In The Garden This Week: Clashing Colours

Royal blue and orange, canary yellow and purple, candy pink and red, fresh lime and magenta – our coastal garden is packed with clashing colours during August. I love, cherish and celebrate them all. Whether the combinations are technically right or a little bit wrong, who cares? They are fleeting moments that perhaps only I will experience. I share them with you in the spirit of openness, not to attract ridicule but to demonstrate what fun playing with colour can be. My only tip is that green is a great neutraliser. Use plenty of it and your colours will sing, like notes on a sheet of music paper.

(I hope you enjoy my homespun video. I am hoping practice will eventually make perfect. For now Monty Don’s job is safe.)

Dahlia 'Firepot', Salvia patens, The Watch House, August 2015

The Watch House garden, August 2015

Dahlia 'Firepot', Salvia patens, The Watch House, August 2015

The Watch House garden, August 2015

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21 thoughts on “In The Garden This Week: Clashing Colours

  1. Very Hampton Court! Just taken a visitor around the palace and was surprised to see ‘clashing’ colours in the gardens. Certainly creates an impression.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thank you for sharing, soooo beautiful… and these are not clashing colours, they are contrasting colours. I was thinking, your plants look so healthy, how do achieve it? You have no pests or diseases?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh but I do! Pests and diseases love our warm sheltered garden. Vine weevils and capsid bugs are my arch enemies right now. They are causing havoc and I seem unable to exterminate them. My main defence is helping the plants grow big and strong so they can fight back themselves. More foliage means that the munched bits don’t show! I am glad you find the colours beautiful to look at. Even when things don’t quite work out I can appreciate the individual colours rather than the combinations I’ve forced them into.


  2. Whoa! Brilliant video. I love the hedychiums. Still waiting for mine to bloom, I think I must have a late variety, sometimes into October. There is nothing wrong with clashing colours, a garden should be fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. H. ‘Tara’ is still a long way from flowering, October sounds about right, and ‘Stephen’ will probably send up more flower spikes later if I am lucky. It’s good to have something to look forward to 🙂


  3. Hi;
    Your garden looks gorgeous, and everything is in such good health, well nourished. Rich pinks and oranges are a favourite combination of mine, especially with some burgundy mixed in.

    I love ‘clashing’, exuberant, joyous, happy, OTT colurs in our gardens, they are fun! Bless Christo and his garden kin, and keep the style police away! Though having said that, I am also a fan of ‘green’ shade planting and I can and do admire those who can be clever and restrained. VSW’s white garden is one of my favourite places ever if I can catch it at the right time of year. But I have decided that I will not suffer any disdain (and they can be rather snotty) from those who are pedantic about monochrome restraint. Has this become too much of a trend? Or is it a welcome element that feeds into the wonderful variety that we find in our gardens, whether one plants with restraint, or floriferous exuberance.

    We holiday in the south of France on occasion, and I returned from one trip a few years ago with the car stuffed up with plants in all the bright colours that I fell in love with there. I was a little worried that they would not ‘fit’ in our less sunny East Sussex climate, but I think that they have and I have became something of an addict. My feeling for intense complimentary colour has not faded since. When we get some heat it is wonderful. If we are missing the sun, rich colour offers some spirit lifting brilliance.

    Sorry, kind of rambled on. Hard not to when thinking of gardens, and your blog is such a good read!


    1. Thank you. I am so pleased you are enjoying the blog.

      I agree that it’s tempting to believe strong colours belong in countries with hotter climates or brighter light, but actually a little bit of shade or light cloud makes vibrant colours even more intense. Luxuriant green is, and always will be, the backbone of both our gardens. I’d rather have ample foliage as a background than bare earth. However, with two small but very exuberant gardens I do have to be mindful of space, or lack of it. During the year so much open space is consumed by plants it can become difficult to move about, which is no fun for anyone. Only this weekend our house guests, who had not been to see us for three years, commented “it’s just as we remember it, only there used to be a lot more space to walk around”. Oh dear!


  4. The garden looks lovely.
    I don’t buy into the clashing colour theory in nature (for my own garden anyway…not clients’ ones).
    It reminds me of the old adage ‘blue and green should never be seen unless there is a colour in-between’ – which is of course ridiculous, as every time you look to the horizon you see green trees against a blue sky, so our surely our entire planet isn’t ‘bad taste’? :-).

    Liked by 1 person

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