The Colours of a Sunset


It seems that I am going through an orange phase in the garden this year. After years of filling borders with pastel tones, when I look around now, at the beginning of September, I see masses of bright yellows, orange and deep, earthy purples. It’s most disconcerting, because it wasn’t intended to be so extensive! I know that I selected seed for several different types of rudbeckia and I suppose that I made a conscious decision to grow yellow cosmos rather than pink, but the rest has come together in a more accidental fashion.

If I show you the photos that took this week, you will see what I mean about the predominance of orange hues:

This is Cosmos sulphureus ‘Cosmic mix’ and an orange Zinnia from the ‘Early Wonder’ mix. Last year I grew Cosmos ‘Bright Lights’, but they ran out of steam very quickly. I’ve found that ‘Cosmic Mix’ is growing much better.

Dahlia ‘Honka Orange’, Rudbeckia ‘Toto Rustic’ and Thunbergia ‘Sunset Shades’

These three are all regulars in the borders, but the ginger lilies and dahlias get lifted for the winter and moved around to different locations each year to create changing vignettes. They are: Hedychium coccineum, Crocosmia × crocosmiiflora ‘Emily Mckenzie’ and Dahlia ‘David Howard’. Our ‘David Howard’ stock seems to be prone to getting odd patches of white on the flowers, but I don’t know whether this is a more widespread phenomenon or just occurs here.

My current favourite sunflower is ‘Earth Walker’. The bees love them and I can’t get enough of those velvety mahogany shades. The multiple heads look particularly wonderful against a blue sky. Next up is Tagetes ‘Cinnabar Dixter’ which I grew from seed to get that amazing burnt orange colour in the mix. The flowers really glow in the sun with a bit of rain on the petals. Definitely on repeat buy (as well as seed collection). The last picture in this batch is Cosmos ‘Klondyke mix’.

These are:- Chrysanthemum ‘Little Dorrit’ (which is beautifully decorated with dew drops in the photo if you peer closely. It was divided and moved in the spring and is rewarding us with a lovely show now) and the ever popular Tithonia rotundifolia ‘Torch’ (another regular).

This final set of photos show Chrysanthemum ‘Bronze Elite’ (filled with rain and looking like a naturalist paperweight), Rudbeckia ‘Rustic mxd’ and another bright red Zinnia.

Well, I can’t say that I regret turning towards the ‘Sunset Shades’ at all. They’ve worked really well with the dark purples of red Orach, Amaranthus ‘Red Army’, Ricinus communis ‘Carmencita’ and Eupatorium ‘Chocolate’ which are repeated through the border. And I have plenty of time to decide which way to go next year.

Do you steer clear of orange shades?

About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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16 Responses to The Colours of a Sunset

  1. Bright colors are perfect for late summer and fall. You have some beauties!

  2. pbmgarden says:

    Lovely shades of orange.

  3. Tina says:

    I don’t think you went the least bit wrong with your oranges–all of your photos are gorgeous. It must be lovely to view.

  4. Eliza Waters says:

    I started picking brighter colors for the garden when I realized one can see them better from a distance. Blues and purples are harder to see. Plus I love the ‘hot’ colors to jazz up a border. You have grown some lovely specimens!

  5. Sam says:

    I love burnt orange and orange-orange but tend to steer clear of more yellowy ones. My favourite colour combo is orange with blue or purple, and Tithonia and zinnias provide that real zing. You have a lovely collection here.

    • I must grow more zinnias next year. Seeing them in the vases makes me realize how indispensible they are. Shame that they damp off so easily though.

      • Sam says:

        I grew them for the first time this year and those that survived the slugs and snails have done well. I reckon 40% survived to flower but I don’t use pellets 😊Seedlings were ok (no damping off).

  6. Gorgeous selection of warm autumn colors!

  7. Brian Skeys says:

    I am very envious of your Ginger Lilies, I think one of mine will flower for the first time this year. What is your secret? I mention ‘ David Howard’ in my recent blog as my favourite dahlia, I have never, so far, seen it with the white centres like yours.

    • Don’t have a secret really for ginger lilies, because they are big plants now and just perform. The ones I have facing north are being slow to flower though. Interesting to hear about your David Howard. We are probably spreading a genetic flaw then!

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