Orange Punch

The idea for the 2011 annual gardens at the shop started with these pots at a client’s house.  I did not plant these-I was there consulting on another matter entirely.  I was so struck by how beautiful the orange cannas were-the flowers reminded me much of a clivia. She told me she got them from Telly’s Greenhouse; I called George straight away this spring to see if he planned to carry them again.  When he told me he had hundreds of them for sale, I responded in kind.  I planted lots them in the roof boxes, and in all 6 of the big concrete pots out front.   

It is a strikingly beautiful flower. Lushly tropical in appearance, it looks even better against a blue sky.  The large, juicy looking blue green leaves are just as attractive as the flowers.  I could feel a scheme coming on. 

Margaret Roach egged me on; she posted about a new Potunia variety called Papaya.  I called George again-was he growing this potunia?  The color is every bit as unusual and luscious as Margaret promised. They seem to be a decent growers-this is a big plus in an annual plant. I planted it in the ground with neon petunias.  I am a fan of orange and carmine together.  The color orange in annual plants is highly variable. There are those yellow toned carrot oranges-as in Magellan zinnias and Orange Punch cannas.  There is that brilliant medium orange on steriods, as in Sonic Scarlet New Guinea impatiens.  There are those blue tinged oranges, as in Caliente ornage geraniums, and these Papaya potunias. 

Surprisingly, all of the oranges do not look so swell together.  I needed to mix some other colors to create a sense of visual community.  The very dark carmine potunias and a little lemon yellow from yellow supertunias, vanilla butterfly marguerites and trailing lantana gives this container a happy family look.  I could feel a party coming on.

The Sonic series of New Guinea impatiens deliver a jolt of orange like no other plant I know of.  Given enough sun and plenty of water, they perform beautifully.I was warming up to the idea of a wide mix of colors in celebration of the color orange in the windowboxes and beds.       

The boxes have lime nicotiana (a staple green in my gardening diet), misty lilac wave petunias, orange dahlias, orange geraniums, Butterfly marguerites, and neon petunias.  To come, some dark purple trailing verbena, and some lavender star verbena.  The corner pot has those Sonic scarlet New Guineas in it-I have not quite figured out what else should go with it.

The Solenia series of begonias are my favorites-they are the most forgiving of  of any large flowered begonia. They also tolerate a good bit of sun.  The toothy olive green coleus with the dark red violet stems?  I do not have a name, but I really like the look. 

On the roof, I planted my beloved Elegant Feather grass-it is a beautiful plant from a distance, and it breaks the wind that whip around up there.  The cannas are small, but they will beef up quickly; it is always hot up there.  Caliente geraniums are a great performer in difficult situations, and they flower continually without any coaxing.  The trailing vinca maculatum are plants from last summer that I wintered over in hanging baskets-I hope they will drape way down the front wall.   

Perhaps the most exotic looking plant in my summer orange repertoire is a coleus called Rainbow Festive Dance.  Bordines grows this plant, and they have great 4″ pots of it right now.  My photograph does not really do it justice; it is olive , orange, carmine and parrot green-on every leaf.  I cannot wait to see these plants grow large.

The bed inside the boxwood is planted with Dazzler Blush impatiens (it has a distinctive orange and carmine eye) Super Elfin Blue Pearl, and solid orange impatiens.  I am hoping it will look like confetti sprinkled thickly on the ground.  A twenty minute soak with my fountain sprinklers, and the bed is thoroughly wet.  Our 4th annual garden tour to benefit the Greening of Detroit is scheduled for Sunday July 17th.  We host a party afterwards-we’ll be ready for company.