Scheming color….

blue greens to blues to purplesIn the last post “Wheeling Color”, we looked at rainbows of color and the challenges of a multi-color scheme in a flower arrangement.  Easier to work with are monochromatic, analogous and complementary color schemes.

Sydney Eddison book

2002 Sydney Eddison
McGraw Hill

In her 2002 book, “The Gardener’s Palette” (Contemporary Books, McGraw Hill, with photographs by Steve Silk) Sydney Eddison explores the complex relationships of color vis a vis the garden and its plants.  She is a natural teacher and her experiments with color in her garden, or with her painted garden furniture which she changes hourly, are a witty guide for all designers, whether garden or floral.

Sydney Eddison Color Whee;

The Color Wheel Company

The Gardener’s Color Wheel”, above, was developed by Sydney Eddison for The Color Wheel Company,, at the time of the book’s publication   The Color Wheel Company has a large variety of color wheels for gardeners, artists, interior decorators and other folk in many types and sizes from pocket to wall.  Take a look.

all green designFlower shows often call for designs with monochromatic color schemes.  This design from a previous New England Flower Show highlights the textures and forms of only green plant material.  Every tone and tint of green is utilized in this dramatic composition with its manipulated leaves and stems.  The curving green calla lily is stunning.  Notice how the warm orange background makes this winner sing even louder.

Monochromatic design in pinkFull blown peonies and Stargazer lilies create an all pink color scheme.  In flower show parlance, some green is considered an acceptable neutral and does not compromise the scheme. The bottom of the design (waiting for buds to open) does not interfere with the scheme, or does it?

complementary red and greenComplementary colors sit across from each other on the color wheel.  This kind of scheme adds a dramatic intensity to a design.  Red anthurium, gloriosa lilies, and mini callas are set off by the fresh greens of phormium and Spider mums.  Red and green complements are surely one of the favorite schemes for creating eye-catching tension.  This diagonal design by The Editor (at the first flowerflinging Camp) shows mastery of form as well as color.

design at Ladew GardensThis daring complementary design features the reddish purples, lavendars and violets, which sit across the wheel from yellow greens, and greenish yellows.  The scheme, indeed the whole design, was inspired by the hot dog eggplants (probably unknown to Linnaeus) and the cabbage stems, just visible on the left.  It was created at Ladew Topiary Gardens in Maryland by the Little Dumpling.

Smooth and shiny designMama Nature delights in complementary schemes in her flowers.  This Obake anthurium is a scheme in itself and in the sure hands of The Nominator, a sinuous design wraps itself around the container.

tawny orange designAnalogous colors sit side-by-side-by-side on the color wheel. Using three to five colors, one can create such a scheme as does the designer of this modern mass arrangement.  Red-orange to yellow flowers are used, plus the brick color of the container.  Going one step further, the background color is blue, orange’s complement, making the color look even stronger.

Orange and black in TexasIn Texas more red-oranges in vibrant anthurium contrast with black painted plant material to create a strong interpretation of the painting to the right.  Even the stanchion (lower left) looks part of the whole design.

Duo containersSprightly yellow duo containers are linked by a bridge of tropical flowers in analogous colors.  Anthurium, croton leaves, orange gloriosa lilies with some dark anthurium are enjoined by costos sticks.  What colors do you fancy?




About Susan

Susan Detjens is a former landscape painter, she lectures, demonstrates and runs workshops on floral design for museums, horticultural organizations and garden clubs across the US.
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