​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

Share this

The Latest from Landis

Oct 07, 2023 | Nolan Marciniec

The Landis community mourns the loss of Anne Donnelly on October 4, 2023

Anne Donnelly was the first of the many friends I’ve made at the Arboretum and... read more

Oct 01, 2023 | Fred Breglia, Executive Director

From the Director’s Desk: Update on the Big Tree Search

Landis Arboretum has successfully kicked off its most recent Big Tree Search, and the tree... read more

Oct 01, 2023 | Erin McKenna Breglia

From the Garden: Your Autumn Garden Must Haves!

It’s certainly been a rainy summer, but the rain has helped keep our plants green... read more

Oct 01, 2023 | Nolan Marciniec

Landis Portraits: A Series About the People Behind the Plants at the Arboretum - Chuck Mueller

Chuck Mueller Volunteering, Chuck Mueller said, “is something you have to believe in . ... read more

Oct 01, 2023 | Nolan Marciniec

Volunteers Celebrate Meeting House Renovation

Shawn Bevins, Jim Paley, Craig Blevins, Fred Breglia, and Peter Bakal On a Sunday afternoon... read more

Oct 01, 2023 | Sam McClary

Apples and Man: A Book Review

Apples and Man, by Fred Lape “Apples and Man,” written by Arboretum founder Fred Lape... read more

News Archive