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Main Garden Paint your garden with primary-colored plants

Paint your garden with primary-colored plants

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Written by Lucy Hardiman   
Tuesday, March 08, 2011

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2011AprMay_PaintingWIthPlants_01I am a color diva — no white walls for this girl. Adhering to the same theory outside and knowing that the taste police won’t be making an appearance any time soon, my garden gallery is ever changing. Always experimenting with colors and how they affect one another means that shrubs and perennials are constantly on the move as I reconfigure them according to my latest whim.

Color is the most seductive of all the elements in garden design. Artful color schemes and plant combinations guide us through a garden, illustrating the gardener’s intent, serving as focal points and creating ambience. As gardeners we paint with plants, each in our own style based on our psychological, emotional and cultural cues.

Neutral green, the little black dress of the garden, is the background color of my outdoor canvas. The primary colors, red, yellow and blue, are the building blocks from which all other colors are derived and are important to my palette. All three impact the perception of space differently and are critical components in garden making. Red and yellow are hot and provocative and impossible to ignore, while blue calms things down and soothes the soul. Seasonal brushstrokes of red, yellow and blue bark, berries, flowers and foliage are the essence of my year-round garden.