It's the Plants, Darling

Goofy colors of winter


Last year it was honeysuckle pink; this year it’s tangerine tango. Each year Pantone picks a color. This year’s shade, like last year’s, is resolutely loud and brash, notwithstanding the dim socioeconomic climate. The recommendation is aimed at fashionistas and home designers more than gardeners; I'm not saying that nurseries will be overflowing with red-orange plants this spring.

But I do like to use bright colors when it comes to forcing bulbs in the cold months. Like the bright yellow Golden Rain tazetta, the flame-orange Prinses Irene tulip, and the deep rose Double Hollyhock hyacinth. If all goes well, all three (plus Orange Princess) will be blooming this winter. I think the Hollyhock and the Irene are actually pretty close to the Pantone shades, if you don’t get too scientific about it.

It could be that I’m using them for the same optimistic reasons the Pantone people picked their hot pink and bright orange—for the aggressive cheer they’ll bring when other conditions are less than ideal.


The show has already begun with these Wintersuns, a mildly-scented tazetta with a nice bright yellow interior.

Posted by on December 12, 2011 at 4:30 am, in the category It's the Plants, Darling.
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8 responses to “Goofy colors of winter”

  1. I had a banana in the house way back in another lifetime when I lived in the penthouse suite of the Alpert building in downtown Ft. Collins, Colorado.

  2. Lisa-St. Marys ON says:

    I need the strong colours in the winter. Don’t be subtle! I need them in the spring too when things are waking up. In the summer give me blues, greens, whites and soft pinks.

  3. anne says:

    I love the bright green and tropical foliage in this picture–I’ll take that over a christmas tree any day!

  4. allan becker says:

    Beautiful photos!

    No matter how bad the economy, merchants need new colors to make their products appear fresh. That assault in our sensibilities will always be with us.

  5. Botanicbay says:

    of course we need bright colours in winter ! It is so dull outside, not even a few centimeters od snow to swoosh us to Xmas …

  6. Agree that the annual Pantone color announcements don’t impact the gardening world much. Hybridizing plants to attain a particular bloom color is not yet as easy as mixing paint. Still, I do love Tangerine Tango. Dangerously close to orange, perhaps, but a dash enough of yellow and red to give it a lovely warmth.

    A few nurseries will run with plants next year that approximate the hue; can’t think of any offhand, but they’re there. Mixed with blue and yellow blooms, a tangerine-ish flower should rock. Mix it with red, you’ll puke faster than eating a melting Hershey bar with a room-temperature glass of red wine.


  7. Love, love, love ‘Prinses Irene’ and grew them out front one year with ‘Purple Prince’ tulips. It was loud and proud, but beautiful too. I’m all for whatever makes a gardener happy colorwise in his or her space. Happy Christmas!

  8. These are really really beautiful!!!