There is no need to stick to rigid colour combination rules, experimenting is part of the fun of producing your kind of colour scheme. Some like having a glorious mass of different colours, and in nature they never seem to clash, but knowing how to use colour throughout the different seasons can make a big difference to the final scene. Whether your patch is to be bright and cheery, or a haven of peace and tranquillity, will influence your choices. The hot colours...red, orange, yellow...are exciting, stimulating and demand attention: the cool colours...green, blue, purple, and white… restful calming, and recede into the background. When choosing plants and planning a colourful border, remember to select plants that flower at the same time in order to achieve your scene. As well as colour and flowering season, think about height and contrasts in shape. Tall upright plants like foxgloves, irises and day-lilies mix well with wide flower heads such as sedum and yarrow and spherical heads like alliums and dahlias. The colour value of plants used, i.e. how bright, pale or dark the foliage and flowers are likely to be, bearing in mind that this changes with the season. A small area of light colour in a sea of much darker planting creates a powerful image. Repetition of colour is an old trick to avoid a riot of shades. e.g. if you love red have more than one area if it ...think of block planting of the same colour plant. Pale colours reflect light and brighten up a shady corner. Bright colours can look vibrant and wonderful in the sun while pastel colours will look pale and insignificant Cool and pale colours give a sense of depth : bright colours appear closer. Planted at the end of a border, pale colours make it look longer, while bright colours shorten it. These ideas can apply to colour in the garden all year round, using conifers, trees, bulbs, shrubs, annuals and perennials, and can make an artist out of a gardener.