In this, the last of the 3 part series of Living Colour, we look at colours that stimulate. Bold colours are highlighted here and various tones of red, orange and yellow are used to create an invigorating, up-beat and energetic environment.

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These colours are typically favoured by younger people, keen for high energy and dramatic statements. Vibrant colours can heighten your senses and create a mood that is fast and daring. Notice that sports cars are usually red or yellow.

Red is the colour of passion: hot and lusty. Beware of anyone bearing a gift of red flowers … they may be asking for more than you’re willing to give them in the heat of the moment!

Used in other ways, the colour red stimulates our senses. Have you ever noticed that restaurants and diners are often painted red? This is to stimulate your appetite to eat more.

Reds are good to use in the garden if you want to stimulate a tired visitor, or you want to get a bit of movement from people.

Remember also, that for people who are already highly stimulated this can work against you. The saying to “see red” should be remembered because reds may actually invoke anger in some highly agitated or anxious people.

So use red in your garden with caution.

Popular red flowers include roses, lilies, tulips, dahlias, camellias and poppies. You can team these with red foliage from maples, poinsettia, red cannas and Japanese sacred bamboo.

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Australian wildflowers that are red include waratah, Sturt’s desert pea, bottlebrush, correa and grevillea.

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Yellow is the other mood enhancing colour bringing cheer and happiness into the arena. A bunch of happy sunflowers in the garden or in a vase indoors always seems to brighten the mood of the viewer.

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Like the colour red, yellow can similarly cause feelings of over stimulation such as anger and frustration and it is also the most visually fatiguing colour because the amount of light it reflects. So mix reds and yellows with their combined colour, orange to lessen the strain and impact.

Orange is said to remind people the warmth of summer fun and frolicking.

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So try some colour combinations at home in the garden or in pots or even in vases indoors to lift the mood. And don’t forget to take a visit to Floriade in Canberra, held every year to get a taste of all things colourful.