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Arranged Marriages (of flowers, of course): Choosing Flower Colors

Choosing Flower Colors
Choosing Flower Colors

You want to have flowers in the house for the weekend. You have a vase that you love and you want the guests to see the flowers when they walk into the living room. You’re up in the air about what color flowers to buy! How will you decide?

I grew up in relatively small west Texas towns. Flowers weren’t really a part of my life then, but noticing colors was (bug colors, car colors, sunsets, mesquite trees, etc.). My mother made my clothes and we shopped for fabrics together (in slightly bigger towns). When we got home, she was always amazed at how well the new fabrics that I chose went with things already in my closet. So was I. “Weren’t we lucky” she said.

About 10 years into my floral career it dawned on me that I have a “color memory”…it wasn’t just luck. Some of us probably have a greater aptitude for distinguishing colors and holding them in our memory. Some can even easily combine colors almost as if they have the color wheel committed to memory. So how will you decide what color flowers to buy for that living room vase?

You don’t have to know that the color wheel is made up of 12 colors called hues to use colors effectively. You don’t even have to know the difference between tints and tones and shades. Most likely you already use your learned color skills on a daily basis….red purse or tan purse…blue shirt with khakis…black or green shutters…get the chair recovered in apricot? You can transfer your successes with these color decisions to the flower category!

So back to the immediate challenge…to buy the right color flowers for the living room vase for this weekend. Start simply if flowers are a new category for you. Borrowing skills from something familiar (remember, red purse or tan purse?) and trying to use them in a new way doesn’t always feel comfortable.

Walk into the living room as your guests will walk in. Look at the empty vase in its setting. Observe the main decorating colors in the room. Buy flowers that are all the same type and all the same color (very in and simpler). Try to get flowers that are as close as possible to the main decorating color or a throw pillow color or even a painting that would really be showcased with flowers in the same color. Drop them in your vase.

I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that your guests really loved the flowers and that you want to know more about tints and tones and shades… and that you have discovered that you too have a “color memory” even though your mother says it’s luck!

Posted By: Evelyn Kinville, Behnke’s Garden Blogger

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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