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Garden Colours And You

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Have you ever thought about what your favourite garden colours say about your personality? Celebrity plantsman Chris Collins and TV fashion expert Mark Heyes have teamed up with the Horticultural Trades Association to find out how plant colours can affect your moods, and how to match colour schemes with your personality. Some 80% of people admit their moods are positively affected when surrounded by colourful plants, according to research from PlantforLife, an HTA initiative which aims to help people get the most out of their garden. Yet more than a fifth wished they could be braver and have the confidence to experiment with colour.

“Planting hot colours creates an exciting and intense mood, while opting to plant cooler colours can radiate feelings of restfulness and calm,” explains Blue Peter gardener Collins.

Most people think colour is important in the garden, yet 76% of people don’t think about the way in which colours can work together or about the colours they are planting, the research found.

PlantforLife has produced Colour Me, Colour My Garden - a guide that matches personalities with colours. It applies concepts and ideas used in fashion and colour-consulting to the garden so that people can create one using colours that truly reflect them.

Here is the expert’s guide to which personality you really are:

Romantic
You love life and see the good in everything. Swaying towards pinks and pastels, creams and ivories. Your palette might include the shrub Fuchsia ‘Tom Thumb’, which flowers throughout the summer in a sunny border and looks good surrounded by pink roses or poet’s jasmine (Jasmine officinale). Other choices for the romantic could include Magnolia grandiflora ‘Exmouth’, an impressive cream-flowered shrub, underplanted with bluebells.

Vivacious
You are confident and bubbly. You like bold colours including azure, tangerine, coral and cobalt blue. Suitable plantings would be French marigold (Tagetes ‘Safari Tangerine’) with zebra grass or plantain lily, and Grace Ward (Lithodora diffusa), an evergreen which produces masses of bright blue flowers in summer and is perfect cascading over walls, planted near Anemone hupehensis ‘September Charm’, which produces soft pink flowers in late summer, and sea holly with its blue hues.

Mysterious
You lean towards deep reds and aubergines, metallics and splashes of vibrant purple. Good plantings for you might include the rich blue perennial Delphinium ‘Blue Nile’ with the lantern tree (Crinodendron hookerianum), an evergreen shrub which has dark, glossy green leaves and red flowers hanging from its branches. The blues of viola and larkspur would also suit your colour palette, along with the silver-grey foliage of mugwort (Artemisia ‘Powys Castle’) and the reddish purple hues of the smoke bush (Cotinus ‘Grace’).

Sultry
Your favourite colour is black but you also like subtle, soft shades of charcoal and stony taupes. There will be statement colours such as red to add pizzazz to your planting schemes. Good choices for you include lilyturf (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’), known for its grass-like black leaves in the summer, lilac flowers and black fruits, providing stunning colour contrast with the annual Scotch marigold (calendula), with its dark orange, daisy-like flowers, which needs full sun to be at its best. A Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) such as ‘Bloodgood’ may also feature in the sultry personality’s garden scheme, with its deep red leaves which turn a brilliant red in the autumn. Don’t plant it in direct sunlight as the leaves burn easily.

Best of the bunch - Cosmos
These pretty annuals are simple to grow from seed and provide masses of saucer-sized daisy-like flowers above feathery foliage in summer, acting as terrific fillers in borders and making great cut flowers. They come in many colours, from white to pink and red, and can grow to around 6ft (1.8m) so many types need staking. There’s also, of course, the now-famous Cosmos atrosanguineus, a chocolate-scented, bronze-flowered tender perennial which is often grown in borders alongside deep red dahlias and sizzling orange crocosmias. Cosmos prefer moist but well-drained soil in full sun. Regular deadheading will promote a longer flowering season, which can last from June to October. Good choices include ‘Gazebo Mixed’, featuring large blooms in velvet red, rose-pink and pure white, Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Dazzler’ (carmine). Look out for Cosmos ‘Chocamocha’, a new compact form of chocolate cosmos.

The full Colour Me, Colour My Garden guide can be downloaded free from:

www.plantforlife.info/colour