Happy Monday from Sunflower Farm

Two primary colors that bring back happy memories of childhood…

Remember making those Crayola drawings that brought along a smile? Children find primary colors simple to understand due to the pureness of color. A memory associated with yellow may be a visit to a garden full of sunflowers, a positive memory filled with blue sky and bright sunshine.

When we have a pleasant memory associated with color, that color often becomes a favorite long after the memory fades. What is your familiar color associated with a positive memory?

Color actually boosts memory for scenes in the natural world. So it is more than the aesthetics that appeal to the senses. Remember fields of glowing goldenrod? And as we become older, the more sophisticated our color choice becomes, where color nuance can be differentiated and appreciated.

Many of us associate blue with water and many have a positive association to the sea, ocean, lake or even swimming pool. Blue is also associated with sky and a blue sky filled with sunshine stirs all kinds of happy memories. Any surprise that blue is most people’s choice for favorite color?

Red is often associated with romance and the flower of love, the rose.

It has many other color associations as well, and not all are positive. See the post Give Us Some Red for a very fun and devilish look at red.

Yellow is a color of inspiration and sunshine. It is a happy color.

Did you ever notice how often Red and Yellow are used as colors for fast food restaurants? From the Colonel to pizza to burgers. It is actually harder to think of one that does not use red or yellow or both in their logo. This is no accident.

Yellow triggers happiness and friendliness even if it is placed next to the prickliest of characters.  Red stimulates the taste buds and encourages the hunger reflex along with the help of the smell of frying burgers or saucy pizza. Together they excite and are all about quickness and speed.

Yellow can be seen from the farthest daylight distance too. And color is transmitted to the brain faster than both words and shape, so any wonder why they all seem to use these colors, and make sure you see it for the longest time?

These colors work directly on emotion and memory. Kids have an ‘in the moment’ positive association with the primaries, so who do you think is the target market here? Kids in the emotional, tickled pink present and adults from carefree, juvenescence memories. It may be less overt by working on the subconscious, but it is literally working on you. It pretty much is everybody to answer the question of who is the targeted market.

And a little side note here on my line of work.

Our company landscapes many fast food restaurants, and guess what the planting restriction is for annuals and bulbs. You guessed it, limited to reds and yellows.

Sunflowers make wonderful subjects for art and photography. Vincent van Gogh painted many of the world’s most famous sunflower paintings, and think about that too. Sunflowers are appealing and memorable, plus pretty adored by birds as well as art lovers.

Inspiration Equals Fabulous

Yellow is a color of inspiration.  Combine it with red and you have something that says look at and remember me. This home is on Garden Walk Buffalo and is a real showstopper. It is likely the smallest home on the street, but also, most memorable. Does it not remind you of the barn and sunflowers image above, only on a small scale?

Here are a couple of daylilies not afraid to show some color. In a garden full of blooms, your eye is drawn to those so brightly announced. Many do not prefer their garden to be so riveting in reverberating color, but a splash here and there is nice for your pollinating friends. Hummingbirds gravitate to red flowers and bees have a preference to yellow and blue.

Have a primary garden and you will not be short of those that buzz and flap. Oh, and bees will not pass up a sunflower either.  There were a couple on the macro shots I took, I just did not show the bees.

Begin with a bang and end with an explosion.  Next time you take a drive, notice the fast food signs, grocery stores, superstores, and a host of other retail outlets.  See how far away you recognize them. These two colors are very powerful and you most likely, consciously, never took notice!

And…. I have a post on Green Apples you really must see and leave your take. A professional Photographer takes on Flickr images and I kinda agree with his point.

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About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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29 Responses to Happy Monday from Sunflower Farm

  1. Donna says:

    I was just thinking of all the yellow in my garden..the goldenrod in the meadow and the sunflowers and susans…I always smile when I see sunflowers…now I know why…I love the red bard with the sunflowers, but that red house is just adorable…great post Donna…you have me smiling!

  2. One says:

    Thank you for sharing these happy photos. Love to see rows and rows of sunflowers.

    I guess the predominant color of my garden is still yellow. I try to make adjustments but yellow still stands out.

    I just checked on my mammoth sunflowers. They have lost their happy yellow but are huge and come with lots of seeds. Should be ready for harvest soon.

    Congratulations! Your caption has been selected and is being posted with a link here. Thank you for your contribution, Donna.

  3. That little red house is the cutest! I tend to go more to the pink side of things than red, but when I see these pictures I see how striking red and yellow are together. I’ll have to pay more attention when I drive past the retail places. Jimmy Turner with the Dallas Arboretum calls that “65-mile-an-hour color” 🙂

  4. BumbleLush says:

    Oh I LOVE sunflowers! These are great pictures. I like the little red house too. It’s very charming! In Chinese culture, red and yellow are auspicious colors. They’re a great combo!

  5. Just the happiest blog post I’ve read this week. Love all the photos!

  6. Love the sunflowers Donna! When I was an art teacher sunflowers was one of my favorite units to teach for painting. You so have it right on about kids and their identification to color. I always found it so interesting how kids used color in their work….almost magical…and could not be replicated by an adult. And the little red house is just divine! Nicole

  7. My memory of sunflowers at their best is large ones poking over the top of a tall white wall against a cloudless blue sky as we ate al fresco in a village in Switzerland on the border with France.

    Yellow flowers – I love them. Fields of flowering mustard and rape lighten my heart. I have yellow and orange nasturtiums in my garden . . . But when it comes to commerce, although I understand products in yellow packaging sell well, I associate yellow in shops with ‘cheap’ (in a non-complementary way). And, although I like it, I would not wear it. If I were to wear yellow, I’d lose all my friends and strangers would run a mile.

  8. Maryann says:

    Never knew about the marketing strategies surrounding these two colors. I found that fascinating. Sunflowers always brighten my day, Thanks for sharing these
    great photos. Maryann

  9. Barbie says:

    I just LOVE the sunflowers!!! I have just planted my first sunflower seeds this weekend – I hope for a spectacular display too 🙂

  10. Christina says:

    In the past I didn’t use yellow in my own garden and now there is lots!! I love the summer when we drive past fields of sunflowers, a major crop in Umbria and in the last couple of years they have begun to be planted in Northern Lazio too (this is good asthey don’t require as much irrigation as maize which is the main crop around us and that has to be watered NIGHT and day. Your images are beautiful, you’ve captured all the vividness of the colour. I posted some images of sunflower fields last year in July or August. Christina

  11. Jess says:

    I think one of the reasons I love looking at other peoples gardens is because there are so many cool color combinations out there. My gardens are pretty small, so I have limited the palate to pinks and purples primarily, but it sure is nice to see others that take off with other colors.

    I had no idea about the red and yellow commercial garden thing… how interesting I never noticed. Also, my mind immediately jumps to Mcdonalds when I think red+yellow, but your pictures above show how ridiculous that is to think that way.

  12. b-a-g says:

    Great Post Donna. Interesting to see sunflowers growing in proportion with their surroundings. I’ve never seen a field of them before. Are they being grown to harvest seeds for oil/healthfoods ?

  13. Donna I join your Crayola colour bandwagon…. find it gets amusing when the principle gets applied to foodstuffs.

  14. Lona says:

    What brilliant flowers in the garden together. I love the red home that was in the show. The sunflowers are always so cheerful looking as all yellow flowers are.

  15. andrea says:

    hi Donna, i’ve been out for awhile, but am now back. I love the colors of those barns or sheds, complimenting the vivid colors around it. I haven’t seen wide plantations of sunflowers in person, only in photos. They are always so fascinating for me.

  16. You know, those research guys at advertising companies know their stuff, the red makes me feel hungry, the yellow gives me a ravenous appetite after viewing your post. We had a red dining room, but repainted it a conservative peach colour. Now we hardly have our meals in there. Hmm..coincidence?
    I wish I could be in that field of sunflowers. Spectacular views, Donna.
    Rosie

  17. Les says:

    I remember something from a college psych class about red and yellow in fast food, and like you said the yellow (and orange) sitmulate appetite, as does red. However, red in large amounts can apparently make some people slightly agitated causing them to eat quickly, thus higher table turnover. The two are not my favorite combo, but what do I know, I like purple and orange together.

  18. debsgarden says:

    The sunflower/red barn photo touched an emotional response in me. I have never grown sunflowers, but a dear memory is of my Aunt Irene and her wonderful vegetable garden with a wide border of sunflowers. Best vegetables I have ever tasted and an idyllic country setting – I’ll never forget one spectacular, red-orange sunset I witnessed as I stood beside her sunflowers.

  19. Marguerite says:

    There’s an awful lot to learn about colour isn’t there? Before I started gardening I really didn’t know much about the intricacies but as I garden I learn more. I’ve always felt that yellow was a cheery happy colour to me but I had no idea it was perceived this way by everyone.

  20. Shyrlene says:

    After all those years of design and art classes, and I missed one of the most interesting bits of info on color! All your pictures of sunflowers really makes me sad the bunnies ransacked my Cottage Garden of all that was sunflowers (stupid rabbits / more stupid Shyrlene for not protecting the fledgling plants).

  21. What a smiley post Donna – I love that red Buffalo house, you couldn’t help but smile seeing it. I am only just starting to use yellow in my own garden – beyond the daffodils – and it really does help cheer us all up. Mind you, I also really like a soft yellow coupled with a soft blue, still connotations of childhood, but softened for the adult palette that now eschews milk chocolate in favour of dark and that works better in areas where you want calm rather than excitement.

  22. Well, McDs still hasn’t convinced me to go in despite all their red and yellow, LOL! I love the sunflowers! My favorites are blue and yellow and now I know why. The contrast of yellow and red is very striking…those shots of the sunflowers and red barn are super!

  23. Bom says:

    Something must be wrong with the feed. I almost missed this post and that would have been sad. No happy colors for me. That said, I don’t have a lot of reds and yellows in my garden. I’d say 85% of it is green. Hmm. Now that I think about it, the flowers I do have are mostly red or yellow with a few other colors thrown in.

    Ours is perhaps the only country where McDonald’s is not the number one fast food chain. Guess what colors the other chain uses.

    • Now that was a surprise, red and yellow. for Jollibee. I am surprised though that Micky D’s is not number one. A side note, type in Micky D’s into Google and guess what you get? Even when I was in Costa Rica, it was the only hamburger place there, but hamburgers were not all that was sold. Even had those spicy Mexican like foods there too.

  24. What lovely photos. I love the small house. A house and gardens is always what they make of it. A lot of time and love went into that one. The barn is peaceful beauty.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  25. Very interesting Donna! It got me thinking and two things came to mind. The outside of our house is painted in a pale yellow colour (not bright, but it is yellow nonetheless). Not my choice, but what is interesting is that everyone who visits comments that the house has a very “happy vibe”. The other thing I thought of whilst reading this … blue is my favourite colour. Why? hmmm, all my happiest childhood memories involve the sea, pools and in all my paintings, blue was always the most used colour.

    Lovely post Donna!

  26. Thanks for all of the beauty and color.

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