Simply put, brown is a natural color and an important one at that. After all, the very soil that we gardeners gleefully toil in is generally a shade of brown and this earthy quality makes brown a symbol of stability and reliability. Unfortunately, it also has a reputation of being boring and in many surveys, on color it is ranked as the least favorite color of them all. Regardless of our personal tastes, it is an appropriate color for November. We watch the leaves turn colors, including brown and the centerpieces on our Thanksgiving tables are often adorned in colors of yellow, red and brown. You may have to dig deep to find an appreciation for the color brown but sometimes the simplest of colors can be the most interesting.
November arrives right in the middle of fall and perhaps there is no other time of year that the color brown is more prominent. While the changing colors of the leaves are often red, orange and yellow there are plenty of brown leaves that join that mix too. The brown color may not be so pretty but these leaves when they are chopped up make a terrific mulch or addition to your compost pile. Brown is also a good color to use as a contrast to other colors. For example, doesn’t your lawn seem to look so much greener in the fall? Finally, the color brown has a beautiful side too. There is a variety of Pansy called Velour Frosted Chocolate with pretty brown hues that you can try in your containers and flowers beds. After all, who doesn’t like chocolate, right?
As winter sets in I always turn to my garden longing for the spring and looking for something to break up the monotony of cold, ice and snow. Even on the coldest days, I notice the birds flying around my yard and one way to help out our feathered friends during the winter is to give them some shelter. For this reason, I leave the brown blades of my ornamental grasses in place until spring has arrived. They not only provide shelter to the birds but it is soothing to watch their spent plumes waving in the winter wind and think about the beauty and peace my garden provides me even when it is not in bloom. I also enjoy listening to the wind rustling the brown leaves that remain on the pin oaks as I take advantage of those warmer winter days and pull some weeds or push my frost-heaved perennials back into the ground.
As winter yields to spring furry gray blooms, also known as catkins, appear on the brown branches of the pussy willow and the color brown can add a unique look to your garden. Your neighbors won’t be able to stop gawking at the Dark Chocolate Coleus in your containers or the Coffee Whispers Iris with its brown and white petals that you planted last fall. Why not try adding a Hot Chocolate Daylily or a Terra Nostra Rose which has stunning brown flowers that seem to float above its green foliage. Leave the spent blooms of your giant Allium bulbs in place and you’ll have a unique brown globe that looks almost like a large dandelion whose seeds are ready to blow away on a spring breeze.
Finally, even though summer has arrived there are plenty of brown flowers that won’t melt in the summer heat. Kids love planting Sunflowers so why not try something a little different this year? There are several varieties of Chocolate Sunflowers that are sure to fascinate your kids and Calibrachoa Banana Chocolate makes a spectacular hanging basket with its brown centered flowers with orange and white tips. Tropicanna, Orange Chocolate, and Chocolate Sunrise are several varieties of Cannas that bloom I the summer and have beautiful brown foliage. Dahlias and Helenium Moerheim Beauty start to bloom in August just when your garden needs a boost and spent blooms of Astilbe and Black-Eyed-Susans can add visual interest as well as food for the birds.
So, now that you have read all about the Color Brown and how to incorporate it into your landscape are you ready to give it a try in your garden?