Posts Tagged ‘nineteenth century’

Plant associations the 19th century way

June 22nd, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

"harmony of colouring" 19th century style

So, the other day I was browsing through the June 1852 issue of the Floricultural Cabinet magazine – the way you do – and I came across some interesting observations about plant associations.

“We have frequently called attention of our young readers,” says Joseph Harrison who “conducted” the magazine, “to the desirability of paying strict attention to the judicious arrangements of flowering plants, as regards height and harmony of colouring.

“It is true,” he goes on,” that, of late years, this subject has become a matter of study amongst gardeners and great changes for the better have taken place in this respect; still we are far from supposing that we have arrived at perfection.

“Always bear in mind – if beauty, order and effect are desired – that attention to this, next to a well laid-out flower-garden, is essential to their full development.

“In producing well-arranged contrasts, the different shades of colour must be as distinct from each other as possible: for instance, white should never be placed in contact with yellow, or deep blue with crimson; but white forms a good contrast with blue or red, blue to orange, yellow to purple or violet, dark crimson to light blue, and scarlet should be placed near those which have profuse green foliage, as red and green form the best contrast. Orange and violet do well. Greenish-yellow and rose contrast well.”

This is what I’ve referred to in the past as the “right between the eyes” style of plant association: the bolder and brighter the contrast the better. And it works.

Of course, not everyone enjoys that approach. For many of us, a calmer and more harmonious arrangement of pastels is preferable – but this was clearly not in vogue in 1852.