think it combines the merits of its constituent colours – the vibrancy of Red and the calmness of Blue.
I find it is a great mixer, looking elegant with creams and blues,
or striking with orange and yellow.
It changes its mood, intensifying as the light changes so needs careful handling to avoid looking “dead” or flat, so is always best when mixed with other lighter colours.
Of course, colour isn’t just confined to your plants.
Accent walls, fencing, sheds, cushions can all bring colour to your life outdoors.
Let your imagination run riot … as these designers did in recent Show Gardens!
Will your world be black and white, or glorious technicolour?