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Arranged Marriages (of flowers, of course): The Color Wheel Crown



Autumn wins “the color wheel crown” by capturing six out of twelve of the famous wheel’s colors for its season!  Autumn has marched from yellow-green through yellow, yellow-orange, orange, and red-orange not stopping until it has claimed red!  What a coup for fall!  More about what that does for fall decorating in a little while…

I love autumn!  I’ve loved autumn since I was a child and didn’t know it was called anything other than fall.  But as a child I loved it for reasons other than its ability to make leaves look really beautiful…it was more because my birthday fell in October on United Nations Day and that made me feel very special.  And…in west Texas there weren’t a lot of leaves of any color to get excited about anyway.  Autumn was more about going back to school, seeing old friends, and Halloween.  What kid (even some “adult kids”) doesn’t love Halloween? In my fifth grade class picture, I am proudly wearing my black Halloween skirt with pictures of witches, ghosts, and jack-o-lanterns all over it!

OK, now back to the “color wheel coup.”  Having this commanding range of color to choose from means that virtually everyone can introduce fall décor into their living spaces without experiencing color shock!  Really, the color range captured by autumn is much greater than six colors, because each of those colors can be altered creating lots of tones and shades.  For example, adding gray pigment to a brilliant red allows it to become dark red or even maroon.  Even if your décor is mostly blue, don’t rule out using orange pumpkins for fall.  Orange and blue lie directly across from each other on the color wheel creating what is known to the color wheel as “complementary color harmony.”

Most of us have chosen paint for a wall color from paint chips, and then watched the paint being mixed.  It can be amazing to see what colors go into the can to create the color we chose.  Mother Nature has given leaves the color pigmentation needed to allow autumn to mix the paint.  She decides when the conditions are right for autumn to start the process.

The window for fall décor is September, October, and November.  The décor can be fresh or faux and can sometimes transition as the season progresses.  I hung my fall wreath (sans bow) on the front door the day after Labor Day.  It is a faux berry wreath in muted orange.  Muted means that the orange coating used on the faux berries was dulled by adding gray or black to the paint before it was applied to the berries.  (I prefer to think of it as a “softer” look, rather than a “dull” look, wouldn’t you?)

IMG_2848In late October, I will attach a wooden “Trick or Treat” sign to the wreath to welcome Halloween.  I will not wear a Halloween skirt for the occasion this year (that is so yesterday).  The next transition will be on November 1st when a wide satin chocolate bow and several pheasant feathers will be added to signal the approach of Thanksgiving.

In the category of “fresh fall décor” I hope to find a pumpkin in muted orange for my living room.  A white pumpkin is my second choice.  My decorating colors are muted, (not dulled in my opinion)… and a bright orange pumpkin would definitely create “color shock”!  Aren’t we grateful that Mother Nature has allowed autumn to “mix the paint” that gives us those gorgeous leaves!


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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