Tangerine Tango: From Fashion to Flowers

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., December 9, 2011 – With the announcement of Pantone's color of the year – Tangerine Tango – there's a mad dash to be on-trend in fashion, electronics, furnishings and beyond. But what about trendy gardens? Should we even encourage such a thing?

"Yes," says Amy Dube, a flower bulb expert with Dig.Drop.Done™. "The flowers you grow are an expression of who you are, just like clothing or interiors. But it's an element we often don't incorporate into our design schemes."

When you plan your garden, think about the color schemes and decorative styles inside your house, too. Many summer bulbs including gladiolas, dahlias and most lilies, make excellent cut flowers for indoor arrangements. Tall, spiky gladiolas feel modern, while round dahlias fit with rustic or casual décor, and elegant lilies pair well with formal settings.

So how do we take this all-the-rage color into the garden? Dube offers these color schemes and flowers for your summer garden, deck or window box.

Single minded

Like a gutsy red head, hot orange flowers command your attention. To make sure they stand out, plant them in concentrated groups of 15 to 20 bulbs.

  • A mass of blooms flanking the front walk or driveway makes a fiery entrance. Try orange tiger lilies or low-growing dahlia varieties.
  • You know that awkward space on either side of your deck stairs – the area that reveals all your lawn equipment and toys supposedly hidden under the deck? Cover that space with dinner plate dahlias, which grow three- to four-feet-tall and sport blooms from six- to nine-inches-wide! Plant border or low growing dahlia varieties (15-inches-tall) in front to complete the screen.

Striking Contrast

Opposites attract, or at least they pair well. Orange's complementary color is blue, so any deep purple blossom combined with orange will make an arresting tableau.

  • Plant low-growing summer bulbs like begonias around the base of dusky purple Black Magic elephant ears.
  • Set mid-height blooms like orange fritillaria against a backdrop of royal purple alliums, for a contrast in bloom shape as well as color.

Citrus Blend

Flowers are a highly emotional plant because of their amazing range of colors. Evoke cooling and refreshment during the hot summer months with a citrusy color palette — zesty lime and lemony yellows with orange and a touch of white.

  • Combine yellow, white and orange lilies in a flower bed or along an embankment.
  • Mix orange dahlias (try Prince of Orange) with yellow dahlias (like Kelvin Floodlight) for a combination as bright as sunshine.
  • Group yellow, white and orange gladiolas against a white fence, well or other light-colored structure.

Fire starter

Mimic the colors of glowing embers in yellow, red and orange.

  • Group masses of low-growing red, orange and yellow begonias together in a long flower bed, from lightest (yellow) to darkest (red), creating an ombre effect.
  • The dwarf canna Lucifer or the Rosemond Cole canna look like flames in a single bloom. The Lucifer has rich red blooms tinged with yellow and the Rosemond's orange blooms have yellow edges.

All of these color schemes can be recreated indoors as well, when cut flowers are brought into the house. Use colored vases, old bottles, tinted mason jars, table runners and table cloths to set off the shade of the bloom. Or tint the water in a clear vase using liquid food coloring.

Remember that varieties will differ geographically and between retailers, so ask your local garden expert for flowers that fit the color scheme you want to create.

Look for orangey-red bloomers in these summer-flowering bulbs:

  • Anemone
  • Begonia
  • Canna
  • Crocosmia
  • Dahlia
  • Fritillaria
  • Gladiolus
  • Lily


Mary Leigh Howell
(336) 317-7713