Monday, July 17

Color Me... Evolving

I am abundant, fresh and natural (green).

I am warm, cheerful, happy and bright (yellow).

I am a mix of passionate, urgent, excited, strong (red) and sophisticated, intelligent, spiritual and dignified (purple).

Don't believe me? Just check out these pictures of my deep backyard border. Burgundy leaves and flowers that mix red and purple... yellow accents in foliage and umbels... and abundances of abundance--er, green. They all may just reveal a lot about the garden who lives within.

Stuart, a fellow (and fun) blogger from the land of Oz, inserted a list of color meanings into his recent post "Using Colour in the Garden." Color psychology says that each color carries a certain meaning or evokes specific feelings. In that case, I'm very glad that the passionate, bright, and abundant bed you see in the first picture is located underneath my bedroom window... ;)

The psychology of color has been utilized for a long time. You can thank it for your chalky-mint-green schoolroom walls that were supposed to keep you calm and help you focus on your lessons. You can see it in decorating magazines that advocate using soothing "spa" colors in the bedroom and bathroom to help turn them into retreats. I hadn't really thought much about how it translated to my garden, though, before I read Stuart's post.

On a personal note, it's interesting to see how my taste in color has evolved over the past few years, since my life has undergone great changes during that time. My husband turned into my former husband and then became a good friend. A friend turned into a date and became the person who set free "the real me" from her pale shell of an imitation. I bought a house. On my own. Without having my father walk through it first.

In my old garden... my old life, really... I focused mainly on blues (melancholy, heaviness, coolness) and greens, with a few complimentary soft oranges mixed in just because I didn't want an "all X color" garden. I shied away from reds completely.

Even if you ignore the color meanings, my gardens looked very soft. I rarely used bold foliage or flowers at all, and when I did it was almost apologetically. I hid it behind mounds of other plants or interwove it with finer-textured foliage to mitigate its impact. I would have run screaming from some of the plants I have now. Miscanthus zebrinus, with yellow stripes? Eek!

In my new garden, though, I have replaced Great Blue Lobelia with its flashier red cousin, lobelia cardinalis. I have entire stands of the bold 'Hopi Red Dye' amaranth you see in pictures above. I'm growing red hot pokers, for pete's sake--you can't get much more flashy, straight and to the point than that!

It will be interesting to see how and whether my color and design choices continue to change as I get older. If and when my plans turn to starting a family, will I incorporate more soft and nurturing pinks? Only time will tell.

Until then, you can color me... evolving.


Annie in Austin said...

Purple was always a favorite, but I'm using a lot more red lately, too. So has blogging changed my personality?

Unlike you I'm not evolving. The most likely cause is that I've added plants for the hummingbirds this year, and many of them are red.

Unknown said...

Well, maybe I just like to think that I'm "evolving" because I feel so much better about myself these days? I used to feel like I was sleepwalking through life, and that's no good.

Maybe I'm hoping to become more passionate and bold, and my planting choices are unconsciously aimed toward helping me to develop and encourage those traits? Who knows, really, but it's a fun tangent to explore. :)

By the way, since you're a "Diva of Dirt," I'm thinking you're more of a passionate, feisty "red" girl than you're giving yourself credit for, Annie! *grin*

Northernlites said...

Mistress of the Black Swamp

Neither life nor gardening should be static. I applaud the changes in your garden and your life-both seem vibrant and exciting-a true reflection of you. I have long thought that gardens reflect a lot about our personalities-mine are always in some state of achieving perfection-kinda like raising kids-the work is never really done, but it looks better all the time. A friend of mine has the most orderly veggie garden-I love to look at it. I admire it really, it's extremely productive-like she is, yet every time she sends me out to pick a bowl of peas or beans a part of me also thinks-WOW-this is just TOO organized to be healthy or fun like I think gardening should be. I've worked hard to achieve balance in my life-and I hope it reflects in my garden as well-the again, I openly display my self-help books on my bookshelves and I'm not afraid to use them or my gardening books.

I'm laughing to myself because I just sent you an email that talks about how I'm going to "break free" from my normal colour choices and do a WHOLE new bed in oranges and reds. I'll have to read Stuart's blog now to see "who I am"

Unknown said...

Oh wow, Patti... the color theory definitely explains a few things about your garden, now that I connect. It makes perfect sense to me that you use so many pinks and purples because you are so sweet, nurturing, spiritual... previously, I had kind of wondered how such a bold, strong personality as you had such a pastel garden. It's beautiful, but I hadn't expected it.

Maybe there IS something to this color psychology thing--as long as you're not counting purpose-grown plants like hummingbird or butterfly magnets and edibles?

David (Snappy) said...

I dont know what my garden colours say about me.I have different colours in different borders.From green and gold, to white/orange/pink, to the pastel colours of pink red and white.Maybe im a complex character..

Stuart said...

Thanks for the "fun" tag Kim. It must be my yellow side coming out again. Great post and so honest!

David, those gnomes may be clouding the color spectrum and creating havoc with your personality identification. I'd just get rid of them...(TIC - Tongue in Cheek)

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