When I first started out in gardening, in my younger days, I would turn my nose up at orange flowers, ‘I don’t do orange!’ they were too gaudy and brash! I liked the restrained look of Vita Sackville-West’s white garden, or a subtle mix of pinks and blues.
I’m not sure what or when it happened, but I love a splash of orange now! I’m not sure if I’ve just come to realise that there’s a place for all colours in a garden (still don’t do black leaves though!!) or even on a more physiological view, as we age does our visual acuity change to the extent that we appreciate the vibrancy of colour more. Maybe I’ve just grown up as a gardener!!
I’ve even got an amber and amethyst garden now, full of oranges from peach to rust, calmed down with all shades of purple. Late summer, early autumn it is glorious with all the yellows and oranges. This is the area I’m redesigning at the moment, so my favourite orange plants are stashed around the rest of the garden whilst their corner of the garden is sorted.
At the last Harrogate show I bought some big lily bulbs, they came into flower in just the last couple of days. I always keep a beady eye out for lily beetle on these big bulbs.
I love day lilies too, their flowers may be fleeting, but they produce them in such abundance that it doesn’t matter. I’ve got a big plant in the middle of the area I’m clearing, I’m just waiting for it to finish flowering before I dig it up and move it somewhere temporarily.
Roses are another favourite and last autumn I treated myself to a new rose, it’s called Lady Emma Hamilton. The buds are a beautiful blood-orange, then the roses open to a delicate shade of tangerine-pink. I usually plant three roses close together to make one big bush, so it’s going to take pride of place in my AA garden.
Teasing Georgia is climbing over our arch, another beautiful rose is called Buttercup. I love the simplicity of this one and the gentle cupped shape.
Crocosmia can run a bit wild, infact I dug up a huge patch (from the AA garden) as they just got too invasive. However a couple of years ago I spotted at the Harrogate show a beautiful golden yellow one. The flowers are bigger and more rounded than others. It’s gorgeous and at the moment it doesn’t look like it’s going to go too mad…fingers crossed!
Another one in flower at the moment is an helenium, it’s a gorgeous rusty colour, it usually flowers well into the autumn too. Some of the perennial wallflowers have lovely rusty shades too, this one is a rusty orange with purple.
I bought my first alstromeria at Harrogate show this year too, one of my friends has some gorgeous ones and they’ve clumped up amazingly, so I bit the bullet this year and bought one. Even better, once my garden is organised I’ve been promised a clump from my friend…now there’s an incentive to get cracking!
Hopefully, with a bit (or a lot!) of hard work, I’ll get my garden looking like this again, this photo was taken last August in my AA garden. The poem ‘When I grow old I shall wear purple’ comes to mind, maybe there should be another line of ‘When I grow old I shall plant orange flowers…’