But adding a third or fourth color sometimes makes us scratch our head with a little trepidation; but it’s really simple. The final scheme is a little like singing in harmony. Most have had the opportunity to hear music where soprano alto, tenor, and bass are being sung to make a musical performance.
By selecting our colors equal distance apart on the color wheel, we will have a very vibrant garden with some contrast yet tied together in harmony through careful balance. Three colors are used for triadic harmony and four for quadratic harmony.
Suntory has done this in its Bee Colorful Mix. First, the Beedance Painted Red bidens is the main pollinator grabber. This species of bidens is native to Arizona and has the horrible common name of tick grabber. Trust me you won’t have any more ticks than usual. The harmony, however, comes with a stunning blue from Sky Blue Trailing lobelia and a rousing red from Surfinia Deep Red petunia.
But, even if you don’t find this irresistible mix, you can create your own beds, borders or baskets of triadic harmony whether planting a butterfly garden, perennial garden or grandma’s cottage garden. It can even be created with cool season pansies.
If your favorite garden book doesn’t have a color wheel, try searching the internet.
A great place to begin is with your favorite flower and color. Then simply pick out your next two or three colors that are equal distance apart on the wheel. Don’t worry about exacts just get close.
Pollinators and friends alike will start to take notice. Friends might even suspect you hired a professional or took an extended learning class at the community college. Gardening in harmony is a lot of fun.
(Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of, “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.” Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.)