Addendum to ‘Deeper Into Orange’

– Posted in: Garden Design

lantana-multi-colored with leaves-resizedSteve’s recent post, Deeper Into Orange, did a magnificent job of showing how to use the color orange in the garden to create certain moods and bring some punch and ‘exoticism’ to a planting scheme, especially in the summer months. His article motivated me to browse through some of my photos to see where orange had been used to create an exuberant feast for the eyes.

Orange flowers with light and dark astilbes-resized

Because most of these photos were taken some time ago, and not in my own garden, I am guessing at what some of the specimens might be. Please feel free to correct any that are mislabeled.

In this first photo, I love how Jock Christie of Doe Run combined what appears to be a sharp orange helianthemum with a grouping of deep and light pink astilbes. Too jarring for your senses? Or does this vignette send an electric current through you with the feeling of  ‘Yes, yes. I must try this combination!” orange flowers in long front walkway-Doe Run-resized

In the front walkway border at Doe Run, soft pink filipendula and golden rudbeckia are juxtapositioned with a two tone burnt orange/yellow gaillardia (?) in the front of the border.  The odd man out here is the soft pink filipendula. The two toned gaillardia and rudbeckia, from the same color family, complement each other nicely. Perhaps the spacing between the plantings allows the eye to more easily adjust to these different colors. I’m loving it. What do you think?

Jock Chrisite-Doe Run-verbena and euphorbia-orange flowers-resized

The orange flowers of Euphorbia (Griffithii  ‘Great Dixter’ ?) with the rich purple Verbena ‘Homestead Purple’ in the front works well with what appears to be a two toned rudbeckia in the right back corner. Like the photo above, because the verbena is the sole specimen from the blue family, it is the stand out planting. But the question for me in this photo is ‘ Is orange used successfully as the base color when contrasted with a planting from another color family?’

Jock Christie- kniphofia towards front of border-resized

Here a grouping of orange kniphofia is surrounded by soft pink, magenta, cerise , blue, yellow and gold colored flowers. Do you think this softer orange color adds something to the picture? Or is it distracting and out of sync with the rest of the colors?

s garden-orange zinnias, beets and sedum angelina-resized

And finally, a photo taken last summer at Nan’s garden: we all already know that she is a master colorist. If you want to learn more about how Nan uses color in her garden designs, check out Nan’s Design Workshop on Color. This photo of Sedum ‘angelina’, a deep maroon beet and Zinnia  ‘Profusion Orange’  doesn’t disappoint. Adding the sharp orange to an already eye pleasing deep maroon and sharp yellow combination makes this vignette a real stand out!

OK…so now it’s your turn. We have learned from our GGW Design Workshops and Photo Contests that all of you enjoy seeing other bloggers’ gardens, especially when dealing with specific issues. Viewing other gardeners’ designs, specimens and plant combinations is a fantastic teaching tool for all of us who are passionate about gardening and are always looking for ways to become more skilled and inspired in our garden making.

For those of you who don’t know how this works, post a photo of an orange plant combination or a solo orange plant on your blog and then link back to us. Can’t wait to see how all of you have used orange in your garden!

Fran Sorin

Fran is the author of the highly-acclaimed book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, which Andrew Weil, M.D., recommends as "a profound and inspiring book."  

A graduate of the University of Chicago with Honors in Psychology, she is also a gardening and creativity expert, coach, inspirational speaker, CBS radio news gardening correspondent, and Huffington Post Contributor.

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Fran Sorin
5 Comments… add one

Leave a Comment

Jeff July 25, 2009, 5:14 am

This is not a great photo, but I have enjoyed the combination of this deep blue Agapanthus ‘Ellamae’ with the double, orange tiger lilies (L. lancifolium). As these fade, hot orange Hamelia patens will take their places to finish out the season.

Nell Jean -- seedscatterer July 25, 2009, 1:51 pm

Lots of orange in my garden, lots of tropicals in summer including Bird of Paradise, Crocosmia, Heliconia.

Nell Jean…
Sounds divine. After all these years of gardening, I still love Crocosmias sweeping through a perennial border! Fran

Chookie July 26, 2009, 8:41 am

Am I right in thinking that it’s saturation that matters, more than hue? I personally think the filipendula looks washed out next to the strong yellow and orange; a deep pink or deep blue would have worked better. OTOH the verbena-euphorbia pairing looks fine to me.

I do agree with you that hue is a critical factor in balancing plantings. Totally understand why you think that the light pink filipendula fade against the sharp colors…but to my eye, I love the softness near the hot palette. Agree that deep pink and blue would work beautifully. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You raise a valid point! Fran

Raji July 26, 2009, 9:21 am

Gr8 article on ‘orange’ and wonderful shots as well. i loved the close-up orange pictures from Steve’s post too.

Here’s some pictures from my garden. Some of them are taken last year. I don’t have any interesting orange plants, these are just annuals..

You really do like orange! I love the silver lambs ears with the marigolds. And if you had told me that those pink petunias positioned next to the marigolds could work without the photos, I would have been extremely doubtful! But it does work! Thanks so much for sharing. Fran

Adam July 28, 2009, 10:08 pm

Hi Fran. Great post! I LOVE working with orange. I have added a few photos to my blog of plant combos with orange flowers/foliage that I find to be successful.

Thanks Adam. Your use of orange in the gardens are magnicifent. I especially love the Helenium ‘Mardi Gras’. Fran

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