Monochromatic (pronounced mah-no-cro-matik) colors: Different shades of the same color, like those on a paint swatch card. The contrast in light and dark hues can either be subtle, softly contrasted, or strongly apparent.
In today's busy world, people are looking for ways to simplify their lives and reduce stress. Mechanisms for doing this have been introduced by many industries: digital internet services, pay-by-scan machines at the supermarket, and automatic spin toothbrushes, to name a few. Why not apply simplicity to the gardens? A way to do this is to create a monochromatic garden.
When monochromatic colors are used in the garden, a visually harmonious picture is painted which conveys a feeling of serenity and comfort to the viewer. This continuity of color allows one's eye to focus on the details, naturally bringing the plants' texture and form to the forefront rather than the fleeting color of the flowers. Then green becomes the monochromatic color focus. This smooth transition through the seasons brings a simple, subtle beauty to the space and the viewer. As the wise Beatrix Jones Farrand once said, 'Should it not be remembered that in setting a garden we are painting a picture?'
There are many ways in which growers and retailers alike can capitalize on this new trend. For example, growers could offer groupings of monochromatic plants for sale as complete packages, like a "Blue Group" consisting of delphinium, baptisia, platycodon, and campanula. Retailers could set up monochromatic endcap displays or place a grouping of yellows in the shade to demonstrate their effectiveness in lightening up dark spaces. The possibilities are limited only by one's imagination.
Pictured at right is an example of an orange monochromatic color scheme. Clockwise from top left are: Geum coccineum 'Borisii', Asclepias tuberosa, Gaillardia 'Tokajer', Crocosmia 'Emily McKenzie', Achillea 'Terra Cotta', Kniphofia uvaria 'Early Hybrids', Hemerocallis 'Rocket City'.