JEWEL TONES in the Garden - Clear and Bright

Every so often, I write about the beauty of jewel tones in the garden. These are rich, bold colors with a high level of saturation. They are vibrantly distinctive and resemble the color of gemstones, such as emerald green, amethyst purple, ruby red, topaz yellow, sapphire blue, tourmaline green, and turquoise blue. 

They draw the eye and 'sing' on a sunny day. Jewel tones and sunlight work well together. Or you can light a vivid color from below as they did here in Cornell University:

The richness of jewel tones touches us at a deep emotional level.  For example, the 2014 'Pantone Color of the Year', Radiant Orchid, is a jewel tone, a magenta with red/pink undertones. This color has an element of fire (in feng shui terms), is stimulating and can generate catalyzing change. Its violet base alludes to the mystical and higher vibrations.

Amber Freda Garden 

In the garden above, orchid-colored Cosmos flowers reinforce the Radiant Orchid wall. The abundance of dark green and deep blue cools it down.

Jewel tones stand up well to the strong sun of summer. While pastel colors stand out on a misty day, the saturated jewel tones are the stars in a sunlit garden. Even a bright green can be a shimmering emerald as the photo below illustrates...

You can also add some jewel tone items in an outdoor setting to make it a memorable locale. Here the turquoise tablecloth matches the intensity of the magenta Bougainvillea flowers:

bicyclette - click here 
Clear pink azaleas and rhododendrons can add vibrant color to a garden. Below is the Korean Rhododendron 'Wheeldon Pink':

And so do tulips! Look at this tulip mix:

One of my favorite annual flowers is Gomphrena 'Buddy Purple'. This strawflower sports a violet purple that positively gleams. 

And don't forget the end of the season with 'Purple Dome' Aster:

In my new garden design book, Heaven is a Garden, I have a chapter on color which goes into depth into these ideas and gives many tips on using color beautifully in a garden. BTW, you can always create some jewel tone magic by painting a bench with a clear bright color and placing it next to a flowering hydrangea.

Positively mesemerizing:


  1. Absolute gorgeous with different colours in the garden. I love the door....
    So fantastic effect! The opposite colours in the last picture is also great...

    Many greetings

    1. Thanks Jette - I love these colors as well...uplifting and vibrant!

  2. Wonderful colours ....

    All the best Jan


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