Combining Colors in the Landscape

I was trained as a
graphic designer and remember studying the color wheel ad nauseum.  One thing that permanently sunk into my brain
was the fact that colors on the opposite sides of the color wheel
(complementary colors) always look good together. 

I think this was a valuable lesson.  When I look at my own garden, I see this is
true.  In the picture below note how the
yellow tones of the Hachenochloa macra ‘Aureola’ and hosta contrast with the
purple blooms of the Astilbe chinensis ‘Pumila.’ This scene creates a perfect
balance from my perspective and just enough contrast to keep things interesting. 

example is purple phlox combined with black-eyed Susan pictured below.

Green and
red are also complementary colors. 
Notice how the red azalea and garden gate at the lovely Ladew Topiary Gardens in Maryland are set off perfectly by the
surrounding green tones. 

In addition
to noting the power of complementary colors, have you ever noticed that you
migrate towards certain colors and find others unsettling?  That has certainly been true for me.  Blues, purples, pinks and greens have always
been appealing to me.  Interestingly
enough, these colors are considered “cool” colors and are more likely to
encourage a relaxation response.  No
wonder I like the cool colors so much; I’m always using my garden as an escape
from the sometimes chaotic world around us.

I would love
to know of your favorite color combinations. Please make a comment and share
your thoughts.  See you next time!

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