On color: wise words from Mrs. Whaley

Mrs. Whaley's Charleston Garden | DancingRedRanch.com

We spent five (rather wet) days in Charleston recently to attend the Spring Festival of Houses & Gardens. As usual, I picked up a book as my souvenir: Mrs. Whaley and Her Charleston Garden (1997). I knew nothing about the late Mrs. Whaley or her garden, and didn’t get to see it during my visit, but after reading her memoir, I feel her by my side in the garden. And here’s why — one of the charming bits of advice she offers in her book, this one about color:

A matter of pleasure and some confusion for most gardeners. Even though Monet used red successfully in his color schemes, and even though men count on red roses to facilitate their communication with women — from proposals to apologies — I still think red is a difficult color to include in central flower border schemes. It seems to catch the eye and hold it, thus diminishing the value of the flowers adjacent. Remember: A good blue can fix anything.

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