I Spy Coral Flowers in the Garden

Looking around my garden, I notice one of my favorite colors, but in versions with enough shades and hues to make its own Pantone card. Whether you call it coral, peach or melon, it's created by mixing red with yellow. And the results range from relaxing to breathtaking.

Gladiolus 'Starface'
According to world color strategist, the Pantone Institute, the shades created for the fashion and marketing industries are called by a different name every year. Sometimes, though, a flower can have more than one color going on at the same time, or even gradually fade from a saturated hue to a soft pastel.

Like Pantone Peach Echo.  Or its companion, Fiesta. On the softer side, it could be Peach Quartz or Blooming Dahlia. No matter. We know it when we see it, and I'm seeing lots of peach flowers, coral flowers, and even melon colored flowers now in my garden. Last year, I fell in love with Gladiolus 'Starface', with its coral ringed yellow petals.

There is no ignoring it--as bright and bold as a tropical bird, this Gladiolus provides an eye-opening jolt to go with my morning coffee as I stroll through my garden. Sure, these spiky, old-fashioned flowers can be hard to fit into the landscape. They have to be staked, and they don't really last all that long.

But isn't ornamental gardening all about eye candy anyway? If you have a dog, you know the doggie drop and roll, when they suddenly flop onto the ground, their stretched out bodies writhing with joy, their legs straight up but relaxed, eyes rolled back, and mouths shaped into a grin around their lolling tongue.

Summer is a gardener's opportunity to roll in the leaf and petal combinations we've created through imagination, planning, and--let's face it--hard work.
Nasturtium 'Orange Troika'

Sometimes flowers end up orange, but before they open, take on a coral color. I started this Nasturtium 'Orange Troika' from seed, and I haven't decided whether I like its leaves or flowers more. Its color is described as tangerine, and so I'll add it to my list of coral-ish shades.

Early this spring, I received a group of roses to try called 'Sweetspot', one of which is 'Sweetspot Peach'. It starts out a clear peach with a cherry red center and then fades to blush with a light raspberry center. Very colorful and so far, not a spot of disease.

I planted three plants of Digitalis 'Dalmation Peach', one of which is surprisingly blooming. It's a pleasant surprise, because typically foxglove don't bloom when it gets really hot. It's really pretty in a soft and delicate-looking way.

Hopefully it will reseed for next season because I really like where it is in the garden, that spot I'm attempting to populate with pale-colored blooms and plants so that I have a bit of a glow before dark that I can see through the window from my favorite chair in the sunroom.

Saving the most thrilling for last, at last the Scadoxus is in bloom. I've had this plant four at least four years, and this is the third time it's had flowers. It likes it really crowded inside a clay pot.

If I worked for Pantone, I might call the color of the Scadoxus flower something like Hair on Fire or Radioactive Red.

What do you think? 

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