Pantone Chooses Its “Colors of the Year”

Pantone Chooses Its “Colors of the Year”

Grays and Yellows Can Add Pleasing Tones to Gardens

“Lemon Slice” Calibrachoa will fill containers and hanging baskets to the brim with masses of cheerful yellow blooms. Photo by Lynette L. Walther

Color is powerful. It has the ability to energize, encourage, warn, calm, and bring good cheer. Color has been used throughout time to signify such things as privilege and royalty (purple), purity (white), grief and mourning (black), and passion (red). We respond to colors and make good use of them in our everyday lives.

So, it’s no coincidence that every year those professional color folks at Pantone come up with an appropriate pair of colors to signify, embolden, and colorize the coming year. Pantone is a company that provides a rainbow of consistent colors for graphic designers, publishers, interior decorators, those in the clothing industry, and others. With its experience, it somehow tests the psychological and commercial “waters” to come up with two coordinating and yet contrasting colors. And this year the people at Pantone have outdone themselves with two colors that match the mood of the entire nation to a “T.”

Spread the cheer with a sunny yellow door like this one, where tops of a metal fence repeat the color for greater impact. Photo by Lynette L. Walther.

The colors for 2021 are a sunny yellow tone, “Illuminating Yellow,” and a calming neutral, “Ultimate Gray.” We can expect to see these hues two show up to influence fashion, home décor, and yes, even the garden.

Cheerful and perky yellow is often one of the first floral colors we see each spring as crocus, daffodils, and tulips emerge, often through a thinning crust of snow and ice. These harbingers of warmer days are unfailing in their ability to lift spirits.

Greet the spring with a bevy of yellow tulips in this year’s color of the year. Note this group is blooming next to the colorful and contrasting burgundy foliage of a clematis. Photo by Lynette L. Walther.

As days warm and thoughts turn to summer gardens, we might want to employ the yellow color of the year in blooming container mixes or pops of brilliance for in-ground planting schemes. A recent introduction of a unique, sweet, bright yellow cherry tomato, named Yellow Apple, is another way to introduce some yellow into the vegetable plot or perhaps mingle it among ornamentals.

Gray ghost plant spreads a blanket of soft color. there are many succulents in various shades of gray to use in containers or in the ground. Photo by Lynette L. Walther.

Containers themselves can sport yellow hues to brighten up whatever they contain. Choose glazed ceramic or sturdy plastic, or you can grab a can of spray paint and color your own terracotta or plastic pot in this cheerful yellow.

Beyond containers, another way to add a cheery yellow to the garden is through garden furniture or structures such as trellises, tuteurs, and garden statuary. Or, perhaps go all-out and paint an exterior door yellow to match garden accents or flowers.

Subtle contrast of color, form, and texture of gray plants such as this ornamental thistle works magic in the sunny garden. Photo by Lynette L. Walther.

When it comes to gray in the garden, some might find themselves at a loss in carrying out this year’s color trend. But imagine mixing in touches of gray with the yellow or go all out calm and collected with a selection of silvery-gray plants for a soothing touch. Employ foliage shapes, textures, and growth patterns for contrast and interest.

Think silvery-gray plants such as Artemisia with its delicate foliage, the new big-leaved, fuzzy Angel’s Wings, or a host of succulents that go ghostly gray. Group them in planters or position them in sunny borders or beds to contrast with and cool down color schemes. Succulents in a range of gray tones can be used for in-ground or container groupings.

Garden accents such as substantial containers like this one can deliver a calming dose of gray to any setting. Photo by Lynette L. Walther

Again, that touch of gray can be found in painted garden furniture or accessories of silvery metals, as well as plants. Color-themed gardens are just one of this year’s top gardening trends, and when you add the fashionable colors of the year to your garden, you’ve got a combination that so 2021. Let’s turn on that sunshine for energy, while we stay calm and collected at the same time.

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Lynette Walther

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