January 12, 2009

Craziest Combo: Coneflowers and Crocosmia


In one of my creative (you may disagree) moments, I decided to plant orange crocosmia with orange coneflowers. Sometimes, a gardener just has to have a little fun!

I recently begged you to Give Orange Flowers a Chance. There are two sides to using orange: funny and serious.

This combination auditioned in my butterfly garden where garish colors are planted without too much thought to design.

Most of the butterfly garden is haphazardly planted, but I intentionally placed these two orange-headed characters together.

Sort of like an old vaudeville act, the two play off each other's outlandish humor. The equally intense yellow and orange blooms of asclepias 'Gay Butterflies' joins the act a little later in the summer.

Proving that I've not totally lost my sense of reasonable color schemes, the purple verbena 'Homestead' helps a bit by toning down the colors as it crawls around the feet of coneflowers. The sprawling verbena plays another role-- that of hiding the coneflower foliage once the blooms are finished for the season. The crocosmia foliage continues to provide interest throughout the summer.


If you want to create this scene in your garden, crocosmia is suitable for full sun gardens in zones 6-9. It may be considered invasive in some areas. In my garden, I dig up the crocosmia each year and replant it in the spring so that it blooms well. The corms tend to stack one on top of the other like a chain underground.

There are a number of orange echinacea on the market that have performed with mixed results. I planted two of the patented "designer" colors in my garden, and these Echinacea Big Sky™ 'Sundown' were the only survivors. That said, they had to contend with drought during the first season of being in the garden and so I'll refrain from convicting them of poor performance since the perennials had a challenging start. Coneflowers grow well in zones 4-9.

Deer haven't bothered either the crocosmia or the coneflowers. When coneflowers emerge in the spring, they may need some protection from nibbling rabbits.

I like perennials that entertain and amuse. If the contract negotiations can be met (comedians tend to argue over who opens the show), gaillardia will be joining this orange act in the summer of 2009.

Photos and story by Freda Cameron

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Defining Your Home, Garden & Travel

Home, garden and travel tips by Freda Cameron

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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