Hot Popping Color

By Sharon Brown (Sharon) on March 16, 2010

Whether it's an act of nature, or a best laid plan, your gardens no doubt have color schemes. If you had it to do all over again, what could you do to make your gardens come alive? Color? You betcha!

At one time or another we have seen a color wheel, but have we ever really used it? When we plant our gardens we usually plant what we like, and if we have time we might give a thought to color combinations. If we are observant, nature gives us hints. 2010-03-16/Sharran/24e66b

Color plays an important role in our lives. We usually rev up when we are surrounded by reds and oranges, and we often calm down when we find ourselves immersed in blue. But it's for sure we get downright excited when we see that special mint green that tells us spring is on its way. 

Last year my part of the country was devastated by a late January ice storm. Some called it the Ice Storm of the Century, and it certainly was that for me. Not only were my trees severely damaged, but so was my favorite set of garden furniture. It wasn't in the best shape before the storm, but when the ice finally melted, I was left with dregs of metal and wood. It wasn't pretty. 

I had an idea though, I'd glue and sand and paint and hope for the best. The result was a very comfortable bright cobalt blue seating arrangement 2010-03-16/Sharran/8d7648beneath a battered but surviving old maple tree. Now my idea was that it was located very near a daylily patch that just happened to contain a deep orange daylily named Copper Penny. Going back to my years of studying art, I knew that bright orange and cobalt blue were opposite each other on the color wheel, and that meant they were complementary colors. Complementary colors are used together when one wants each of the colors to pop, and orange and blue together will make your eyes dance whether you want them to or not. So do purple and yellow, and so do red and green.

2010-03-16/Sharran/d0b9efNow nature already knows this, just take a look at a sunrise, and you'll see blues and oranges, purples and golds, breathtaking and startling to look at as you drink your morning coffee. The same is true of some plant foliage. Did you look closely at the caladium in your garden last summer? Those leaves are striking! And sit down in your garden some bright blue sky day, and look up at your tallest orange daylily with the blue sky behind it. You'll need sunglasses, I promise. Plant a Texas Star Hibiscus in front of a deep green cedar tree and see what happens. Color is everything, and color placement will make a huge difference in your garden. 

I realize you might not want this eye popping color everywhere. Your eyes need to rest sometimes. But you can use just the right amount of complementary colors to give balance to your garden, and to create eye catching beauty. Just as we decorate the rooms of our homes to fit the needs of our families, so can we decorate our gardens. 

No part of this article can be reproduced without permission from the author.

Related articles:
blooms, color combinations, color in gardens, color wheel, complementary colors, flowers, garden, garden art, gardens

About Sharon Brown
I am a retired art and humanities teacher. I am an artist and I am also a writer who has written a series of articles about the history and medicinal value of Kentucky wildflowers. The articles tell of growing up in the mountains of southeast Kentucky with my great Aunt Bett and Granny Ninna. I currently live in western KY.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
Color makes the world happier! Boopaints Mar 18, 2010 10:15 PM 1
I love it! Hemophobic Mar 17, 2010 9:12 AM 12
Great article. SunnyBorders Mar 17, 2010 8:34 AM 3

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