Pots of colour

If there is one thing guaranteed to brighten your day it’s looking out the window at a garden filled with stunning flowers, such an immediate mood improver! Planting potted colour is the quickest way to get instant colour and just by adding colour to your garden it can feel refreshed with the minimum of work.

Pots and containers are made for potted colour, so it is easy to plant a different colour scheme every season. They are not just for the deck though, put your pots wherever colour is needed. Especially those difficult areas in the garden where the drainage or soil is not up to scratch.

The plant choices are of course yours but when it comes to colour there are a few rules to make it work well. Using colour correctly can affect the eye and influence the final design. So, before you buy take some time to view your garden critically and pin point the areas that need colour. Think about what you want to emphasise and what needs hiding. Consider how you can play up or tone down existing trees and shrubs by offsetting their colours and then use the colour rules to your advantage.

  • Bright colours will make distant areas appear closer, but they do need a touch of a cooler colour to rest the eye and stop them from completely taking over.
  • For drama use colours that are directly opposite on the colour wheel but keep the colour intensity in mind. A bright colour needs to be paired with an equally bright shade of the opposite colour.
  • For a more subtle look, use colours that are adjacent to each other on the colour wheel.
  • Purple is the new black! As it goes with everything. It compliments and enhances other colours and you only need a little when used as an accent. It tones down hot colours or you can use all shades of purple with a touch of white, for a restful combo. Plant lighter purple in the shade and darker in sunnier areas or pair with soft grey foliage for a softer look.
  • If you are mixing blue, orange or yellow, use more blue than the other colours. It will highlight them better.
  • Grade colours if you are using shades of one colour, planting the strongest colour shade next to where you want the eye to focus.
  • Orange is a spotlight colour drawing your eye to an area you want to be noticed.
  • In a sunny garden use hotter stronger colours, as pastels are often overpowered in the hot sun.

Even with all those rules it is important to remember, that however you choose to mix your colours, there is no such thing as wrong, as long as it makes you smile.

They way your plant can also make a difference, gone are the days of uniform rows of flowers with gaps of soil in between. Now we prefer our plants to blend in to each other for a more free form look – it keeps the weeds out too. Mimic nature by planting in large drifts, they will grow together, a single plant gets lost visually. Plant in odd numbers and close together, they are annuals and only here for a season so make the most of them.

Make a loud strong statement by repeating your planting drifts especially along a border. Choose one main colour and break it up with a touch of contrast. This type of planting works well in shady areas, where there are fewer choices for low light gardens.

Handy hints

  • When planting potted colour in pots try grouping your pots together for stronger visual impact. It creates a more unified effect and with a group there is always something in flower. Pot shapes, colour and design can fall out of fashion, grouping them together can hide that pot you no longer like or it can take on a new life when it is has company.
  • Fill in any gaps in between your shrubs with potted colour, it will help keep out the weeds while you wait for the shrub to grow.
  • Mix your potted colour with your perennials, the mix of flowering times will ensure that there is always some colour happening.
  • Look out for the self seeding annuals they will give you more flowers for next season with no effort or cost.
  • Remember to stagger the heights, tallest at the back, low growers at the front. Although it’s not a hard and fast rule, it is a good one to follow if you are new to gardening.