by Cam Oddie, Peninsula Landscape Supplies –
With the summer season upon us, it’s the perfect time to add some colour to your pots. I thought it would be interesting to bring some colour theory into this missive as there are so many different choices when visiting the nursery.
The primary colours are blue, yellow and red. Those mixed together give the complementary colours. Red + blue = purple; yellow + blue = green; red + yellow = orange. The complementary colours combined with the primary colours give an interesting effect. I would say they “pop.” Yellow and blue are a nice combination, but blue and orange are a far more eye-catching combination. For example, you could try some trailing blue lobelia around the rim of your pots and some orange marigolds in the center. This would make a stunning colour combination at your front door.
Let’s not forget black and white. White is technically the inclusion of all colours, so it generally goes with everything. White mixed with red gives pink, and some folks do love pink. I personally find that too much pink against red is unattractive, but I am merely talking about colour. Everyone has their favourites.
Black is the exclusion of colour. There are few truly black plants. Most that are called black are usually a deep purple, or blue. There are exceptions such as certain cultivatars of elderberry, and black mondo grass (ophiopogon planiscapus). Imagine a mass planting of black mondo grass (low growing) surrounding a red flowering azalea. POP! Green against black most of the year then a shot of red.
Since we are discussing colour and flowers, it should be noted that phosphorus is the general flowering ingredient in your fertilizer mix. N-P-K are the three numbers you will see displayed on any bag of fertilizer. The numbers represent a percentage by volume of available macro nutrients. N is nitrogen, P is phosphorous and K is potassium. High phosphorus = high flowering. I still like a balanced fertilizer such as Nutricote 14-14-14, or a water-soluble fertilizer like Plant Prod 20-20-20. Gaia Green is an organic fertilizer and comes in a mellow 4-4-4. It does not have as much punch as the more traditional fertilizers, but it is definitely an alternative fertilizer to consider applying, especially if you plan to incorporate any edibles into your floral display.
If you are interested in colour theory, go and get yourself a colour wheel, which will give you all the colour combinations. It’s handy for designing your perennial/annual display, making your flower arrangements or, for painting your living room.
I hope this information has helped add an additional creative variable to your planting choices. Wishing you a vibrant and colourful garden this year!