Woman With Trowel: Starting a Kitsilano Garden? Here’s How to Use Color


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Are you starting a garden in Kitsilano this year? Whether you are thinking of a container garden for your patio or restocking your front yard, there are many things to consider before you start buying plants. I’ll touch on some of these topics in the next few articles.

A primary challenge in creating a satisfying perennial garden is determining what pleases you. Discovering what you want, then making that a reality. What is your version of a perfect garden? Let’s touch on color in the garden first.

What can color do for your garden?

Are you interested in a garden featuring a single color or do you want to play with combinations? Some gardeners like bold contrast while others prefer the subtler distinctions that come with using similar colors. As we go through these images, notice how you are reacting to the color and how one plant’s color impacts another.

The opening image has plants with varying saturations of the same basic color, so although the dahlia is robust, the rose is delicate, with the coneflower somewhere in the middle, the image works and the plants are seen as a group. You can still have a vibrant garden working with a single color.

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In the second image, the rose is a delicate apricot and the background liatris, a deeper purple. This creates both a color contrast and a saturation discrepancy – so you might find it a bit jarring, or a bit exciting. The third image (below) has a contrasting combination with the saturations more evenly matched.





In the fourth image (above), we have a somewhat calmer combination – the medium pink of the dierama and the yellow of the phlomis. Using colors with lower saturations can offer more tranquility than the high contrast combos. Additionally, selecting colors that are closely related on the color wheel helps to create calm, as in the final image of the pale orange iris and soft yellow and apricot roses.

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So, were you attracted more to one image? Did you find any too chaotic or tepid? Color can be a powerful tool in a garden: you can create a feeling in your garden space with the colors that you choose. Are you after an energizing playground or do you yearn for a quiet retreat? Your reaction to color and how one color relates to another impacts the path to creating your perfect garden.

What are your thoughts on using color in your garden? Help out by commenting below.

Photos: M. Brehaut

Last modified: March 27, 2013

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