If you are a take charge person who loves to plan, you probably prefer the look of flowers with warm hues, such as Alstroemeria 'Inca Ice' (shown in foreground).
If you are a take charge person who loves to plan, you probably prefer the look of flowers with warm hues, such as Alstroemeria ‘Inca Ice’ (shown in foreground).

Gardenwise: What Do Your Garden Colors Say About You?

By Susan Tito

Unless you live in the Arctic, you probably find this winter to be brutal so far, certainly from a comfort point of view. Or perhaps you consider it depressing from an aesthetic perspective. I know I do —peering out of every window of my house, I desperately long for more color in the garden.

There’s no denying that color, or lack of it, can affect our moods, and that our favorite hues reveal a lot about our personalities and preferences. 

That’s color psychology at work.

“Color psychology encompasses a combination of the effects color has on us physically, combined with our understanding of color symbolism and our reactions, and the associations we make with certain colors,” said Kate Smith, an internationally recognized color expert and president of Sensational Color, a consulting company in Alexandria, Virginia.

“We all have very personal experiences with color, and it’s the reason that I might love a color like aqua and another person might hate it,” she said. “Why would we all not like the same colors or feel the same way about them? That plays into our personal tastes and experience with particular colors, which makes color psychology a fun, interesting thing.”

The colors we choose for the garden are no exception. Whether you prefer the fresh yellow-green tones of spring, the supersaturated bold hues of summer, the burnished shades of fall or the stark neutrals of winter, your color and plant choices say a lot about your personality, said Ms. Smith, who helped me develop the following quiz.

What kind of gardener are you? Are you Unconventional, Intuitive or Reliable? Perhaps you have characteristics of all three and are Confident. Take the quiz and find out!

1. If you could design the Garden of Eden, what would it contain?

A. Masses of color punctuating the landscape

B. A variety of green plants with airy whites and soft pastels

C. Lots of greenery with hints of color

2. What gives you Spring fever?

A. Tulips in every color of the rainbow

B. Pussy Willows and their fluffy white catkins

C. The yellows and purples of early Crocus

3. A bloom with a view — which shrub do you prefer?

A. Rhododendron with red or purple clusters

B. Hydrangea with blue pompoms

C. Forsythia and its bright yellow sprays

4. When it comes to bouquets and arrangements, which of the following is a cut above the rest?

A. Blue or purple Iris

B. Multicolor Snapdragon

C. Red, yellow and orange Zinnia

5. When it comes to your favorite foliage, it’s not easy picking green. Cool blue-green, bright yellow-green and every shade in between —which do you prefer?

A. Yellow-green foliage

B. Blue-green foliage

C. No preference — all have their place in the garden

6. Is everything coming up roses in your garden? What is your favorite color of this popular shrub?

A. Yellow, coral or peach

B. Pink or white

C. Red

7. What’s hot in your garden? What’s not? Which color range do you prefer?

A. Both warm and cool hues like yellow and purple

B. Primarily cool colors like white-blues, purples or violets

C. Mainly warm hues like yellow, red, orange, coral and pink


If you scored mostly A’s, you are Unconventional.

You have a curious mind that takes in every detail. A nonconformist who is comfortable taking risk, dreaming and thinking outside the box, you’re someone who enjoys intellectual pursuits and a diverse range of activities.

If you scored mostly B’s, you are Intuitive.

You are naturally at ease and people are attracted to your engaging personality. For you, home is an oasis to recharge your restless spirit. The activities that suit you best are those that take place outdoors and allow you to unwind.

If you scored mostly C’s, you are Reliable.

For you, life is about the journey. Figuring out what’s next is half the fun and you thoroughly enjoy planning each adventure. You are a well-rounded person who is trustworthy, a good leader and an all-around valued member of your community.

If you scored a mix of A’s, B’s and C’s, you are Confident.

You’re not afraid of standing out from the crowd or speaking your mind. People see you as clever, friendly and fun-loving. When friends plan a get together, expect an invitation, as you tend to be the life of the party.

So, what do YOUR color choices in the garden say about you? Drop us a line!

Susan Tito
Susan Tito

Susan Tito is a freelance writer and proprietor of Summerland Garden Design & Consulting (summerlandgardendesign.com). She earned a certificate in ornamental garden design from the New York Botanical Garden and is a member of the American Horticultural Society and Garden Writers Association. She can be reached at stito630@gmail.com.

East End Beacon
The East End Beacon is your guide to social and environmental issues, arts & culture on the East End of Long Island.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please prove you're human: