Put some colour into your world

 In Opinion

Of the many joys of spring – more daylight, warmth in the air – nothing makes me happier than seeing pops of colour return to our outside world.

Who doesn’t take delight in the fresh greens of new growth, the cheery yellow daffodils, the pastel blossoms of spring flowering trees, and the incredible rainbow of colour that tulips bring to our gardens?

Humans are hardwired to respond to colour and your garden is the perfect canvas to colour your world in ways that make you happy.

So, let’s hone in on six popular colours, listed according to where they land on the colour wheel, and the emotions most closely associated with them.

Primary colours:

Red – passion, drama, fun
Yellow – joy, wisdom, youth
Blue – serenity, freedom, intelligence

Secondary colours:
Orange – creativity, warmth, energy
Green – harmony, fresh, natural
Purple – royalty, romance, mystery

Looking for some colourful inspiration? Here’s a selection of seasonal blooms whose colours will brighten your garden and your mood.


I can’t imagine a spring without tulips. The anticipation of their colourful flowers is the tonic that gets me through winter. With over 3,000 registered varieties spanning a huge colour palette, there are no excuses not to have cheery tulips in your spring garden.

Early Summer

Peonies are the Queens of the early summer garden and the beautiful blooms come in a vast array of colours, from hot pinks to yellows to magentas and reds. Once established, herbaceous

peonies are long-lived, easy care plants. They are colourful and fragrant must-haves in every garden. Irises are easy to grow perennials that come in a range of colours from blues and purples, apricots, yellows, whites, even black.

Late Summer

If peonies are the Queens, dahlias are the Dramatic Showstoppers. These late season beauties bloom in a range of colours, shapes and sizes. With over 50,000 varieties, they come in every colour except blue and black.


Yellow seems to bookend the gardening year. It features prominently in the spring garden with daffodils, forsythia, and tulips, and also in the fall when our gardens are winding down. The jolly yellows of sunflowers, solidago, rudbeckia, and chrysanthemums remind us to enjoy colour while we can. Late season dahlias will extend the colour palette beyond the yellow family until the frost comes.

When considering colour for the garden remember to look beyond flowers. Stems, foliage, and berries are all excellent options. For example:

Standout Stems

Red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea)

Golden Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea Flaviramea)

Golden Willow (Salix alba var. vitellina)

Fabulous Foliage

Ninebark Coppertina (Physocarpus opulifolius) Bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera) Common witch hazel (Hammelis virginiana)

Beautiful Berries

Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) Winterberry hollies (Ilex verticillata) American cranberry (Viburnum trilobum)

Your garden is a direct reflection of you. Let it tell your story! Whatever your colour personality may be – bright and cheery, moody blue, or softly pastel – there are no wrong choices. Colour your world!

This article is written by master gardener Christine March as part of a series of gardening articles by the Simcoe County Master Gardeners, members of the Master Gardeners of Ontario. For more information, visit www.simcoecountymg.ca.

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