Friday, July 27, 2012

Red, Orange, Yellow

For years I banned red and orange from my gardens then I met my friend Sue who is a genius with container plantings and especially using tropicals in her pots. I gradually began experimenting with hotter colors and bold tropical plantings and over the last eight years have created a thirty foot border of containter plantings. A couple years ago I started arranging them in color wheel order so no the border segues from red through oranges then yellow. Red and orange are still strictly banned from the perennial/shrub borders but I'm having so much fun playing with these hot colors in my tropical container border.

The red section

This dwarf canna is a terrific true red

I've had this great dahlia for four years now. I just throw the pot in the basement for the winter after the frost has taken the top off

Another great find this year was these red sunpatiens

Abutilon 'Voodoo' is a fantastic clean red

And this pentas is a gorgeous red too.  I wish I could save this one for next year but have no more room for wintering over plants.

Musa 'Siam Ruby' - It's veering toward red-violet but it looks good in the red section so it stays

Orange section - the variegated Brugmansia is the star of this section but won't be blooming for a couple more weeks yet. A couple highlights are the Achemea 'Blanchetiana' and Euphorbia 'Sticks on Fire' in the foreground. 


Coreopsis 'Tropical Lemonade'


Got to love the hot, hot, hot color of Tithonia. The Canna 'Pretoria' in the background of this image has orange flowers that will start blooming in a week or so.

The bees and hummingbirds love the Tithonia also

Cuphea ignea


Yellow section, again the Brugmansia, this one is 'Charles Grimaldi', is the key plant in this vignette but the brug won't be showing off it's fabulous yellow flowers for another few weeks.

Love the Coleus 'Swallowtail' in the lower right of the container with the Cuphea

Cuphea micropetala

The Hummingbirds really love all the cupheas

Lantana again, can't beat them for clean primary colors

And a variegated lantana


I'll have to update this when the Brugmansias and large Cannas begin blooming. The color is out of this world!


  1. Coreopsis 'Tropical Lemonade' is gorgeous. There are so many new coreopsis out there now and they don't do badly in drought times either. I'll have to look for it.

    If you call them "peach" or "salmon" or even 'rust" instead of orange, I bet you could use some of these plants in your perennial areas. ;)

    1. LOL Marie, I'm thinking I'm going to have to add some oranges/peaches to my new border in the front. Terra Nova has some fabulous new Echinacea and Kniphofia in peach tones that I must have.

  2. Oh so pretty! The hummingbird enjoying the tithonia is my favorite shot.

  3. So glad you decided to come over to the dark side or else we wouldn't have all this loveliness to enjoy! The hummingbird shots are incredible.

  4. My hats off to anyone who can photograph a red flower Deanne ! Such beautiful shots of all ..I am quite partial to the yellow area though.Are your Brugs late this year ?

    1. Many thanks Kathy, you need to visit again and we can play with Lightroom. One needs to add blue and red usually. Reds almost always look orange in an image and removing the yellow shifts the color back to true red...

      Yes the brugs are VERY late this year. Too much painting/teaching work and there was no one around to help Doug get them up from the basement (I just can't do that anymore it wrecks my back) so they didn't see the light of day until the end of May so it's a miracle that they are even alive. I seriously thought B 'Charles Grimaldi' was dead and almost took it to the dump but decided to give it a chance and I'm so glad I did. Charles is bouncing back in good fashion but won't be the magnificent specimen it was last year but at least it is alive and will bloom soon.

  5. What incredible drama these colors bring! My one tithonia didn't make it, so it's nice to see your beautiful photos of it. My Siam Ruby is just getting going, as are the castor beans -- temps are still springlike here, but I understand from Sue and Lisa it's been rather warm in your area ;)

    1. Thanks Denise! I truly love pink flowers but nothing can beat the drama of these very hot colors concentrated in one area. Sorry about your Tithonia. We first saw this plant at an Idyllunion years ago at NYBG and it was a huge, fabulous specimen. I've not been terribly successful with it in a combination container and am happy to see it's liking having its own pot this year.

  6. Fabulous job Deanne. You've found a lot of great plants that look great together. What a lot of interest this border has.