by Rochelle Greayer
I went two very different directions with color in my garden this year. Near the house and on my patio, I imagined a dramatic combo of purple and red that I thought would make a moody and maybe even a slightly exotic feeling place, and out further in the garden I went with calming pastel colored plants and flowers that seemed like cheery but also relaxing mix that I could enjoy while weeding and picking vegetables.
But I’ve decided I did it all wrong. The reds are starting to really annoy me (that is the thing about reds) and there is a fiery orange canna just about to bloom by my front door that I am finding so garish and eye-catching that I am half tempted to rip it out even before it has done its thing. For whatever reason, I am having an outsized emotional response to fiery color around my house this year and I think it will be many years before I choose red to greet me at the door again. Right now, I want nothing more than to move the plants I chose for the for the strawberry tower to surround me as I enjoy the patio. Next year right?
I’ve never been so affected by color in my garden before, normally I am just so happy that something is growing well and doing what it is meant to do. But maybe as a I grow as a designer, and I try to be more purposeful in my planning, the flip side is that the resulting intensity of the design suddenly has more impact on my feelings about it.
Calibrachoa ‘Strawberry Punch’ with its dark and light pink is much more appealing to me than red.
And Alyssum ‘Dark Knight’ and Mecardonia ‘GoldDust’ are interspersed to make the whole thing vibrant and cheery without being overwhelming.
I’ve decided that red is a much better color to plant far away as it will beckon me from a distance. The soft colors are hardly noticeable from the house (my veg garden – the home of the strawberry tower – is at the far side of my lawn and the farthest point from the door). I’m making plans to move all red things further away this fall – like a few azaleas and even the red twig dogwood in the hopes that I will love them more when they call to me saying come.. over here… look at me from a distance and feel the power of my beckoning call… rather than screaming at me every time I walk to the door.
Color is such a powerful design tool that I am not surprised I am having such a reaction. I will certainly be paying more attention to color theory and my own feelings about different combinations in the future. But I wonder, am I alone in this? Do you have any colors that you choose to avoid or are drawn to because of the way they make you feel?
Images: Rochelle Greayer