Mauve and purple are indispensable colours in the garden, softening strong colours or playing a leading role among pastels.

Johannesburg - Gardening becomes more enjoyable and fun when you explore the many ways of using colour in the garden.

Choosing the colour of plants for your garden is like decorating your outdoor rooms with designer paints. Pink works well with most colours, blue gives a feeling of coolness and tranquillity, orange and red are exciting, yellow adds a touch of sunshine, purple adds depth and shadows and green unifies a garden.

Pink shades gives a garden a happy, relaxed atmosphere where butterflies and bees visit and children love to play. Pastel pink is gentle and restful when used with powder blue and lavender, fresh with shades of green or silver-grey, and dramatic in plum.

Use clusters of lipstick pink flowers to draw attention to an entrance or flight of steps, plant pink and deep blue petunias in cobalt blue pots for impact on a patio or entrance. Add a touch of chocolate in the form of dark-leafed Heuchera “Palace Purple” or cinnamon-centred echinacea with dusty pink petals, and don’t overlook the value of lettuce with wine-coloured leaves.

Rose-pink alyssum and mauve ageratum work well with silvery-grey foliage of santolina, catmint and lavender. Violet-pink vinca and red-purple verbena are striking with lime-green foliage such as Duranta “Sheena’s Gold”.

Blue flowers create an illusion of shadows in the landscape. Misty blue and lavender-blue, woven through other colours, are gentle and soothing and help unify a garden, but tend to disappear in the distance. All shades of blue blend well with soft pastels and silver-grey.

You might prefer a grouping of blue felicia daisies with rosemary bushes and miniature yellow roses to provide year-round interest. Continue this colour scheme with dwarf lemon marigolds, lemon petunias and miniature blue agapanthus, a treasure trove for summer gardens.

Mauve and purple are indispensable colours in the garden, softening strong colours or playing a leading role among pastels. Mauve is pretty with pink, striking with lime-green, and creates gentle shadows among lemon flowers; purple adds depth to pastels, can be used as an accent, or is dramatic with red.

Mauve and apricot make a pretty picture. Choose mauve and apricot roses, fill in with lavender bushes, Plectranthus “Mona Lavender” and heliotrope, and finish with clusters of linaria and under-plantings of catmint.

Purple is striking with red roses. Combine with purple hebe, giant statice (Limonium perezii), purple-blue Salvia farinacea “Victoria”, red dianthus and dwarf New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax).

You might decide to plant part of the garden in shades of woodland green to give a feeling of coolness and tranquillity. Arching asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus), rounded leaves of hostas and the smoothness of arum leaves are just some of the many shapes and textures that can add interest.

Yellow is a joyful colour, bringing light and vitality to a garden. Depending on the intensity in which it is used, it can add a luminous quality and lighten up dark places. Clear yellow will anchor a pastel colour scheme and add richness to bold colours. It can be the main player in a border, play a secondary role, or be used boldly as an accent colour.

Orange and red are the extroverts of the flower world: exciting, dramatic and stimulating.

A border where red dominates is best viewed at close range. There are many perennials and annuals in shades of red, such as velvety red snapdragons, satiny red dahlias and sultry red day lilies. Red flowers in combination with copper and bronze foliage have a rich and opulent appearance.

Try tangerine day lilies with dark red dahlias, cinnamon gazania with orange bulbine, strelitzia and orange-red crocosmia with blue agapanthus. - Saturday Star