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How to Use this Book


The Science of Colour Evaluation


Using Colour in the Garden


Harmonies and Contrasts in Blues and Purples 12

















Common and Latin Names


Picture Credits

Gardeners are tike painters, bul with a fresh canvas available to them only once a year Borders are planned. plant and seed catalogues avidly searched and gleaned for more vibrant and longer-lasting colours, and fellow gardeners consulted. But should you or your family have a liking for flowers of certain colours - perhaps those that contrast with established plants in your garden, blend happily against colour-washed walls, or create memories of a cherished display in a wedding bouquet-then you need further help at your elbow. You need a reliable guide which clearly portrays the range of plants within a particular part of the colour spectrum, and that is the purpose ol this lavishly illustrated all-colour book.

The introductory pages explain the nature of light and colour and how different colours are measured and defined, according to their hue, value and intensity There is also useful information on the influence of shiny or matt surfaces, why some coloursare dominant and the effects ot bright sunlight and the shadows of evening Planning colour with the aid of a colour-circle is fully covered, and the concept of complementary and harmonizing colours is discussed in detail

The main section of this Creative Gardener's Guide consists of live chapters, detailing blue and purple plants in a wide range of garden settings: filling annua! and herbaceous borders adorning rock and naturalized gardens, bringing colour to window-boxes, hanging baskets troughs and other containers on patios and terraces, clothing bare walls, climbing trellises or serving as a harmonious framework to knit together the various elements of your garden design Each plant is illustrated in full colour and clearly described, including its botanical and common names, height and spread (in metric and imperial units), cultivation and propagation Within each chapter the plants are arranged alphabetically according to their botanical names. At the base of each page there are vafuable tips pn using combinations of plants to create colour-contrasts, subtle harmonies, focal points and interesting shapes and patterns Flowers suitable for home decoration are also mentioned.

At the end of the book there are two comprehensive indexes The first lists all common names, indicating if they are used in the British Isles or the United States. The second index is of botanical names, including synonyms (alternative names] The inclusion ot the latter helps you identify plants botanists have recently re-classified and given new names, which are frequently sold under their old. better-known names.

This book forms part of the successful series of Creative Gardeners Guides and is designed to help bring further colour and interest to all gardens, whatever their size and wherever ihey are. Other books In this all-colour series detail the uses of Reds and Pinks. Golds and Yellows, and Whites and Silvers, while further gardening dimensions are revealed in the Scented Garden and Vanegated Garden Each book forms a comprehensive and concise guide to a particular range of colours or garden theme, bul when formed into a colour library can benefit garden planning in a manner few other books have ever achieved f

  • Tr'-y!'^ *
  • W"
  • v r r-.'J* z • v ...

Above Cere is siliquastrum

This hardy deciduous tree is commonly known as the Judas Tree During early summer, it bears lovely nch rose-pink flowers

Above Camassia qua mash

This dramatic purple or blue flowered bulbous plant from North America bnngs colour to a border during mid-summer.


1 Cupressus glatxa Pyramidal®

2 Euonymus forlunei Emerald Gold

3 Chamaecypans Ottusa Criposu

4 Agapantnus

5 Thymus E B Anderson

6 Veronica prostrata and pelunas

7 Ipomoea wdiacea (I rutxo-caeruieaj

8 Hydrangea macrvphylla

9 Trailing lobelias and geraniums 10 Clematis montana rutins











Type of radiation INFRA-RED




Defining colour

Colours can be conceived as having three dimensions-these have been given the names hue, value and intensity.

This first dimension is the quality by which colours are basically distinguished one from another, such as yellow from red, green, blue or purple. For convenience, the colours so defined are those that are easily recognized, such as red, yellow, green, blue and violet. However, the Munsell System in North America defines the principal hues as red, yellow, green blue and purple, with intermediate ones as yellow-red. green-yellow, blue-green, purple-blue and red-purple. In reality these names do no more than define points in a continuous range of hues that form a transitional and continuous band of colour. They are best conceived as a circle of pure colour, containing no white, grey or black.

If a strip of paper with ten equal divisions is marked and coloured with the five principal and five intermediate hues of the Munsell System and held in a circle the continuous range of hues and their relationship one to another can be seen. See Diagram 2, top right


What are light and colour?

The vast range of colours we see in our gardens and homes, with their near infinite subtleties of quality, shades of light as well as intensity, can be accurately measured. But what exactly are light and colour? To state coldly and scientifically that they are forms of electromagnetic radiation clearly disregards the beauty of colour, but. technically speaking, that is its nature.

Electromagnetic radiation comes from the sun. and its range is wide, from gamma rays to low-frequency radio waves. But only a very small part of this extensive spectrum is in the form of visible light, from wavelengths at around 0-0004mm when the colour is deep violet, through blue, green, yellow, orange and red to deep red, when the waves are 00007mm. The wavelengths of purple and blue light range from 0-000492 to 0000455mm See Diagram 1 below



Wavelength in metres



Type of radiation INFRA-RED











This second dimension defines the quality by which a light colour is distinguished from a dark one This is most easily depicted an a scale using black and white as the extremes When defining the lightness or darkness within a colour, those with dark colours are called shades, while those that are light are tints. See Diagram 3. centre left. Intensity

This third dimension is also known as saturation or purity, and in North America as chroma It defines ihe strength or weakness of a colour-its brightness or greyness. For instance, purple can be highly saturated with colour, or the pigments slowly decreased to a point when it becomes dark grey. Other colours will produce similar results, but light hues such as yellow will become light grey, whereas red will become grey See Diagram 4. bottom left

Colour absorption

When sunlight falls upon coloured surfaces, a few of the colours present in the white light which contains a mixture of all wavelengths of the visible spectrum—may be absorbed by the colour and not reflected This is known as colour absorption and it tends to make primary hues, such as red, blue and yellow, more dominant

When white light talis on a white surface, most of the rays are reflected and ihe subject appears white. This, however, does not apply to ail surfaces. Blue surfaces absorb red orange and yellow rays, and scatter blue, together with green, indigo and violet. Yellow surfaces absorb the blues, indigos and violets in white light, reflecting mainly yellow as well as some green, orange and red, while red. the most colour saturated of all hues, absorbs green and blue light but reflects red

This intensification of blues, reds and yellows tends lo make them dominant Fully saturated hues reflect no more than two of the primary colours, whereas pink which is a desaturated red [a pastel shade) reflects all three of the primary colours but a greater amount o1 red than of the other two colours. See Diagram 5, below

diag s


Colour wheels



Pastel Assesments For Intermediate


Colour wheels are frequently used lo aid colour planning in the garden. When the great English scieniist Sir Isaac Newton investigated tight in the late 1600s, he made a wheel formed of seven colours [red. orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet]. During the late 1800s the American scientist A.H. Munsell researched colour assessment based on equal changes in the visual spectrum He created a colour wheel formed of five principal colours [red. yellow, green blue and purple, with intermediate ones between them). Other wheels have been created using tour colours (red. yellow, green and blue)

However, the easiest colour circle to use is formed of three basic hues [red, yellow and blue) with three secondary ones [orange, green and violet). The secondary colours are created by overlapping the basic hues.

These colour circles indicate complementary colours [those diametrically opposite) and those that harmonize with each other [those in adjacent segments) Complementary hues are those with no common pigments, while harmonizing ones share the same pigments. Therefore, it can be seen that yellow and violet, blue and orange, red and green are complementary colours, while yellow harmonizes with green and orange, blue with green and violet, and red with orange and violet

This colour-circle is formed by mixing coloured paints, by the process known as subtractive colour mixing The other method of creating colour is by projecting three separate coloured lights [red. green and blue) onto a white surface This process is known as additive colour mixing and creates colours with a different bias See Diagram 6, of a subtractive colour circle, below.






Clematis Diagram

Above Clematis mecropetala

This superb climber is ideal for a large container, where its mauve flowers, harmonizing with the green foliage, are seen to perfection

The well-known delight of shepherds to have red sky at night, indicating a fine tomorrow, results from a clear sky as the sun's rays penetrate atmospheric particles and the air molecules themselves Even though the sky appears blue, the rays become redder because blue light is not created but scattered out of white light This change to the violet end of the spectrum makes dark colours even darker. Blues and especially purples are made darker, while whites and yellows are not so dramatically affected. Conversely, bright sunshine glaring down at midday highlights light colours more than dark ones, such as blues and purples

Shiny and matt surfaces

The surface texture of a leaf, flower or stem influences the reflected light and its effect on the eye A smooth surface reflects light at the same angle a! which the light hits it This makes the light purer in colour than the same light reflected from a matt surface There the irregularities of the surface scatter the reflected light and create an impression of dullness. Another effect of different surface texture is that smooth surfaces appear darker and matt ones lighter. In Nature, however, few plant surfaces are as smooth as glass, and the scattering of reflected light occurs from mosi of them. See Diagram 7. below

Below Aubrieia The vibrant colour ol this wall plant creates a dramatic effect above a planting of orange flowers

Above Clematis mecropetala

This superb climber is ideal for a large container, where its mauve flowers, harmonizing with the green foliage, are seen to perfection


The evening factor


Ranging from delicate pure pale blues to deep purples, bright and beautiful is the key to the treasure-house of plants in this book. As a group it is rhododendrons that create much of the spring and summer blue shrub colour. The range of these shrubs is wide from the dwarf Rhododendron impeditum, 15-45cm (6in-r;;ft) high and with pale mauve to purple-blue flowers, through the 90cm-1 5m (3-5fl)high Blue Diamond', with lavender-blue flowers to Rhododendron augustinii\ 1 8-3m [6-1 Oft) high and with mauve to dark blue flowers during late spring.

There are several groups of plants whose mere mention immediately conjures up images of massed blue These include bolh shrubs and herbaceous perennials The evergreen or deciduous ceanothus shrubs from North America (chiefly California) always bring a strong burst of blue for borders or walls. And like many other plants they are often best seen in combinations For example, Ceanothus x Cascade, with arching branches bearing small rich blue early summer flowers rises to 3m (10ft) on a wall and can be co-habited with the Mountain Clematis ClemaH's montana Use the form Wilsonii" with large white flowers If the rounded evergreen Mexican Orange Blossom shrub Choisya ternata, with orange-scented foliage and ftowers, is set in front of them they form a superb trio of scent and colour

Delphiniums and asters are among the best known blue herbaceous plants The tall, stately delphiniums are not easily merged into a border and are so distinctive that they are best treated as tall islands of blue spires amid other herbaceous plants The asters, however, have such a varied height range from Aster alpinus at 15cm (6m) high with purple-blue daisy-like flowers, to the 90cm (31t) semi-double Michaelmas Daisy Aster novi-belgn Eventide with violet-blue flowers in late summer Between them are several other asters, including Aster amellus Goethe at 45-60cm (1 '¿-2ft). with pale mauve-blue flowers.

Blue Berries and Fruits

Here is a selection of superb blue-berried plants

Callicarpa bodinieri giraldii

A beautiful deciduous shrub with lilac-coloured flowers during late summer followed by pale violei purple or dark lilac berries

Clerodendron trlctiotomum

A bushy, though sometimes open deciduous shrub with turquoise-blue berries in autumn; for lighter blue berries try the form C t largest!

Viburnum davidit

Height 75cm-1m C2&-3teft)

A distinctive evergreen shrub with 5-7 5cm (2-3in) wide flat neads of while flowers in mid-summer, lollowed by turquoise-blue berries, both male and lemale plants must be present tor the production of berries jgu - CP' n

Decaisnea targesii

A deciduous shrub with large 60-90cm (2-3 ft] long leaves formed of thirteen to twenty-five leaflets; the mid-summer yellow-green flowers are followed by metallic-blue broad-bean-llke fruits, 7 5-10cm (3-4m] long and 1'8cm (^irt) wide

Perovskia Atriplicifolla

Above: Perovskia atriplicifolla

The violet-blue /lower spikes of this hardy perennial dominate the centre ol this predominantly blue herbaceous border

Herbacious Borders From Above

Above: Aster thompsonii nanus

This lovely 20cm (¿in] high rock garden plant produces masses of star-like lavender blue flowers set off by grey-green leaves


1 Picea pungens Tliomsen'

2 Pinus sylvestris Aurea

3 Picea pungens Globosa'

4 Hydrangea rnacroplr/lla

5 Salix x chrysocoma

6 Cotinus coggygria NotcutfS Variety

7 Robirm pseudoacacia 'Fnsia'

8 Chamaecypan; lawsoniana 'Columnaris

9 Cetiws deodara Golden Horizon1 WJtlnipenJS chinensis 'Pyramidal is

Diseases Pinus Pungens Square Foot Gardening Greenhouse

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Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.

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