More on color

Barbara Weintraub
Sun, 26 Sep 2004 09:09:41 PDT
Sorry, Judy, but I have to disagree on a couple of points. Please note that 
the high elevation sunlight of the continental western US creates much 
different effects than are seen on the coasts, or in locations where water 
vapor waters down color.

As I design gardens for myself and for others I've played with some color 
combinations that might be considered unusual. Contrary to Judy's statement 
that "A border entirely of equal amounts of true blue and saturated orange 
is harsh," I've found that a border of lavender, purple, bluish lavender 
mixed with bright yellow and orange is together. I'm still playing with 
this border, but one successful example is Scutellaria baicalensis with 
Happlopappus croceus, two perennials with brightly-colored flowers and a 
combination of which I have slides for a talk on use of native plants in 
the garden.

Again, contrary to Judy's statement "Colors next to each other on the color 
wheel relate harmoniously," I've found them to clash horribly! For 
instance, red on the orange side clashes horribly with red on the bluish 
side (e.g., Penstemon cardinalis and Penstemon pinifolius), as does yellow 
on the golden side with yellow on the golden side with true, buttercup, or 
sulfur yellow (e.g., Coreopsis grandiflorus 'Sunray' and Achillea x 
'Moonshine') On the other hand, if I keep flowers in the range of golden 
yellow, orange, and scarlet red, the resulting 'hot' border is spectacular.

One of the most profound influences on how I use color was the book Color 
Echoes by Pamela Harper. Although primarily a practical approach rather 
than a treatise on color theory, the ideas in this book changed the way I 
look at, and use, color. I've come up with some wonderful combinations of 
which I'm quite proud!. :-) As many of you know, I've spent lots of time 
wandering around the mountains and deserts. In my wanderings, I've found 
some incredible vignettes and wide expanses from which I have learned that 
nature is still the best gardener, and one that we can only approximate.

I realize that this posting doesn't mention bulbs specifically, but my 
experience certainly applies to any plants used in a garden.

- Barbara

Leaf and Stone
Barbara L. Weintraub
20 Estambre Road
Santa Fe, NM 87508-8769
6640 feet elevation
nominally USDA zone 5b/6a

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