April 2019

April 2019


Paint your garden with colourful plants and brighten your outlook throughout the year! Whether you want a calming area to relax or a vibrant space to party, choose colour themes to suit your mood, combining plants and accessories to create the perfect garden for your health and well-being.

Plan the colour of your outdoor space as you would your interior by considering the colour of fences, walls, structures and landscaping materials as well as pots, ornaments, furniture and other features to combine with your favourite plants and flowers.

For somewhere bright and uplifting choose a colour palette with red, gold, yellow and orange – all colours with energy and warmth. Planted in bold bocks around a patio, and matched with furniture in equally uplifting colours, they’ll produce a joyful place socialise outside.

In contrast, create somewhere calm and relaxing using cool colours like blue, mauve and violet, set against a backdrop of green, and perhaps adding pure white and silver for a clean, tranquil effect. With soft chairs to sink down into you’ll create a peaceful and restorative space to sit out and meditate.

Different colours can influence on your emotions in different ways:

RED – bold, bright and stimulating, exciting and eye-catching

ORANGE – warm and vibrant, happy and fun

YELLOW – cheerful and welcoming, positive and stimulating

GREEN – fresh, natural and calming, peaceful and relaxing

BLUE – simple, cool, calming and relaxing

MAGENTA / VIOLET / PURPLE – striking, powerful and energetic

WHITE / GREY / SILVER – pure and simple, clean and classic

Creativity is rewarding and good for mental health, so explore your creative side by combining plants with other materials and features. Pick bold and dramatic plants to form a backdrop and set the stage for colourful seasonal stars to steal the limelight. Mixing things up may be fun, but take care as a riot of colour can look unplanned and disorganised.

Of course, there’s more to choosing plants than just their colour, such as their shape and size, texture, suitability to your site and soil, their season of interest, and more. At the end of the day colour choice is up to you, and if you like it then that’s all that matters!


Colours can be grouped into four broad categories, starting with the ‘Primary Colours’ of red, yellow and blue. By mixing these primary colours you get ‘Secondary Colours’, so red and yellow create orange, yellow and blue make green, and red mixed with blue form violet. Mixtures of primary and secondary colours are called ‘Tertiary colours, like a green-blue or violet-red. Lastly you have ‘Neutral Colours’ like white, grey, silver, brown and black.

To choose complimentary colours try using a simple visual device called the Colour Wheel. Think of a pie divided into twelve coloured slices running from red to orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, and back to red. Colours opposite one another on the Colour Wheel, or equally spaced in a triangle, are the most harmonious, like red and green, yellow and violet, or orange and blue.


Colour can influence your visual perception of space. By growing bright red plants at the end of a long, narrow garden you can make it appear closer than it actually is, while cool, blue flowers will look further away, giving the impression that the space is larger. Vibrant colours like red and yellow grab your attention, drawing the eye away from eyesores or views you’d prefer to ignore, while pure white and gold shine out on dull days and brighten a shaded spot.


Include colourful plants that add immediate impact as well as things that provide continuity to keep the colour coming right through summer, highlighting colour from foliage, bark and stems, autumn colour, as well as flowers, fruits and berries.


Perhaps use the principles of the Colour Wheel to create displays, or have fun with colourful groupings or partners.

Highlight good planting companions e.g.

Purple & Yellow/Gold e.g. Geranium, Achillea, Rudbeckia.

Red, Yellow & Blue e.g. Solidago, Scabious, Camassia, Scilla peruviana.

Purple, Green & Orange e.g. Geum, Alchemilla, Geum.

Violet, Orange & Green e.g. Campanula, Erysimum, Salvia, Verbascum, Hosta, Euphorbia, Bergenia, etc.


… for colour-themed inspiration

*  Coton Manor, Northampton – for their Blue & Yellow Border.

*  East Ruston Old Vicarage, Norfolk – for their Red & Purple Border.

*  Hidcote Manor Garden, Gloucestershire (National Trust) – for their Red Borders.

*  Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent (National Trust) – for their White Border.



Using colour therapy in garden design

See:  http://www.livingcolourlandscapes.com.au/using-colour-therapy-in-garden-design/


Learn the Basics of Colour Theory to Now What Looks Good

See:  https://lifehacker.com/learn-the-basics-of-color-theory-to-know-what-looks-goo-1608972072


Whether its drifts of golden daffodils or a multi-coloured kaleidoscope of tulips, spring bulbs are the perfect choice to fill borders, patio pots and window boxes. Many fill the air with their heady fragrance too, like hyacinth, making them an ideal pot plant to grow indoors.

Keep the colour coming by mixing bulbs with seasonal bedding plants including long-flowering wallflowers, frothy forget-me-nots, bold daisy-like Bellis perennis, pansies and dainty violas, or primulas and primroses. Also choose early flowering hardy perennials like brunnera, epimedium, bergenia, hellebores, euphorbia, and a host of others.

For many, camellias are the plant of choice for classy spring colour, and although they require an acid soil to flourish they can be planted into large pots of ericaceous compost instead.


Any plants providing Spring Colour eg

Spring flowering bulbs

Spring bedding plants, including Senetti

Hardy Perennials such as Perennial Wallflower (Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’ AGM), Hellebores, Euphorbia, Bergenia and Bruunera ‘Jack Frost’ AGM

Green perennials to plant now such as Paeonia, Lupin, Delphinium, Hollyhock (Alcea), Digitalis.

Spring flowering shrubs:

Erica x darleyensis eg ‘Ghost Hills’ AGM

Clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’ AGM

Oregon Grape – Mahonia aquifolium ‘Apollo’ AGM

Pieris japonica eg ‘Passion’, ‘Flaming Silver’ AGM

Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ AGM

Camellia, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, etc,

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