The Colors of Dzamling Gardens

by Alix de Fermor, Dzamling Gardens architect

It is very easy to relax in the garden as it touches all our five senses in an enjoyable way.

The sense of vision is very important for me. I studied Art and more specifically colors and I find that a garden is like a living painting, always changing, always starting reborn like the sea.

The colors of flowers are not flat: the sun’s rays and light in general play on the transparency of petals. The thinner the petals are, the more light changes their colors which is why the flowers are so alive and their colors so vibrant.

But you can also add to the vibrance by juxtaposing certain colors. Usually it is considered that the maximum vibration is produced by the juxtaposition of the complementary colors. This is the method the Impressionists used to produce the luminosity which gives such an impression of reality, of life in their paintings. We have three primary colors - red, blue and yellow - and in between violet, green and orange. The complementary colors are those in opposition: for instance, red is complementary to green, blue to orange, blue-green to red-orange and so on.

Since green and red are complementary that is the reason why bright red flowers in bright green foliage are so appealing to the eye. Blue and orange are complementary and in between blue with a tinge of violet is also complementary to yellow-orange. I personally love this last combination and always try to juxtapose them: in my experience, the yellow-orange of flowers such as roses and hibiscus is the color that exalts and deepens the most the blue-violet color of flowers like agapanthus, convolvulus, felicia amelloides or plumbago.

The juxtaposition of pure white in a blue combination is also very nice, very soothing to the eye - like the sky and its clouds or the foam on a blue wave.
When you have blue-violet, orange, with a little white, it’s better to avoid red and fuchsia colours which would ruin the effect. Pink flowers are the best with a silvery green foliage which enhances their softness.

If you want a spark of fire, of bright joy, then you use bright red with red-orange and a very luminous yellow, slightly orange, then if all these flowers have a bluish green foliage it’s an even more striking combination.

When I plant, I always try to consider the combination of nearby blossoms as well as the color of foliage. That’s why it’s always better to see or to know the color of a plant’s blossom. I never buy a rose without seeing it’s color and the shape of its petals.... or without smelling it! A rose, as beautiful as it may look, without scent is only half a rose!

White flowers are at their best with a dark green foliage; if the foliage is light green or yellowish green then the white is not so vibrant.

A good example of the contrast of colors are the precious huge cream-white flowers of the magnolia tree which bloom against dark green, very lucent foliage, and, of course, with the intense, overwhelming scent of their flowers adding to its majestic charm. In Dzamling Gar we have three magnolia trees - one on each lawn. In Tenerife, the light of late afternoon, just before sunset, is very intense and transforms the colors of the flowers, brightening them to a striking point. It is the moment when, everything said and done, Dzamling Gardens quietly rest in their golden glory.

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