The color combination of blue and orange reminds me of noisy kiddie toys, of hard molded plastic waiting room chairs, of harshly lit 1970s fast-food restaurants trying unsuccessfully to look modern and friendly, or of jerseys for some high school football team. With two colors screaming at each other from opposite sides of a color wheel, it’s not a combination that brings me a lot of joy or peace.
But spring is here, and part of the far back yard has been blooming away. Its main colors are–you guessed it–blue and orange, mainly hot orange California poppies and sky blue flowers of nemophilia, baby blue eyes.
As much as I generally don’t love these colors together, it’s hard for me not to like this little zone of perky chaos.
Even the blue flowers against the brick hardscape reinforces the blue and orange (or blue and orange-red) colors.
But in a garden you hardly every have two strong flower colors alone. The varieties of leaf green serve as peacemakers, separating the warring colors and injecting their own shades into the garden color palette. Other secondary leaf or flower colors help the enrich the palette and keep the peace.
From some angles a softer blue-gray provides a background to the hot orange flowers. Here the foliage is the now-common chalk fingers, Senecio mandraliscae. It’s still a blue and orange theme, but the blue is less emphatic and the orange is permitted to dominate.
Little pockets of cool-colored plants provide areas of visual rest. Here’s baby blue eyes and chalk fingers with a dark purple-black aeonium. Pretend I cut back the dying narcissus foliage…
Some viewpoints let the cool colors predominate, with just a few punctuation marks of poppy orange. New into this photo are whitish-violet flowered black sage (Salvia mellifera), magenta freeway daisy (Osteospermum), with a softer orange-red desert mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) in the upper left corner.
I’ll have to rethink what the combination of blue and orange means to me, at least in the garden. These flowers may be gone in a couple of months. Maybe this a combination that I should embrace and associate with “spring.”
Spring is bringing lots of other colors combinations and other flowers to gardens around the world. Check them out at May Dreams Gardens, where Carol is hosting yet another Garden Boggers Bloom Day. Thank you, Carol!