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 Gardening with Colour

Selecting colour combinations


Colour is probably the single most powerful garden design factor.


Experimenting with annuals

Annual flowering plants are the fastest least expensive, most satisfying way to achieve quantities of garden colour. Almost every colour, shade, and tint is available in annuals.


Colour wheel

A colour wheel is a diagramatic way of showing relationships between colours. Colours on the right side of the wheel are warm. Colours on the left side are cool. Colors adjacent to one another are analogous. Opposite colours are complementary.


What is important to gardeners, is how colours clash with or complement one another and the distinction between warm and cool colours.


Gardening with colour

With a wide selection of annual flower colours available, you can change your colour scheme from year to year. To create visually appealing and alluring gardens you must know how to effectively combine colours. The distinction between warm and cool colours is important to the gardener for several reasons. Here are some tips for selecting your colour combinations.

Annual colours


Cool and warm colours

Cool colours are good for close up viewing and warm colours are good for more dramatic displays in your garden.


To the eye, cool colours tend to recede, and warm colours tend to advance. In practice, this means that cool coloured flowers at the far end of your garden will seem to disappear and warm colours will stand out.


Planting warm coloured annuals around a warm area will make it seem even hotter. However, if you plant with plenty of cool green, blue, violet, and pastel colours, the area won't actually be any cooler, but it will seem so and be a more inviting place.


Be careful of cool and warm colour combinations. If your garden is primarily cool coloured, a mass of flame orange zinnias in the background would divert attention from the more subtle colours in the foreground and disrupt the harmonious effect.


To experiment on a small scale, plant combinations in pots or containers. Or, plant one kind in each pot and move the pots around until you find combinations that you like.

Gardening with colour

Seasonal plants and flowers

Fernlea grows flowers and plants for all seasons. Choose a category below to see what is available and to find lots of growing and plant care tips.



Annual Plants and Flowers

Container Gardens

Autumn Flowers

Trailing Vines

Red Star Spikes

Rio Dipladenias



Tips and ideas for your garden

Here are some quick links within our site to help you with your gardening.



Selecting Colours

Plant Disease

Plant Pests and Insects

Deer Repellents

Plant Nutrients

Sun vs. Shade Plants

Hardiness Zone Map

Horticultural Glossary

Soil Smarts

Weed Control


Colourful gardens Colourful gardens



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