When someone mentions the month of October what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it Halloween and a carved Jack-O-Lantern or maybe the changing of the colors of the leaves? Perhaps it is the warmth and glow of a fire on that first brisk evening of the fall or the color of a harvest moon? The one thing that all of these images have in common is the color orange! Mixing the energy of red with the happiness of yellow produces the joy of the color orange and this is certainly a most appropriate color for this time of year.
There is no doubt that orange is a particularly dominant color in the fall landscape. Pumpkin, squash, and gourds may be the most well-known examples of the color orange at this time of year but you won’t have to look too hard to see that it is everywhere. Orange Chrysanthemums look beautiful in containers and you can find the color orange as the singular color of a Pansy flower or in stunning combinations with colors such as purple, blue, yellow or red. An often overlooked flower that is easy to grow from seed is Calendula also known as Pot Marigold. This pretty flower loves the cooler temperatures found in the fall and like Pansies it can survive the winter cold to bloom again for you next Spring. Finally, don’t forget the fallen leaves of Maple, Oak, and Beech trees which can be made into wreaths or other fall decorations.
Once fall turns to winter you may think that the color orange takes a holiday but guess again! The Pyracantha shrub also called Firethorn can be trained to grow on a wall and it has the most stunning orange colored berries which feed and shelter the birds all winter long. Indoor plants such as Freesia, Amaryllis, and Kalanchoe can boost your spirits with their orange blooms and toward the end of the winter Witch Hazel’s orange flowers will provide a much-needed reminder that spring is right around the corner.
As spring draws near the color orange begins to assert itself more vigorously. Those Pansies and maybe Calendula that we talked you into planting last fall emerge from their winter nap and they are joined by a variety of spring flowering bulbs including Tulips and Orange Monarch Crocus. Try mixing English Wallflowers with blue Forget-Me-Knots for a stunning and colorful early spring combination and as mid-spring arrives watch out for the stately Bearded Iris and California Poppies which love dry soil conditions. As spring draws to a close Daylilies will be in great abundance and if you have wet soil conditions try growing Trollius which has a unique orange flower that goes well with purple Japanese Iris.
Finally, as summer takes hold the color orange competes with yellow and red for your attention and that isn’t just limited to the flower border. The vegetable garden gets in on the act too! Orange Bell Peppers can be sweet and Habanero Peppers are among the hottest and spiciest Peppers around. Orange heirloom Tomatoes and carrots are as eye-catching as they are tasty and before the summer ends you’ll be enjoying Sweet Potatoes. There are also plenty of great orange annuals that we all know about which bloom in the summer. Marigolds, Zinnias, and Cosmos are easy to grow from seed but if you want to try something different plant Tithonia, also known as Mexican Sunflower, which provides plenty of pretty flowers that you can use in floral arrangements or a beautiful Canna. Perennials won’t take a backseat during the summer as new varieties of Coneflower with orange flowers are available and Helenium can be a great addition to your yard as it provides late summer color when many perennials have stopped blooming.
Now, after reading all about it orange you glad it's October?
Poppy and Tomatoes photo courtesy of Jill Mazur