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Different shades of same color

M. G. Gallagher

EAGLE COUNTY – The Gallaghers have a nice real-life Colorado history. A large family growing up in a small mining town in this state leaves some nice history and stories. I laugh when I delve into immigration arguments. I think that my great grandfather was an “undocumented” worker. He crossed the border illegally through Canada, starting in northern Ireland. We’ve talked about my dad’s art, and the mention to the colors of our surroundings. We’ve talked about combining colors. Every now and then in this column appear the mention of color clashes, colors out of place, the confetti effect, and so on.Simplicity for the sake of making gardening easier has come up before, but it is also a useful strategy for color planning. You don’t need a lot of different colors to have a nice effect. Some plantings are very attractive, and only use a limited color selection. Even one or two in a location or spot can look fine.Using different shades of a theme color is legitimate. Picture delphiniums, siberian iris, and forget-me-nots together. There are plenty of plant choices to use around main colors, and makes for a really interesting and attractive look.Back to the color clash syndrome. Sometimes gardens may be colorful and bright, but something isn’t clicking. One possibility is that colors within the planting don’t work well with each other. Yep. It’s common.Colorful and bright doesn’t necessarily mean attractive. Sometimes things do conflict, or look out of place. Sensory overload only works in certain places.Plainly, some colors don’t go together. I suppose that those who know how to put their wardrobe outfits together are good at planning landscape color.Individual colors have an effect, both with each other and on their own.Rather than wax philosophical and theoretical, we’ll talk real colors.Space allows us to start with one that surrounds us at this time of year.Yellow is more important than many realize. It’s a strong color, can be bright, and is common in the flower realm.But yellow can be addressed easily. First, think of it has having two groups. Think of sulfur yellow and golden yellow, for example, moonshine yarrow versus a golden blackeyed Susan.Certainly there is some gray area as the range of one approaches the other. Yellow anthemis daisies dip into the start of the golden side, yet still affect us as true yellow. Lemon yellow is bright, but isn’t golden.Why does it matter? In general, they have a different effect on the eye. They also combine with surrounding colors differently. Ideally, each has different colors it combines well with.Think of the two general ranges as two different colors when planning.Golden yellow is actually a strong color, but brings a different mood. It can be said that it should be used carefully. I actually often prefer to use orange instead of golden yellow.The other realm, the paler center yellows and the more sulfury shades, both bright and pastel, are just a great choice for lots of locations. They work well with blues, green – background and foliage, white, brown, and more.They also really brighten up shaded and part-shade areas. You can also use the single simple color strategy by using different shades of yellow together.Moonbeam coreopsis, moonshine yarrow, and sulfur umbrella flower all look great everywhere they are used.We’ll look at more color and combinations before the season’s over.M.G. Gallagher writes a column on gardening and landscaping for the Daily.


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