Orange is the New Black…In the Garden

Okay I am hooked.

The newest television show on Netflix has me vegging on the couch instead of in the garden. But even though I am watching the entire season of Orange is the New Black while also indulging in Amazing Race Canada, I have taken time to critique my garden annuals.

As for my summer summary? I can honestly say I love bright flowers – especially my Magellan orange zinnias (pictured). With black flowers so trendy just a year ago I am delighted to report it’s official, orange is the new black in the garden. This isn’t only because Calgary’s new homes are mainly brown and beige and grey. It is because in Calgary, bright, cheery flowers are better than dull black ones in the summer.

Black tulips, black pansies and recently introduced black petunias might be a stylish addition to a postmodern home in Toronto but this is cool Cowtown and we seem to have had more than our share of cool days and rain this summer. I am not suggesting we can’t use black accents in the garden (I have black pots), but colourful annual flowers pop and call us in to have a closer look.

As my clients Jim and Barbara discovered, subtle colours are passé when selling your home. Go for gold: try adding colour with annual flowers that are replaced every season or are refreshed mid-season because that way you can follow floral trends even if your house isn’t otherwise up-to-date.

And yes, even in August, when it seems no one is selling plants in Calgary, Barbara found mature plants in bloom adding a bold statement in big new pots when she listed and sold her house. We planned out her garden carefully several years ago but she needed a little extra colour at the front door as she staged her home for sale.

“Please,” I begged. “Don’t add pots on either side of the garage, that just looks dorky.”

Annual orange flowers are available in geraniums, zinnias, cosmos, calendula, snapdragons, impatiens, calibrachoa and marigolds but the selection is spotty in late summer so don’t get picky. If your front door needs drama, do get off the couch and away from the TV because summer isn’t over yet. Orange is the new black and I am not just talking trash TV.

Balzer speaks and writes about gardening, Facebooks and tweets @NoGuffGardener and blogs at www.gardenguru.net.

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