Advertisement
Advertisement
Isle of Wight County Press Image

Painting the garden rainbow

a County Press reporter

[email protected]

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 - 13:30

THE beauty of a garden in full flower is utterly captivating - whether it be formal, with colour palette carefully ordered, or a glorious, mix and match profusion of cottage garden-style.

When decorating a room in our home we usually start with the walls and any permanent built-in features, then move on to choosing larger items of furniture, in a style that will set the scene, and finally come the finishing touches - pictures, ceramics, cushions, rugs - and all the other colourful pieces that co-ordinate the room, making it homely, stylish and exciting.

Designing a small garden is very much a parallel process to interior decoration. For walls, read boundary fences or hedges, larger pieces of furniture are the equivalent of structural shrubs and architectural plants, while the uplifting, stylish, finishing touches are our carefully chosen, colourful flowers and leaves.

Colour used well is one of the gardener's most powerful and uniquely expressive resources. Nothing has more immediate impact on a garden's atmosphere than colour. It animates the garden, infusing it with a special aura that can influence our mood. All colours have an emotional 'temperature', whether soothing and reflective or exciting and lively. Deciding the preferred 'emotion' of the space can influence the palette accordingly, and help narrow down the sometimes bewildering choice of colours.

At primary school we were all taught about primary colours, using the colour wheel, which is based on nature's colour spectrum, the rainbow. On one side of the wheel are the hot colours - reds, oranges, yellows, while on the cool side are greens, blues and purples.

The most intense colour contrasts are between colours on opposite sides of the wheel cool blue and - hot orange, plus all their tones and shades, when set against each other will be strikingly lively.

Likewise, yellow paired with violet will be equally intense and capable of lifting the mood.

Selecting a colour theme, or series of themes, is the most effortless way of ensuring a planting design is pleasingly focused. Themed colour schemes, based on temperature, use shades from only one side of the colour wheel.

Grouping just the hot colours and their tones together (red, orange, yellow plus strong pink and dark red) will give a cohesive scheme that is energetic and vibrant, embracing just the colours that project forward.

Choosing from the cool side of the spectrum gives the opposite effect, with the soothing hues of blues, greens, mauves and purple producing a peaceful, contemplative space. These cool colours are tranquil and less demanding, receding in space rather than advancing towards us, so making the most of smaller areas.

Set apart from the other colours by its cool luminosity, white has distinct possibilities when it comes to designing with colour but can be difficult to place in the garden scene.

White provides the strongest tonal contrast with most dark foliage and is the last tone to be lost at night as the dusk closes in, so making white borders a good choice for gardeners who are at work most of the day.

In a mixed border setting, however, white creates almost a point of light that attracts the eye, giving a restless, unfocused look to the scene. I find most other colours can be successfully combined in planting if white, cream and very pale yellow are kept out of the picture.

Although some gardeners will want to keep to a small, clearly-defined range of colours for a calm and focused scheme, more adventurous gardeners combine and interweave groups of opposing colours, manipulating them to produce exotic contrasts.

Ultimately experimentation is the best way to find out what inspires you in terms of colour in the garden - there are no right or wrong colour choices. Just treat flowers in the garden as paints in a palette. Experiment on a small scale by grouping different permutations of flowers and leaves together into bunches in the hand to see what works for you - that way lie unexpected successes and delights. The endless permutations made possible by different combinations of plants mean there is always a new, exciting colour partnership to discover.

 


Advertisement
ISLE OF WIGHT TRAVEL
Travel filler
ISLE OF WIGHT WEATHER

Now8℃

12:00

9℃

15:00

9℃

18:00

7℃

21:00

6℃

More Gardening News

Chinese big on miniatures too Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Weaving the garden tapestry Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Stunning rose that’s worthy of this dame Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Can we grow tropical fruit on the Island? Tuesday, October 10, 2017

ISLE OF WIGHT TRAVEL
Travel filler
ISLE OF WIGHT WEATHER

Now8℃

12:00

9℃

15:00

9℃

18:00

7℃

21:00

6℃

ISLE OF WIGHT TRAVEL
Travel filler