Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Color of Happiness

Color Me Happy

The Earth is Mother Nature’s coloring book. While all colors work in nature, it is the combining and subtleness of shades that make it pleasing to the eye.  Colors that harmonize or complement, we feel it. Our eye translates to our brain and feeds our soul. Color schemes are mood enhancers and can either soothe or excite.

What is your favorite color?  Most of us when asked can reveal at least one favorite color. Countless internet searches revealed blue as the favorite in ’17 countries’ one site boasted. So why such a favorite color is also used to describe the feeling of sadness? Second favorite is no surprise to be green. What do we think of when we think of blue and green? The sky and a well manicured lawn?  The ocean which can be both blue and green at once.  With so many blues and greens to choose from, in nature and created by man which is the favorite blue? The primary color blue or one of the varying shades to either side of the color wheel. Nevertheless, a color wheel is not necessary for most to understand, if not see the varying blue all around us. Some blues are warmer than others; such as turquoise or cyan. Cooler blues fade into violets & purples such as periwinkle.

Gardeners or any artist, yes we are artists, though with less control of our palette and canvas would answer, ‘it depends’.  Over the years our ‘favorite colors’ may change. Alternatively, we may have a one ‘favorite’ to wear, another for our walls, another for accessories. The term ‘pop of color’ is used from everything to donning a scarf, adding a pillow even in our landscapes. Perhaps more correctly, when it comes to decorating, whether our homescapes or landscapes, our mind drifts to a color scheme.  A few like to relax with the cool and some like it hot!

How do colors make you feel? The vibrant yellow of late blooming daffodils nestled amongst a bed of tulips of orange and red may make me smile. The combination pleases most of us especially after the dullness of a Maine winter. Yet there are a number of us who would not combine these colors in our home or on ourselves. I don’t even think I own anything orange and my reds migrate toward a cooler red. My décor is all sea foam greens and azure blues accentuated with a bolt of neon green. The garden I have created for myself offers blooms of white, blue, lavenders and purples punctuated with foliage of silver, blue greens and burgundies. Later in the season there is the addition of a warming gold.  August just wouldn’t be August without Susan and her black-eyed cousins. She is fashionably late yet doesn’t over shadow the glow of Becky, my favorite Shasta Daisy and the elegant White Swan Echinacea.

Want to know what colors work together before you head to your nursery?  Most paint stores sell their color swatch books for a nominal fee. Individual color swatches are free for the taking so you can fine tune your focus. Look up color wheel or color schemes on the internet and the options are as variable as colors available. Personally, while I have color wheel and swatches especially made for landscapers, each season brings new plant cultivars and varieties. Often I can be found carrying plants around the nursery yards to get the right mix and match of bloom and foliage colors. Don’t over look the subtle variations within each individual bloom or leaf. To serve as the color compliment or harmony.  The dark purple veining in the silvery leaf of ‘Amethyst Myst’ Heuchera works well with the dark foliage of the ‘Hillside Black Beauty’ Snakeroot.  It is no secret I look to foliage for consistent garden drama.

Whether totally revamping your landscape, adding subtle changes or considering experimenting with changing your color scheme in one bed or containers, when its all set, sit back and relax. If it is working you cannot help but smile…………

(Check back soon for KCB's next post: The Secret of Coloring)

KCB is a professional gardener and friend who does wonderful work in the Greater Portland area. KCB is also an accredited Master Gardener by the Cooperative Extension Service and we are honored to have KCB as part of our Skillin's Garden Log family. KCB can also be found at the awesome Finishing Touches website

KCB for Skillin's Greenhouses
March 28, 2012

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