ROY G BIV’s Year Round Rainbow Garden

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner


Fiskars Trademark orange plus green ferns illustrate two letters in ROYGBIV

Anyone who studied high school chemistry or physics knows the name Roy G Biv.

He’s not a famous chemist or even a physics teacher; rather his name is an acronym mnemonic for remembering the colors of the rainbow, or those parts of the spectrum visible to the human eye: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.  

Poor Roy doesn’t get any credit for all the in-between hues of color we see, like pink. Devices like color wheels visually present Roy’s order of colors as well as the in-between shades. Plus, with colors presented in a circular diagram, these wheel tools make easy work of combining complimentary colors in any design.

Generally speaking, picking colors opposite each other on the wheel makes for a pleasing combination. For instance, the last letter of Roy’s first name “Y” for yellow is opposite the last letter of his last name “V” for violet. Combined in a planter, these two colors are highly complimentary. And, while colors adjacent in Roy’s name may look great together, they can also visually disappear in the landscape as well. For instance a light blue against deep green can pop, but place that same light blue adjacent to a slate gray and much of the beauty of both can disappear.

Rarely do we find the letters of Roy’s name displayed with perfect accuracy in the garden. With that in mind, consider this visual spelling of his name:

R for Red Lilies in summer:

R for Red Lily

O for Fiskars trademark Orange all year long:

O for Fiskars Orange Multi-Snip

Y for Yellow Azaleas in early spring:

Y for Yellow Azalea plus R for Red Lily

G for layered green, evergreen foliage all year long:

G for Green Foliage plus B for blue Flowers

 B for true Blue Ceanothus in spring:

B for Blue Ceanothus

 I & V for indigo and violet combined in wild Lupine blooms in spring:

I and V for indigo-violet Lupine flowers