Spring Garden ~ Pops of Color

Hi!  Susan here of Susan E. Brown Interior Design. I love gardening. I currently have 4 perennial gardens, with another plot on it’s way.  In my last house, I had 3 or 4 perennial gardens as well, and if I must say so myself, they were beautiful!

When I was asked to write a post on spring flowers from an interior designer’s point of view, I was a bit nervous.  After all, I am an interior designer not a horticulturist!

I could not go much further without contacting my mother-in-law, Deb Brown, former University of Minnesota Extension Horticulturist.  Now retired, Deb was dubbed “The Garden Guru” by Minnesota Public Radio as she was frequently on the radio answering questions from call in viewers, in addition to frequent articles in the Star Tribune (which she still does every once in a while).

When I told her what I wanted to do, I was asked a lot of questions about my needs.  It reminded me of when I meet with a client initially, and they really want answers, and I keep asking questions!  With Deb’s help, lo and behold, I was able to pinpoint flowers that bloom locally in Minnesota in the spring that would be applicable to my post.

Let’s focus on the “feel” of your garden, which is always one of the first questions I ask with interiors.  How do you want your garden to feel? Lively and bright with pops of color?  Or…calming and serene with the feel of an escape from the world?


If you want your spring garden to really feel vibrant with pops of color, it would be important to use colors that are on the opposite side of the color wheel, or complementary colors.  So, orange combined with blue, purple combined with yellow, red combined with green.

Good combinations would be:

  1. Sky blue Forget-me-nots with yellow Leopard’s Bane, both perennials.  Not only are the colors opposite, but look at the petal shape – round compared with skinny.  Perfect match!  Opposites do attract!
2.   Red/orange Oriental Poppies contrasting with interesting spiky foliage from plants that will bloom later in the summer, or short ornamental grasses.  Again, an opposite in color and leaf shape.

3.   Yellow Forsythia flowering shrub with royal blue Siberian Squill (Scilla) flowering bulbs.  On the same path, how about purple and yellow crocus?  Contrasts in color rule again!

Watch for Part 2: Calm & Serene Garden !!!

Susan Brown is a regular contributor on COLOR to our blog. You can read more of her posts here.


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