Calming colours

In his gardening column, Allan Jenkins has recently written about the colours he is using in his garden this summer, which he calls ‘candy colours’. He describes petunias and pelargoniums brightly clashing. ‘In these fearful, difficult days it seems I am cheered by childish colours’. By contrast, a friend has said that she is using a lot of white in her garden this summer, which she feels is calming in these uncertain times. I too am using a lot of pastels this summer, mainly in pots, as later in the year the dahlias will be providing bright splashes of colour.

VV Clematis Fleuri and Bijou
Trailing Clematis Fleuri and Bijou in a pot
VVPetunia Lime Green
Petunia Lime Green, and a scented Lupin

Colour is a funny thing as I have written before. Dahlias were considered ‘vulgar’ by some people at one time, but are enjoying a renaissance as they are promoted by Monty Don, Sarah Raven and of course Christopher Lloyd and Fergus Garrett who have been using them to great effect at Great Dixter for many years. Nothing can match that eye-popping brightness of these fabulous plants. CABAHS members, Alex and Joe had some lovely colour clashes in their front garden last year!

But this year, for me, a limited palette will suit. I remember one year at the Chelsea Flower Show the overwhelming impression from a large number of the show gardens was that green was the dominant colour. It was remarkably soothing.

VV Green at Chelsea
Andy Sturgeon’s Chelsea garden, all the greens


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