Saturday, September 25, 2010

Orange in the September garden

I like orange in the fall garden. Hey, who am I kidding? Everybody likes orange in the fall garden; I love orange all the time. It's bright. It cheers me up; or maybe it's the tropical association as most of these plants are tropicals. They are, from the to down, Rose 'Oranges 'n' Lemons'; Chinese, or Japanese, Lanterns, Physalis alkekengi; Dicliptera suberecta; Asclepias currassivica; Heliconia psittacorum, Chrysothemis pulchella; Acalypha wilkesiana, Copper leaf, or better yet, Fire dragon; Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Florida dawn'; and finally Hedychium 'Elizabeth'.

The Dicliptera and the Asclepias are very marginal perennials here in Zone 7 but, of late, they are becoming more and more a sure thing. Thank you global warming. 'Oranges 'n' Lemons' is an easy "landscape rose" requiting only regular rose conditions. Chinese lanterns is an enthusiastic plant almost too enthusiastic. Mine happily shares a large container on the east-facing deck. It's been there four or five years. Hedychium 'Elizabeth' is a tropical ginger that's completely root hardy here. This picture was taken today, but not in my garden;   Mine is a week or so away. Elizabeth is a notoriously late-flowering cultivar.This plant is at the Beltsville Library garden where the space heats up more and likely accelerates floweringn. The others are strictly tropicals. Sometimes I winter them over, sometimes I replace them with plants brought back from the spring visit to the Florida garden. Chrysothemis is a gesneriad; it produces tubers so that you can dry it off in winter and revive it in spring. I truly love this plant. It flowers non-stop and retains its colorful bracts after the ephemeral flowers pass. Both bracts and petals are nicely set off by the richly dark foliage. Good plant.

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