A Study in Orange

calamondin (Citrofortunella mitis)

calamondin (Citrofortunella mitis)

A friend of mine who lives in Glendale has created a remarkable garden. He calls it “A Study in Orange.”
Gardens in a single color are not unusual. I have seen a blue garden that featured plumbago, lobelia, delphinium, Johnson’s blue geranium, forget-me-not, caryopteris, blue bearded iris, veronica, giant hyssop (Agastache), Australian bluebell creeper (Sollya heterophylla) and ceanothus.
I have seen a red garden with scarlet sage (Salvia splendens), pineapple sage (Salvia elegans), Olympia and Europeana roses, president hibiscus, red dianthus, red perennial verbena and Red Bird azalea.
A yellow garden I have known included euryops daisy, Russian giant sunflower, calendula, arctotheca, several different varieties and sizes of yellow marigold, genista, trailing gazania, butter yellow snapdragon, crown yellow pansy, arctotis and kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos).
But the orange garden in Glendale is different from the other monochromatic gardens I have known. It is not limited to being a mere collection of plants juxtaposed in a haphazard manner, their only common characteristic being the color of their flowers. It is a garden that would pass muster from a variety of horticultural perspectives.
The garden, which encompasses a front yard of less than 800 square feet, has immediate appeal to me, at least, because of its symmetry.
In my friend’s garden, which faces west, two Satsuma mandarin trees planted 15 feet apart are located at equal distance between the front facade of his house and the sidewalk. The Satsuma mandarin has elegant oval, deep green leaves and highly fragrant flowers. The richly orange- colored fruit begins to ripen at this time of the year. In the shade of these trees, my friend has planted orange varieties of shade-loving impatiens, kalanchoe, and tuberous begonia.
As a hedge along the southern edge of the yard, he has planted a row of calamondins. The calamondin is a columnar plant that produces hundreds of inch-sized orange fruit. It is a highly decorative hedge, here kept pruned to a height of 6 feet, although it would grow several feet higher if given the chance.
A flagstone path running between the Satsuma trees bisects the yard. Narrower gray stone paths run along the yard both in front of and behind the trees, crossing the flagstone. Thus, the yard is effectively divided into six segments.
The front two segments are surrounded by a border of orange gerbera daisies, Fiesta del Sol Mexican sunflowers (Tithonia), and Profusion Orange zinnias. Within these segments, orange bell and chili peppers are being grown, together with five different orange-skinned tomato varieties.
The rear two segments of the garden, closest to the house, are filled with two rows of fragrant orange floribunda rose varieties – Livin’ Easy and Judy Garland. Livin’ Easy grows taller and thus has been planted in back of Judy Garland, a memorable rose which may appear to be yellow and/or scarlet, as well as orange, depending on its stage of development, the season and the amount of sun it receives. At both ends of the rows of floribunda roses, stands of orange calla lilies with bronze banana leaf foliage are on display.
Throughout the garden, as a unifying element, apricot orange daylilies are planted. There are both single and double daylilies to be seen. The front portico has several posts that support clambering black-eyed Susan vines (Thunbergia alata). In large whiskey barrels, all along the sun-soaked edge of the portico, clumps of burnt-orange gloriosa daisies (Rudbeckia hirta) are in full flower.

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