Spring Colors: Some Like it Hot

Orange nasturtium

This orange nasturtium has a banana-yellow center and a lovely pair of eyelashes

Nature always wears the color of the spirit.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Unless you’re an allergy sufferer, you probably love spring. It’s a magical time in the garden when spring colors emerge from winter’s slumber while the birds sing their happy tune.

Red and Pink


After years of planting assorted bulbs and spring-mix seed packets, it’s fun to see the color assortment burst forth. Wrapped around the perennials, and sometimes hiding below, touches of spring color emerge. To be fair, many of the weeds are colorful too. You just have to decide what stays and what goes.



According to birder Melissa Mayntz of The Spruce:

Different birds are attracted to different colors. Individual bird species may see the “best” colors as indicating a food source. Other birds may be more attracted to the colors of their own plumage as those could indicate a potential mate or another bird that is surviving well.

Most bright colors, however, can be used to attract birds, with certain bird species being more attracted to particular shades.

Red and Pink: Hummingbirds
Orange: Orioles, hummingbirds
Yellow: Goldfinches, warblers, hummingbirds



Interesting that red, orange and yellow are the first three colors of a primary rainbow. I think nature is on to something, don’t you?

Not to be undone green, blue and violent show up every spring as well. They’re the cooler colors, providing a lovely contrast to the heat of the spectrum. Stay tuned for their turn in the garden.

54 thoughts on “Spring Colors: Some Like it Hot

  1. I used not to like orange, but now I find it lifts my spirits tremendously. I’m still ambivalent about yellow but red is the colour of life, so it isn’t the ‘heat’ of a colour that affects my decision. Wonderful colour in those California poppy petals…


    • Kate, my first California poppy was, I think, part of a mix. Now they self see each year, and have spread to different areas of the garden. Like you’ve I’ve never thought of orange as a favorite, though I do like my pumpkins.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Kate, other than pumpkins, I’ve never been a big fan of orange either. It’s my oldest son’s favorite color, so I’ve learned to appreciate it. The nasturtiums take over every spring, then die back with the first sign of heat. The irony is that I bought them originally as a companion plant for the pumpkins to keep the squash bugs at bay. That backfired! I love their leaves too.

      The California poppies are spectacular. They’re up everywhere: along freeways, in gardens, and in formal settings. I love them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I had no idea that birds were attracted to different color flowers. I suppose it makes sense. I do like the hot colors. This year, I’ve added in some extra blues to cool down my bouquets. And a bit more white!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here is another tidbit I read: many birds avoid white as it’s often how other birds show aggression. We have a gorgeous white Camellia that I would never want to part with I’m now going to pay more attention to the birds interaction. White provides a nice contrast, doesn’t it?


  3. I loved learning this about the birds!!!! I’m going shopping for those colors on Friday when I buy company groceries. I haven’t even started work outside but yesterday was the last day of rain for the year. We may get a drop here and there but no more real rain. Time to hook up the hose. 😉 Your photos make ready to garden. Spring! Yay!


    • Marlene, it’s amazing the amount of information to be found on the web. I had always assumed it was the yellow center that attracted birds and bees. It’s really quite varied. I’ll continue to plant “the rainbow” I guess.

      I’m glad your rain is behind you. I’m happy to hear you’ll have company, too. Enjoy! xo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Loving all your photo’s ! But especially the hummer 😀 I always prefer the cooler colours like pink, lavender, periwinkle or even white. But one year I planted orange and hot pink together and it was a real ‘kapow-ie’ . I thought it looked almost Moroccan. It didn’t really match the inside view looking out. By that I mean, the inside of our house is all cooler colours. I guess Oprah plants like that too. If she’s in a pink and yellow room, the view outside is all pink and yellow. If the room is blue, the view outside is blue. Blue is a tricky colour in the garden. There’s hardly any blue flowers, most being a shade of Lavender really. Apparently there are blue poppies but I’ve never grown them. I remember buying the seeds at Butchard Gardens but I can’t remember where I’ve put them, LOL. I wish this was smell-o-vision because I want to smell the freesia and hyacinths sooo bad. Cheers my dear! xo


    • What an interesting idea planting flowers to match the room from where they’re viewed. I’ve never thought of that. Of course the garden is 90% green and my walls are mostly green, so I guess it works from most rooms.

      The freesia are so fragrant this year. I haven’t noticed the lavender yet, but perhaps by summer it will be given off a nice scent.

      I hope you’ve had a good day in the BoomRoom. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What an interesting amalgam of thoughts for your readers to ponder on Alys. I didn’t know that about the birds and colour either. It’s amazing what we can find out now with the great www 🙂
    For me the yellows are the first sign of spring – the daffodils and early cheers are first up here and the more varied colour flowers like hyacinths follow on. I’m not a big fan of orange in the garden – or pink – and avoid those colours. I really don’t know why. Though I did notice a bit of pink sneaking in this past summer in the annuals. I look for blues, purples and whites and mix them with reds and yellows. My tiny garden though is looking to go to rest for the next five months. I shall just enjoy the colour inside for now and enjoy perusing my northern hemisphere friends adventures in their gardens.


    • Pauline, I love doing research on the web. It’s a veritable treasure-trove of information. Some of my favorite sites are the university research departments and of course I’m a huge fan of Wikipedia.

      I’ve heard hear that yellow is the first color of spring, and here, the dandelion’s provide a meal for the monarch butterflies as they begin their migration. Do you have monarch’s in New Zealand as well? I saw some gorgeous butterflies at Hobbiton, and they were so varied in color and wing shapes.

      Like you, I’m fond of purples and whites. They provide a lovely compliment to each other. The nasturtiums were an attempt to dissuade the dreaded squash bugs. They’re supposed to help keep them at bay. Unfortunately, they die off at the first sign of heat, so that plan backfired. OR…maybe they don’t even show up because of the early “nasturtium warning system”. Who knows. I’m just grateful that they’ve not been back for several years. Ick!

      Will you do anything to put your garden to sleep, so to speak, like cover pots or compost your summer annuals?


  6. Your photography is truly spectacular 🤗 You’ve really developed quite a skill.

    Since visiting all the beautiful flowers in your yard in person isn’t really a comfortable option for me anymore, it’s nice to get to see it up close in all it’s glory!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sharon. That’s nice of you to say. I’ve really enjoyed teaching myself how to be a better photographer, and have found that my blog really helps give me a place to focus those skills. There is so much to learn, and hopefully one day I’ll have time to take a class.

      I’m glad you can still visit the front garden!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Gosh, Sara, that ice and snow sound brutal. I feel for you, as I know you enjoy the garden and outdoor time like I do. You get such a short summer to enjoy it all. I’m sure when the weather does improve you make the most of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the ‘eyelashes’ in the nasturtiums. I must inspect my nasturtiums more closely. I have a lot of orange flowers in the garden this year. Last year the garden had a lot of blue. I don’t think I consciously choose colour themes but I did consciously plant some succulents in hanging baskets recently; that was an inspiration from one of your posts.


    • I’m delighted to hear about your potted succulents. Thanks for sharing that. As I’ve been taking photos, it appears I’ve chosen the whole rainbow of colors. Though orange has not traditionally been a favorite, I love the way they brighten the grey days and fill the garden with color.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I do wish you lived closer to me as I could really use some help with my yard. This May Stephen will be having his hip replacement so we will hiring some help for the yard. I intend to ask at the interview if they have any knowledge of blooming things as well HEE HEE. Hey, you have to take advantage when you can and I am desperate at this point. Yours is beautiful and I love to be there in photo’s and in my mind. Of course I have always loved California for it’s abundance of fauna and fruit. I do miss the fresh stuff and the sea. Enjoy your spring. Ours has been wet and cold so far. But it’s beginning to bloom. Thanks for sharing.


    • Hello Amy! Best of luck to Stephen with his hip replacement. I have a Pilates friend with a replaced hip, and she said it was quite an amazing improvement in both pain reduction and function. I hope Stephen has the same outcome.

      I wish I could pop over for tea and a garden chat. It sounds like you may have a good set of eyes to help soon if not already.

      It is hard to beat California’s rich soil and temperate climates. Our arid summers are a challenge, but I’ve learned so much after several drought years about planting with natives. I’m saving water while at the same time attracting all sorts of beneficial birds, bees and bugs to the colorful show. Win-win!

      PS Has spring finally shown up for good?


  9. I’m amazed to see your nasturtiums, Alys, although your climate is of course warmer than ours. I’m actually wondering if the cold winter we had will see off last year’s seeds. Time will tell….


    • Helen, the nasturtiums came up early, and saw a bit of frost damage to the leaves, but they sprang back and continue to grow. For us, they’re in the last throes of spring. The heat usually does them in. I need the box for the tomatoes, so it should all work out in the end. Let me know if your’s show up. Fingers crossed.


  10. I love spring in Virginia – dogwoods, magnolias, red buds – so beautiful. However, this year we’ve had so much back and forth – snow/sun/snow/wind, etc. that I’m not loving spring as much as usual. All your colors are beautiful!


  11. Aren’t nasturtiums forgiving little things? They have happy colours, ramble where they will and then pop up somewhere else next year. It sounds like your poppies are similar. I like the blues and whites, but have just bought two everlasting daisy bushes ~ one a glowing orange and the other bright yellow ~ so perhaps my tastes are changing. It’s no surprise to me that your favourite colours are also ones that attract hummingbirds!


    • Anne, yes! Both the nasturtiums and the poppies repopulate each year. I just noticed a dark red nasturtium yesterday. That was an unexpected surprise. Most of them are orange or yellow. I love gardening!


    • How nice to hear from you! Flowers and greenery definitely lift one’s spirits. I’ve surrounded myself with house plants, flowers, bulbs, anything that I could grow regardless of wear I lived. I even planted corn on year in a rental with the worlds worst soil. I only garnered a few ears of corn, but it was still worth it.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I love these bold colours you have for spring Alys! The orange poppies are especially lovely and I have never managed to grow them in this garden,,, maybe the slugs and snails like them too! My bright colours right now are the tulips and still a few narcissi. Have a lovely spring weekend!


      • 😉 Thanks for the link Alys. I could grow them in my first garden, but here they have never got as far as flowering so I think the snails are to blame, and I refuse to use any snail or slug pellets for fear of poisoning a hedgehog or bird! The article reminded me that my Nigella should be showing up now, so I must check in the morning – that is not on the snail menu usually and reappears fairly reliably. 🙂


        • Cathy, I don’t use poison in my garden either. I don’t have the heart or the stomach for it and further to your point, if you poison a rodent, you’re probably also poisoning an owl.

          My nigella just started to flower! They’re originally from a wildflower seed packet, but it was you that helped me identify them for the first time. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    • Silicon Valley used to be all about agriculture. Before tech moved in, the valley supported prune orchards and peach trees. We still grow garlic in nearby Gilroy, home to the annual Garlic Festival, and we go to the movies at a shopping center known as The PruneYard. It’s amazing how far we’ve come from these agricultural roots, but it also explains our fertile soil and fabulous growing weather. When I visited DC a few years back, I was struck by the daffodils newly emerging in April. Here they’re up in February and are already done for the season.

      Pictured above, the freesia are at the end of their bloom cycle and the daffodils are done. Everything else will continue till late spring, and some into the summer. I know, I know…I’m so lucky to live in a place that allows me to scratch the earth year round.


  13. I LOVE Spring, despite the fact that I’m an allergy sufferer. I sat out in the garden today …sneezing…and loving every minute of it. I agree with you about weeds…some are really lovely .Pretty post!


  14. My California poppies reseeded from last year and have taken over! I don’t wear orange, but in nature it is one of my favorite colors. I think probably because you just cannot dismiss it! I love seeing what’s growing in your garden, Alys. It is a wonderful time of year for anyone appreciating a colorful garden. 🙂


    • I love all the flowers that reseed each year. They always feel like a gift. After reading a bit about the growing habits of California poppies, I’ve noticed that mine also thrive next to hot sidewalks and walkways. They seem to prefer a rugged terrain.

      I’m a natural red-head, though the color has faded considerably with age, so orange as well as pink and red don’t flatter me at all. But like you, I think they’re magnificent pops of color in the garden.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: Spring Colors: Cool as a Cucumber* – Gardening Nirvana

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