Orange Flowers

Orange is one of those colors that is hard to nail down in nature.

Personally, true orange seems to be too garish for my taste.  These old time Canna bulbs came from a friend about 12 years ago.  They do well in full sun, where they don’t flop over too much.

These were planted in the far corner of my backyard.  I like that they mark the edge of the yard perimeter; that they’re hardy; and that they are a reminder of old fashioned gardens.

I purchased this Orange Marmalade Crossandra (Crossandra ‘Orange Marmalade’) because it looked so cheerful.  It is tropical but survives in the heated shed in the winter.

When we took the pots out this spring, there were no flowers on it, so I didn’t recognize it.  Therefore, it was placed in the “plant hospital” until I could identify it.  Just haven’t moved it, yet.

Pine Lemonade Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Pink Lemonade’ doesn’t look pink to me.

Different flower on the same plant looks more yellow.  The ruffled petals is what drew me to this tropical flower.  In Hawaii, tradition states that when a young lady wears a hibiscus behind her left ear, she is available.

Hibiscus are native not only to Hawaii but many other Pacific islands.  I’ve had this bush so long that I don’t remember the variety.

Same bush and same day as the last picture.  Nature surprises us every day.

Re-blooming Iris also has a slight twinge of orange or some unidentifiable color.

Bright or muted, color in the garden is definitely my thing.  Have you heard of Orangetheory workout gyms?  Not my thing.  Prefer working out in the yard.

“The closest thing to eternal life on earth is a government program.”  Ronald ReaganSave

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Purple Spires

Bright colors in the yard make me smile.  I prefer more muted colors inside my house but purple, red, and yellow are my favorite choices for flowers.

purple3Larkspurs are still blooming where ever they choose.  They aren’t well behaved and stay where they were first seeded.  It’s always a pleasant surprise to see where they come up each spring.  The reds here are Red Yucca and Cannas.  However, the Cannas seem to be blooming more orangey than before.  So I wonder if red ones are hybrids and they are reverting back to their original color.

purple9I have a conundrum.  For years I have thought this bush was Blue Curls.  I think I bought it at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  Since I had never heard of Blue Curls before, I must have seen it labeled that, but I can’t be sure.

purple8I had previously noticed the similarity of the flowers and leaves to another bush in the back of the house.  But this morning for some reason it struck me that they are much more than similar.

purple6

purple5You know how it is to get your mind set one way and not see the truth.  So I’m not going to beat myself up for this mistake.  But I do not think this is a Blue Curls.

purplecThis is a Vitex (Vitex agnus-castus) tree in the back yard that was planted two years ago.  It was bought at a local nursery and was clearly labeled.

The following three pictures are of this same tree.

My reference point for a Vitex comes from a huge tree planted in the parking lot of the hospital in Brownwood.  So I didn’t expect one to look like a bush.

purpledDo you see my confusion?  I now think both are Vitex.  I have pruned the branches on the one in the front for several years to get it fuller, which has also kept it shorter.

purpleeAlso known as Chaste Tree, Lilac Chaste Tree, Hemp Tree, Sage Tree, or Indian Spice, it is a native of China and India.  But it has been grown in the southern US since 1670.

purplefDifferent parts of the tree have long been used for medicinal purposes.  Another name for Vitex is Monk’s Pepper because it was thought that its berries helped monks maintain their chastity.

It’s a great tree/shrub for pollinators.  The color of the blooms are fantastic.

purple4As I was taking pictures, a visitor strolled quickly by.

purpleffThe flower spires on Russian Sage are a light purple or lavender.

purpleiAlthough not a spire, these Petunias are a deep purple.

purplejThis pot was already filled when I bought it.  The lady did not know the names of the other two plants in it.

purplekThe foliage of Ajuga ground cover is more important to most people than the pale lavender blooms.

purplelAnd lastly, Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) is sandwiched between Greggi Sage and Rose bushes.  It has a wonderful aroma and is a great hardy perennial.

“Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Nolan of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God.”  Richmond, Virginia daily newspaper

Cannas

Good old reliable cannas, Cannaceae, or canna lilies (although they are not really lilies) are seen in many rural and small town gardens.   They  originated in the Americas, are hardy, survive the heat and sun, and make a bold statement.

These are the most common orange blossomed ones.  These came from a friend about four years ago.  It’s a great pass along plant because the rhizomes multiple quickly.  The rhizome is extremely rich in starch and can even be grown as an agricultural crop.

This group is planted in a far corner of the yard and don’t receive much water.  But in order to bloom, they do have to be watered.  I have some red ones that I bought from Clark Gardens.  They are planted in a flower bed.  But this year, they only bloomed in the early spring.  This old orange variety seems to be the hardiest.

After the staminoids (what most of us call the flowers) have been pollinated and then die, these seed pods develop.  When the green husk turns brown and shrivels up, you can peel them open to get the seeds. This is another way of propagating cannas.

Sometimes by the end of the summer, the leaves curl up, turn brown and die.  That’s because of a canna leaf roller, which is the larva of a butterfly.  The first sign of this is a precision straight row of holes in the leaves.  It looks like a sharpshooter did some target practice. This particular picture doesn’t really show the uniformity of the holes well because the holes have been eaten out of their original shape.  Just cut off those leaves or hack the whole plant down to the ground.  It will grow back.  It’s actually a good idea to chop off the dead leaves and remove them after the first freeze.  This keeps insects from living in the dead leaves.

All in all, this is a super easy plant to grow with very little care needed.

“It’s that wonderful old-fashioned idea that others come first and you come second. This was the whole ethic by which I was brought up. Others matter more than you do, so ‘don’t fuss, dear; get on with it.”
Audrey Hepburn