Wednesday, August 11th, 2010...12:00 am

Monochromatic Gardens: Creating an Orange-Themed Garden

Orange flower garden by happysoul81

Anne in Chicago had once asked me what plants she should use in her front yard. Because I knew that orange was her favorite color, I gave her a list of orange flowers that bloom throughout the season that she might like to try. I thought it would  be exciting for her to create an orange garden.

I suggested orange Hemerocallis fulva aka Day lilies, Orange Asiatic lilies and other lilies like the Tiger liliesgeums, orange zinnias and marigolds, orange Lucifer crocosmia, even orange roses like Livin’Easy, one of my favorites, or Arizona – there are a lot of orange flower choices.

Anne’s husband isn’t that fond of a one color theme for his flower beds so my list was never used.  I am disappointed that it was never used. I think an orange garden would have been Hot, Hot, Hot. I wish I had enough sun on my property to have an orange themed garden.

White Garden, Sissinghurst by pillager

People have designed monochromatic or one colored gardens. I visited a garden in Holland where the owner had only yellow flowers in it. A one color themed garden that has a worldwide reputation is in England and is called Sissinghurst. See here.   You must understand that the Sissinghurst garden is NOT an orange garden.  It has only white flowers. But Vita Sackville-West may have been the first person to create a one colored garden. And the Sissinghurst white garden is lovely.

But I have never seen an all orange garden. Perhaps TheGardenLady readers know of one. Of course, if one doesn’t like just orange one can add other colors to the orange garden palette, colors like yellow, red, green and even white would still be hot.

Back to the orange theme. Besides the orange plants that TheGardenLady had recommended that were mostly nonnative, there have recently been new hybrids of a plant that is native to the prairies; so they would be great in the heat of Chicago as well as the rest of the country that is suffering from this heat wave. In fact one of the two main breeders in the United States is the Chicago Botanic Garden, the other is Saul Brothers of Atlanta, Georgia so you know these plants will tolerate heat – up to Zone 9.

These plants thrive in harsh climates and once established they are drought tolerant.  However they will grow in cooler Zones 3 or 4 .They are easy maintenance plants, disease resistant, deer don’t like them, they have a very long summer bloom time – sometimes more than 3 months – with big showy flowers that can  be up to 5 inches – and some say they have  some fragrance. These plants like  well-drained, preferably dry soils in raised beds with average to low nutrients. (TheGardenLady’s are not growing in raised beds.)  Butterflies, bees and hummingbirds love them.

Untitled by code poet

Have you guessed which plant I am writing about that sounds like the perfect garden plant?  I am raving about the Echinacea or coneflower plant. I am in love with this plant. I must say that before breeders around the world started making all the new varieties, I thought the coneflower to be a ho-hum flower – something to have in the garden but not a favorite. But now that there are something like 40 named varieties in the market, I am a convert.  And the breeders have created some outstanding coneflowers that are ORANGE.

I bought Echinacea Tikki torch a few years ago. The color was sensational but, alas, the plant did not come back this year. I couldn’t seem to find it in nurseries near me so next year I will have to order it online. This year the breeders seemed to come out with even more orange echinaceas. So this year I bought Echinacea Hot papaya. But I could have chosen Echinacea Coral Reef or Echinacea Tangerine dream. There are other pretty colors, if you don’t care for orange.  It was a tough choice for me to make since I liked some of the other colors, too.

Like my garden, you don’t have to have an orange garden to plant Echinaceas.  My Echinaceas are in a variety of colors including that old variety of coneflower that I thought was boring. Some of the newer Echinaceas that I have include Echinacea Pink Double Delight and Echinacea Coconut Lime.  See here.

I hope TheGardenLady readers are including Echinaceas in your gardens. And if you do have a monochromatic garden or create one, we would love to see photos of it with a list of the plants that you chose.

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