Bulbs – Color in the Garden

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.”~ Georgia O’Keeffe

Do you ever think about color? Why should you? Artists express themselves with color, however, most of us rarely consider color and how it effects our mood, actions, and decisions. In our daily lives, color can have a motivating effect – red to stop, green to go, and yellow to wait. Color can convey tranquility – blue and green, the colors of the sky and the sea, seems to accomplish this. Color can evoke excitement – red and orange, the colors of fire, certainly make us feel exhilarated. Marketing experts know the power of color and use it to influence and entice us, and to help identify and brand their clients. Color is certainly a compelling force with the ability to sway, impel, and inspire.

So, how do we use color in the garden? The colors we choose can produce the effect that we desire for our garden space, be it calm and peaceful or active and vibrant, but the choices we make also effect how our eyes view the garden.

  • Bright colors, such as yellow, orange, and red, command attention in the garden and they look best when displayed in a sunny location. Plants with these colored flowers will look closer than they really are.
  • Cool colors, such as green, purple, and blue, are more reserved. Perfectly suited for a shady situation, they tend to recede in the garden and fade into the background. Cool colors create depth in the garden.
  • Pastel colors seem to fade in full sun while hot colors sizzle.
  • White will reflect light, brightening up a shady spot, while black will give the appearance of a void in the garden. Very dark colors add adventure and intrigue to the garden when used sparingly against a light background.
  • Repeating colors in the garden helps convey harmony and orderliness.

Color is one of the most important elements to consider when planning a garden design and selecting plants; this is particularly true when making your bulb choices as many of them will become permanent additions to your garden.

Color Symbolism and Effects

Color is a powerful means of communication, and just as an artist uses paints and a canvas to express themselves, the gardener does the same with plants as their medium and soil as their backdrop.

What are you trying to convey in your garden through your plant choices?

Hot Colors

Symbolizes: Action, strength, energy, and passion.
Effects: Attention, motivates, stimulates, and cautions.

Symbolizes: Emotion, youth, optimism, and enthusiasm.
Effects: Encourages, uplifts, stimulates, and communicates.

Symbolizes: Happiness, optimism, positivity, and intellect.
Effects: Clarifies, inspires, amuses, and energizes.

Cool Colors

Symbolizes: Security, trust, loyalty, and responsibility.
Effects: Protects, calms, relaxes, and supports.

Symbolizes: Harmony, safety, growth, and health.
Effects: Revitalizes, balances, relaxes, and encourages.

Symbolizes: Spirituality, mystery, royalty, and imagination.
Effects: Enlightens, inspires, uplifts, and encourages.

Note: these color meanings are taken from an article titled Color Meanings by Jacob Olesen. You may view the article entirely through this link: https://www.color-meanings.com

Spring-Planted Bulbs in Expressive Colors

Looking for just the right spring-planted, summer-flowering bulbs to express yourself this year? This handy chart will help you to plan a garden that represents your authentic self or, at least, the self you’d like to display.

Posted on January 22, 2024 by International Garden Center