Some mood for thought

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Are you a person who goes for hot reds and acid yellows or do you prefer a softer palette of pinks, creams and soft blues?

The colours you choose for your garden can affect how you feel – and it seems gardeners must be getting it right, as new research from BBC Gardeners’ World magazine shows that gardeners generally are a happier bunch than non-gardeners.

Colour psychologist Angela Wright, author of The Beginner’s Guide To Colour Psychology (Kyle Cathie, £12.99), reports: “Different colours affect us in different ways. Red is physically stimulating. It raises our pulse rate and makes us over-estimate the temperature around us, as well as the speed at which time is passing – one reason why red is such a predominant colour in fast-food restaurants.”

She adds that what defines whether a colour such as blue is calming or stimulating is the saturation of colour. Strong, bright blues stimulate, while pale blues soothe.

Yellow is a positive colour that lifts our spirits and promotes great optimism.

“The right yellow makes us feel happy and is the most brilliant of the primary hues, because it’s full of light energy,” says Wright.

Green helps to restore us, while the other two main colours in the colour wheel have qualities of their adjacent primary colours – orange bringing together the warmth of red and the optimism of yellow, while mauve is unusual in that it combines the fieriness of red and the coolness of blue.

The survey shows that that 64% of people like cool flower colours while 36% prefer hot colours.

Wright believes it’s possible to work out your preferred palette by analysing your personality.

Those who are cool and calm by nature, who prefer understated elegance and have a natural gift for keeping things in proportion, are more likely to favour a garden palette of soft pinks, mauves, purples and pale blues.

People with intense energy, with a bossy nature and natural driving force, are more likely to go for rich golds, reds, oranges and warm purples, while creative and energetic types, who love perfection and whose energy is contained, should favour white, tints of pale blue and green with occasional rich dark contrasts.

And those who are in their element in the garden, trying to bring the outdoors indoors with many indoor plants, are more likely to have an unfussy design of garden, with bright single blooms and simple mid-tone colours of sky blue, yellow and bright green. “We are all born with a natural instinct for colour. Don’t over-think it – follow your instincts,” Wright advises.

The full findings of the survey on happiness will be revealed in a special theatre session at Gardeners’ World Live at the NEC, Birmingham on June 15. Full details of BBC Gardeners’ World magazine’s colour special is featured in the June edition.

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