Get ahead with colour for your perfect garden
Can the colour and shape of plants in the garden change the way you feel? You’d better believe it.
Top garden designer Tom Massey has researched which plants are exciting and stimulating and which are calming to plan his Perennial Sanctuary Garden for the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show in July.
Tom says: “Different forms and textures can be visually exciting and stimulating, but if you have one single species it can create a calming, restful environment.”
At the outer edge of his showpiece, the vibrant red colours will represent the inner chaos that can come from being at crisis point. As the visitor takes the journey into the garden following a winding gravel path, sounds from outside the garden fade.
The planting becomes taller and more immersive and the colour scheme moves through stimulating yellows and oranges to more restful purples, blues and finally, pure green.
Towards the middle of the design the planting is simplified, leading to a calm sanctuary at the centre of the garden. Here the planting changes to a single species of towering bamboo that screens the outside world, creating a safe haven and place for peaceful reflection, hidden from view.
But you don’t have to create a show garden to generate a positive atmosphere in your outside space. The use of a particular palette to generate a mood can be replicated in many gardens, says Londonbased Tom.
“Red is a very stimulating colour – it’s eye-catching, it can mean passion, danger and warning, but ultimately it’s an exciting colour,” says Massey, who uses Sanguisorba Tanna, Crocosmia Hellfire and Panicum virgatum Shenandoah to energise and uplift in his own show garden. “Red comes to the fore if you want a vibrant bed.”
Orange hues spark enthusiasm, fascination, happiness and creativity, combining the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. If you prefer an orange palette, you might try Achillea millefolium Terracotta and Kniphofia uvaria Nobilis.
Yellow is the colour of sunshine, associated with joy, happiness and intellect and produces a warming effect, arousing cheerfulness and stimulating mental activity, says Tom. It’s an optimistic, positive colour and plants in this band include Helianthus annuus and Inula helenium.
Purple is associated with wisdom and dignity. Plants in this band include Veronicastrum virginicum Fascination and Miscanthus Purpurascens. Lilac and lavender shades also have a restful quality. Blue is often associated with depth and stability, symbolising trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence and calm. Plants in this band include Panicum virgatum Heavy Metal and Phlox Blue Paradise.
At the centre of Tom’s garden, is the screen of towering bamboo. The colour palette is pure green, the colour of nature, representing growth, harmony, freshness, stability and endurance.
Green has healing power, it is the most restful colour and it has strong emotional correspondence with safety and sanctuary.
The Perennial Sanctuary Garden will be shown at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show from Monday, July 3, to Sunday, July 9
Kniphofia in bloom