January 22, 2009

Garden Inspiration: Color Rejects Get Recognition

This Garden Inspiration was written by Brenda, a gardener in Zone 5, western New York.

What am I going to do with them? Color rejects. You know what I mean.

Schoolbus yellow and glaring orange blooms that simply don't fit in.

They are all fine plants in their own way, but they don't play well with others, at least not most of those residing in my flower beds.

They demand the spotlight and overwhelm the pastels. Their bold flirting with dark purple delphiniums usurps the soft lilacs and pinks that had previously enjoyed her company. They never complement the soft colors. A red hot poker plant just smoulders in a bed of soft, romantic pinks.

What to do with them? You see, I'm a compulsive plant collector and my plants often have a history. My husband was quite pleased when he surprised me with those Stella d'Oro daylilies, and great Aunt Ada gave me some of her "construction cone orange" poppies.

I actually grabbed several large clumps of black-eyed susans from my first garden club plant swap when I was a newbie; they have since expanded to about 8 acres it seems. I might even have bought those gaillardias because they were on clearance.

What to do then? The only thing I could do - make a new bed! I gathered together all the misfits and put them together with their own kind.

It's true that at first it seemed as if they were banished, banished to a bed far, far away by the barn. But my conscience was salved that at least I was keeping Aunt Susie's tiger lilies alive, and besides, those oranges and yellows act like beacons in the distance.

Then a funny thing happpened. When I put all those garish colors together they started to party!

As the temperatures started climbing, those fire colors disco danced in the summer heat, refusing to be daunted by the harsh sun and laughing at the humidity. Heat was their element and they bloomed most loudly in July, August, and September.

It turns out that orange and "gold" (such a nice euphemism for schoolbus yellow) go together-- well, like that eccentric couple you know who are both quite extreme in a different way and whenever you see them you say, "They deserve each other", and you don't necessarily mean it in a kind way. They suit each other. Still, just to keep things energized, next year I'm think of adding touches of hot pink. (ha!)

Now I not only have a vibrant "hot" garden for the heat of summer, but tranquility has once again returned to the purple and pink beds after those obnoxiously loud neighbors moved out.

Brenda is better known as "Gottagarden" on garden forums and has been featured in previous Garden Inspiration stories.

Brenda's story is a fun follow-up to the DYH Garden stories Give Orange Flowers a Chance and Garden Flowers: The Magenta Zone.

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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