I've been thinking a lot lately about color and how it affects us all. When I was in Atlanta, I attended a Trendspotting seminar. It turns out that the Pantone 2012 color of the year is Tangerine Tango. This is a color that is warm yet exciting. As a garden designer, I always ask my clients at the beginning of the process to tell me which colors they do and don't like. A majority of people say "no orange". This has been going on for years. So, how does a designer like me who wants to keep up with the trends deal with this color? First of all, just because someone doesn't like orange, it doesn't mean that they won't respond favorably to it. I tested my theory by putting in an orange garden at Natureworks. Guess what? Everyone is drawn to this garden like a magnet. I don't think it's the orange so much as what we pair it with. Orange and purple. Orange and blue. Orange, in the form of a peachy tangerine with soft, creamy yellow. Orange oriental poppies, yellow Baptisia, blue perennial bachelor's buttons. This photograph makes people gasp aloud.
Sometimes you need to infuse a bright accent color into a garden to draw the eye to a particular section. Other times, color will carry the viewer along, telling them where to go next. If you think you don't like orange, start looking around your world and see what affect Tangerine Tango type colors have on your mood. We're not just talking gardens here- they are pretty much white and gray today unless you are a master of winter color. Look at the retail displays when you shop for clothing or home accessories. Look at the advertisements on television or in magazines. It's an interesting experiment.