Orange Bulbs

Sat, 20 Mar 2004 01:32:21 PST
Jamie Vande    Cologne    Germany    Zone 8

Mary Sue, if it's anything like daylilies, orange is the least favourite colour in the garden!  All the pity, as it can be used to wonderful advantage and must not be screaming.  Although, one of my favourites is orange, hot pink and cream yellow together.  Definitely loud, but that is the point.

I could list dozens of wonderful orange Hemerocallis, but, really, although being geophytes, they are not a focus for this group.  I am fond of the currently favourite pot plant Ornithogalum dubium, which one finds  en masse in garden centres around Easter.  Of course, I am currently nurturing some seedlings of the yellow variant!

I do like Crocus acyrensis, which is the first in my lawn each year.  Some have argued that it is not ornage, but as an artist, I can assure you, they are one of the purist cadmium oranges I have ever found in nature.  I wonder if the clones we grow in northern Europe are different to others in colour, or, perhaps, the light in our latitude changes the perception of tone?  This is very common with blues, which are considerably more intense in the extreme North/South than closer to the temperate zones.

I cannot forget my all time favourite Frittilaria imperialis, which comes in so many wonderful tones from red right through to yellow.  Mine are popping up and look to be loaded with buds!  Interestingly, the new bulbs I planted in the Autumn (if you remember, I was trying to establish a new bed and take some notes) haven't shown their noses.  They are a tiny bit shadier and, of course, new!

Under the Narcissus, the orange cupped "Jetfire", from N. cyclamineus breeding, is a far forward favourite for the lawn.  Every year, the clumps increase an impress more and more.  I've noted the cup starts out light cadmium and deepens to a deep cadmium over the first few days, much as many yellows pale, but in the opposite direction.  Although extremely common, "Jetfire" is an amazing cultivar not to be brushed aside due to it ubiquitousness.  And it politely dies down just at the right moment to mow the grass!

Tulipa "Princess Irene" is a fav orange flamed in burgundy.  Excellent as a cut flower and very reliable for me.  Chasmanthe floribunda is new in the garden, but I purchased it due to it's interesting orange colouring.  Along with many Crocosmias, the combination of colour and inflourescence bring a special charm into the garden.  I often associate colour and form, which is what makes a plant combination work in the first place and there are so many wonderful variations in Nature's realm to choose from.  I have actually painted one garden wall deep ultramarine to better set-off bright coloured blossoms.  It is partially coverd by variegated Hedera cultivars, splashed white, cream, yellow to gold.  The effect is exquisite and not at all loud.  Funnily enough, most visitors do not even comment on the intense colouring, they simply mention they particularly like that area of the garden.  Tells me something about our perception of environment!

The most interesting deep red-orange in my garden is on Lilium pardalinum, a personal triumph, as lilies have always proven difficult subjects for me.  I do have one smallish clump of L. henryi, which brings a special joy each summer, the blossoms are uniquely decorative and soft orange-apricot.

I've started quite a few Watsonia and Homeria (the new name is missing this early in the morning) as well as quite a few Romuleas, which will possibly bear a few oranges.  I'll let you all know in a few seasons.

That's about it for orange in my garden.  I love all the plant that I have.  Oh, yeah, I, also, have some very cool seedlings of Kniphofia in coral orange.  This is such a fabulous genus, bridging from geophyte to succulent and bringing the aloe-like spikes of colour into the temperate garden.  Dave Fenwick knows what I'm talking about!

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