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The colours of springtime


I was really surprised to hear Gardeners World describe blue as the colour of the moment last night. Dont get me wrong, I love blue flowers, really really love them and really enjoyed SpritzHenry’s recent blog “Singin’ the Blues!!”.

But they are so far from being the full story. After all some of the quintessential early flowers: daffodils, celandines and dandelions are a bright uniform gold, as are the essential spring shrubs: kerria and forsythia.

See what I mean? Don’t the forget me nots look better for a few naughty celandines sneaking in!

Then of course there is green – not just any green but the colour of an unfolding hazel leaf: the colour that makes you want to wrap up and go out even when it’s still cold. I was thinking this last night and then, satisfied that I had a good spring palette, I stopped musing and started concentrating on the programme again.

Then today when I actually went out into the garden I noticed that other essential spring colour: wine red.

I love the colour of fresh rose leaves: even if they never bloomed at all they would still have something worth offering, but many other plants share this strange habit of bursting forth with red leaves.

One of the paeonies that I brought from the last garden does it too, as does our Acer (Palmatum Dissectum Purpureum I think – now there’s a mouthful),

and the new crab apple that we have bought for the front garden (Malus Moerlandsii). I’m going to blog about this lovely crab apple in more detail when the blossom comes out as I have seriously high hopes for it.

And right at the bottom of the garden in the dense shade is a collection of red ferns which I am really looking forward to tracking as they grow up (name anyone?)

This red leaf effect appears to be a purely garden phenomenon – I can’t think of any wild flowers that show red in their leaves – though red campion might be a candidate.

I dont know why this happens, but I’ve noticed with aquilegia that the colour of the overall plant is a good guide as to the colour of the eventual flower, with white flowers giving a particularly crisp green and purple seeping right through the plant.

Of course there are lots of other beautiful colours in the garden – not to mention white – but to my mind these colours together create quite a sophisticated palette that really clearly says spring, and they work much better together than they do on their own.

I’m not a great fan of the gardening books that give you a colour wheel and expect that to help you. To my mind it is the mood that matters. If you are in outback Australia the colours are a beautiful orange and pink from the rock and bougainvillea, but an English springtime for me is hazel green, gold, bluebell blue and wine red.

Right so that’s sorted, I’ll just have to work out how to learn to paint with my new palette now!

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couldn`t agree more sarah and lovely photos

24 Apr, 2010


I suppose if I think of spring colours its yellows for primroses and all the daffodils and the lovely green of newly unfurled leaves there are lots of lovely colours just a bit later but that does it for me :o)

24 Apr, 2010


Ps lovely photo's --

24 Apr, 2010


Beautiful photos, Sarah, I agree on the Spring colours, plus the different shades of pink on all the blossom. How's the ankle now ? : o )

24 Apr, 2010


Great photos Sarah!

24 Apr, 2010


Great blog Sarah
can tell you have time to spare with your leg up to work all that out.

24 Apr, 2010


Thanks Guys - the leg is getting a lot better now: I am pottering around the garden weeding and doing the occasional bit of watering, but can't manage to dig at all which is frustrating.

@Megan - I went off pink big time a couple of years ago when I stopped keeping a careful rein on the colours in my garden - I found that the easiest flowers to grow were all pink and within six months every thing looked like a baby girls nursery and it got a little sugary for my tastes, but I agree that one needs a little pink every now and then!

24 Apr, 2010


Well, that's my way of thinking too, I even bought Cosmos seeds in White this year, not pink ! Have some Dianthus (Pinks) so I may move them and just keep one part of the garden dotted with pink. Blues and Yellows are to the fore now. Glad you're on the mend.

24 Apr, 2010


Snap - I bought Cosmos purity and sowed it yesterday, both in a pot indoors and out in the border in the mad hope it might find its own way out there.

25 Apr, 2010


I don`t think I really have a favourite colour flower if I`m honest Sarah. One moment I prefer `hot` colours and the next it`s pastels. For me its getting the right balance thats important. Lovely photos. :o)

25 Apr, 2010


I like a mixture of colours. I find if I keep to one colour I get fed up with it. I enjoyed your photos too

25 Apr, 2010

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