​From the Garden: The Rainbow Connection

By Erin McKenna Breglia

The col­or green is one of the most wel­come signs of spring, fol­lowed close­ly by the return of the red-breast­ed robin, bright yel­low for­syth­ia, and fra­grant pur­ple hyacinth in bloom. Col­ors spark feel­ings and trig­ger inspi­ra­tion – espe­cial­ly for the gardener. 

It’s no won­der our plan­et is so full of col­or­ful life: col­or in nature always serves a pur­pose. Col­or can help a species to either stand out from the crowd” and attract pol­li­na­tors or to pro­vide a pro­tec­tive cam­ou­flage from ene­mies. In human beings, col­or –and col­or com­bi­na­tions — have a pow­er­ful effect on one’s mood.

Let’s go back to green, a col­or asso­ci­at­ed with renew­al, tran­quil­i­ty, and ground­ing. Green is easy to find in our gar­dens. Most weeds are green! Now imag­ine a conifer woods full of pines, fir, and hem­lock, or a lush shade gar­den of hos­ta, ferns, and vin­ca. It would be easy to sit and relax in this space, med­i­tate, jour­nal, or read. Green is invit­ing but sub­tle, not showy, and serves as an excel­lent back­ground to the bright col­ors we love. For exam­ple, red.

On the col­or wheel, red is the com­ple­men­tary col­or of green. The plant king­dom is full of many red flow­ers, includ­ing the pop­u­lar red rose. When you are feel­ing tired or sad, red can be ener­giz­ing and moti­vat­ing. Plant­i­ng spring bloom­ing red tulips or sum­mer bloom­ing red dahlias can add a lot of flair to both your gar­den beds and your attitude!

The col­or most asso­ci­at­ed with cheer and hap­pi­ness is yel­low. Who doesn’t smile when see­ing spring daf­fodils in May or giant sun­flow­ers in August? Yel­low also rep­re­sents courage and friend­ship and pro­motes feel­ings of trust, youth­ful­ness, and fun’. An old-fash­ioned com­bi­na­tion of yel­low marigolds, cal­en­du­la, zin­nia, or petu­nia flow­ers in white hang­ing bas­kets is sim­ple and sweet. Bring on the lemonade!

Col­ors reput­ed to be the most heal­ing are green, blue, and vio­let. Though true blue flow­ers are not easy to find, there are a few, such as blue stars (Amso­nia), great blue lobelia, and for­get-me-not. Vio­let and pur­ple shades include lilac shrubs, iris, flow­er­ing onion, pan­sy, salvia, clema­tis, and aro­mat­ic laven­der. These blue and pur­ple flow­ers nes­tled among green foliage pro­mote a tran­quil and calm­ing feel­ing. Add some gray or sil­ver plants such as artemisia for extra shim­mer on a moon­lit night.

Oth­er col­ors to men­tion include orange, which, like yel­low, can bright­en one’s mood. It pairs well with dark pur­ple, green, and black for a fun and sophis­ti­cat­ed vibe. Pink is an easy col­or to find in the gar­den and most asso­ci­at­ed with gen­tle­ness and good health. Pink pairs well with light yel­low, sil­ver, and creamy peach, and this com­bo can enhance a relax­ing and roman­tic mood. Com­bin­ing bright pinks, fuschia, pur­ple, indi­go, orange and off-white can enhance a cre­ative and mod­ern vibe that shouts Work hard! Play hard!

Be mind­ful of the col­ors and com­bi­na­tions of col­ors you chose! They can be both heal­ing and appeal­ing, whether in a bou­quet or in a garden. 


Spring 2022

Volume 40 , Number 1

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