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Color in the garden has no universal rules, and is often a matter of feeling over rules.  Color is a beautiful gift for a garden setting, and creating harmonious color, is often something that gardeners fail at. Fortunately, if you are not color blind, you can see a good color combination as awell as a poor choice of colors.

Certain colors go well with certain styles. If your theme is a patio featuring statuary, the color scheme may be best by concentrating on cool colors.

When deciding what colors to add to a bed or border, it often depends on the plants available to your area. It is not a good idea to make every inch of a bed stand out with bold and bright colors. Include some subdued tints to add harmony to the brighter hues. Adding quieter tints, when combined, creates a stunning picture.

Warm tines give the illusion of a wealth of color. Shades like rose, oranges, scarlet, and yellow work well together creating a harmonious look. The grouping of lilac, mauve, purple, and violet are another grouping that works well together, as well as a wonderful contrast to the reds and yellows. Whites look best with the paler colors such as pinks, mauve, or the primrose yellow.
Pure blue shades, like the gentian and delphinium, should steer clear of the mauves and purple shades. These do not harmonize well, and should be reserved for places where contrast is desired. Incorporating the rich color of the Oriental poppy adds a strong contrasting element. If you combine the genetian blue with pale green foliage of the pyreth rum, creates a daring and pleasing contrast.  Reddish mauves will also work with this type of foliage.

There are so many combinations, that is impossible to write down all the possible combinations. Those with an eye for color will experiment for themselves, constantly finding new and pleasing combinations, and weeding out combinations they dislike. Grey foliage will always look best with crimson, red, scarlet, and pure blue shades. Brown and purple foliage looks best with the yellow and oranges.

Pure crimsons and scarlet’s should be kept away from magenta tones and bluish pinks. A Rosy pinks and mauves look best with silvery grays, as seen by the plant Stachys lanata. And nature rarely makes a mistake, so the foliage of the plant harmonizes with the flowering part.

The difference in views of many writers show how little is really known and understood on the subject of color. One authority, whose opinions one would imagine were the outcome of some defect of vision, says, "Nor have I any preference for one color over another; but I have very decided notions that the various colors should be so completely commingled that one would be puzzled to determine what tint predominates in the entire arrangement."

This is perhaps the best advice on how to not create a color scheme. It also proves the ineffective method of arranging a mixed border or bed where everything kills one another.  It should be a rule to harmonize or contrast color in masses!

An instructive experiment was conducted for determining the best method of painting gun carriages so to make it inconspicuous at a distance. This consisted of using red, blue, and yellow paint in spots, a kind of stippling of the surface with the primary colors in equal proportions. The result entirely realized its originator's intentions. The colored spots were destructive to one another and the resultant tint was a neutral gray. This proved the theory and it demonstrates how entirely mistaken this writer was.

If you are planting a bed of flowers in two contrasting colors, create a simple plan of using one color for a broad edging, and one color in the center mass. If you plant the bed in white-pinks, you should edge with mauve violas or purple blue Canterbury bells edged with yellow violas to create a good color sense.