Orange Flowers: The New Gorgeous
What is the easiest way to add intrigue to your garden? Of course, it's with color. And since "orange is the new black," or should I say, the new red, it's the perfect choice.
A Spectrum of Colors
Orange flowers derive their color name from the fruit and span a spectrum of pigments, as diverse as their blooms. The color of orange flowers can range from the soft, pastel peach of the lightest orange tulips to a captivating depth of color in the apricot daylily, carnation, and hibiscus.
More Shades of Orange
Even more intense shades of orange flowers include the deep luscious melon of autumn sage, crown imperial, gerber, begonia, impatiens, California poppy, and the Sedona rose, among others.
Sedona rose (purchased at Jackson and Perkins, bare root, (www.jacksonandperkins.com)
There are also at least 160 different Hawaiian flower and plant species. In the orange flower family, some of the names include bougainvillea and the bird of paradise.
Bird of Paradise
The Color Wheel
When considering which colors are complementary to orange, it is a good idea to consult a color wheel. It demonstrates the relationship between colors. Yellows and reds are main-stay, analogous, combinations often found in nature.
If you're searching for a color that will provide the strongest contrast to orange, then your best bet is with a complementary color that "will draw the most attention, and is extremely pleasing to the eye." That color is directly opposite orange on the color wheel. And that color is blue.
Not only gardeners and florists but even painters like Van Gogh, Monet, and Renoir, used this knowledge to great effect, and in very dramatic ways. Once, in a letter to his brother, Theo, Van Gogh wrote that "there is no orange without blue." The brilliance and energy emitted by the striking contrast of the orange shade complement the sharpest blues, with dark purples, magentas, and yellows a close second."
What Else Can Orange Flowers Be Used For?
Orange flowers can also be found in an unlikely place, produced by an unlikely species. The Arizona desert is home to various types of cacti that can grow orange flowers, from the Christmas cactus to the organ pipe and barrel cactus, as well as the prickly pear. Not only are the flowers edible, but they can also be used to make wine. WineMaker Magazine recommends using prickly pear flowers, which can be orange, yellow, red or pink. Their recipe for cactus flower wine includes among its ingredients: sugar, cactus flowers, white grape juice, water, grape tannin and yeast.
Orange Flowers Offer Lasting Beauty
Orange flowers grow in a variety of USDA zones, mostly from 7-10, and come in a variety of shapes, hues, and sizes, and in a variety of forms, from perennials to bulbs. Best of all, they offer lasting beauty in your garden from mid-spring to late autumn, and for some bulbous flowering plants, as late as early winter.
So, if you are searching for the perfect complement to the usual assortment of flowers in your garden or just want to add a "pop of color" and mix things up, orange flowers may be one of your most daring choices!