Exploring Color-Orange on GBBD

Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow.”  ~Wassily Kandinsky


Every year during the winter months, I have little to no blooms in my garden.  The colors you see here in my central NY garden are white, more white and then WHITE with a bit of brown and green thrown in and maybe an occasional red twig or berry.  What to do when it is Garden Bloggers Bloom Day@ May Dreams Garden and Seepferds Garten this week?  I decided during these drab months in the NE, I would explore colors.  When asked what is my favorite color, I am hard-pressed to pick just one.  I really love all colors.  My favorite color is dependent on my mood at the moment.  And color decisions are so hard for me to make that I even agonized for 5 years over what colors to paint the different rooms in my house.

I thought it would be fun to highlight one color a week (maybe 2).  As an educator, I enjoy learning so I have researched each color to give you interesting information.  And I will be highlighting the color of the week through my garden blooms over the past year.  I thought the best color to begin with would be the color of the year.  As many of you may know, the color of the year for 2012 is ORANGE.

What a bright and controversial color with which to begin.  I have found that most people either love it or hate it.  Around here you better love it since our largest university is Syracuse.  They are aptly named, The Orange.  So there is orange everywhere and especially at my house since my husband is an alum.

It seems there is a lot of orange in the garden if you go by the picture pile above.  Orange runs the gamut from deep orange reds to terra cotta to pale peaches all popular tones of orange.


Autumn Oranges

It is said in the English-speaking world the color orange is named after the fruit orange.  In Old English orange was called Ġeolurēad.  The color orange occurs between red and yellow in the visible spectrum, and its complementary color is blue.

Orange is a power color, and is said to be healing.  Orange appears as a very hot color to the human eye and gives the sensation of heat. Orange is supposed to increase the oxygen supply to the brain and stimulate mental activity which is why many designers use it to catch people’s attention and highlight details.


Various Meanings

*Orange has the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It symbolizes joy, sunshine, and the tropics.

*Color of fall and harvest.

*In heraldry, symbol of strength and endurance.

*American Indians associate it with kinship.

*In China and Japan it symbolizes happiness and love.

*Orange can increase socialization and bring relief when things are dragging or too serious.  If you wear orange during times of stress, it can help balance your emotions.

*If you drive an orange vehicle you are: fun-loving, talkative, fickle, and trendy.

*Some of the meanings are:  fascination, happiness, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation.

*Lady luck’s color is orange.


*Orange is the national color of the Netherlands, dating back to the Dutch War of Independence and the rebel Prince of Orange.

*In Ireland, the use of orange dates from the reign of William of Orange.

*The first recorded use of orange as a color name in English was in 1512.

*Saffron is one of the most prominent colors of Hinduism, and has been regularly worn, particularly in religious ceremonies, in India for more than 2000 years.

 Fun Facts

Orange is associated with healthy food and is said to stimulate your appetite.  It is also highly accepted among young people.  So it is no surprise that orange is very effective in promoting food products and toys.  Companies/brands using orange:  Orange Crush, Tropicana, Home Depot, Tang.

Spring oranges

Safety orange is the color usually used in the United States for traffic cones and to mark a construction zone.


Red-orangedesire, sexual passion, pleasure, domination, aggression, and thirst for action.

Dark orangedeceit and distrust.

Gold–illumination, wisdom, and wealth.

Brown–derived from orange and gray, described as an especially dark orange.


As you can see in the mosaics above, there is orange in several seasons.  But summer is where I see the most orange especially with dayliles and the newer coneflowers in the picture below.  You can click on any of the pictures to see them full-sized.

 “Orange is the happiest color.” ~Frank Sinatra


The Great Herb and Seed Experiment

I wanted to show off a few photos of the herbs and seeds I am growing indoors.  My first garden book review will be about a seed starting book so I will give you lots more info on how it all started in this Friday’s post.

The herbs are doing well.  The Italian parsley and rosemary were annuals brought in to try to keep going in winter.  They are alive, but not growing as well as I would have liked.  The sage, mints and oregano are now joined by chives.  All these perennial herbs were dug up in the fall and potted to grow indoors.  I have started a few herbs, basil and cilantro, indoors under the grow lights so I can have these fresh herbs to use.  I am experimenting with starting these and other herbs indoors.  I need more practice growing herbs from seed if I want success in my summer garden.


Well here are the greens I started from seed after only a few days.  Yes that is an aluminum lasagna pan I am using.  I used this last year and it worked great.  I am growing lettuce, mustard greens, arugula and spinach in hopes of having fresh greens this winter.  They are easy to start with a heat mat and grow light.  I have since added watercress, purslane and some different lettuces.  I am keeping a journal of my experiment.  One of the side benefits has been that every day I go down in the basement to check on the seedlings, I exercise on my bike.  I am starting slow and building up the minutes.  So far so good.


Next Up on the Blog:  Thursday  Today will be is my latest post at Beautiful Wildlife Garden.  Hope you will stop by to read my Ode To A Toad.  Friday is my first Garden Book Review, and I will be highlighting the color red next week on Monday.  Word 4 Wednesday on the 25th is reflection.  Hope you will drop by to celebrate my 100th post as I reflect on the past year of my life in the garden.  Oh and as a special treat, my friend Marcia Richards is interviewing me again at her blog in celebration of her blog’s first anniversary.  Come find out what makes me sexy, smart and from the heart.


I am joining Katarina@Roses and Stuff for her Blooming Friday meme.  This week is Fanciful.   I find orange flowers give whimsy to a garden.  A perfect post for Fanciful.  As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.  So drop by to check out all the blooms this Friday.

Please remember, to comment click on the title of the post and the page will reload with the comments section.

All content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.




















  1. Karin/Southern Meadows says:

    I love the color orange even more now! Years ago one of my friends said that she didn’t like the color orange…this got me thinking and looking around my house and I notice I had something orange in almost every room and I realized how much I like this color. Blue is my other favorite color, which like you pointed out compliments orange. I need to add more orange in my garden. Your examples are stunning!

    • Donna says:

      Thx Karin. I didn’t realize how much orange I had in the garden until I looked at my photos…my favorite is the bright oranges or the pale peaches mixing with purples…after learning about orange I see why I have so much…orange brings me joy, happiness and success!

  2. Donna says:

    Your gravatar is orange too! There are so many different oranges in your garden and mosaics, the first image as an example. In design in general (like fashion and interiors), orange is either difficult or a trendy color to work with unless you run the hot color gamut of yellows to reds like you did in your images. Or use in conjunction with the opposite, purple to balance out and tone down the the vividness. I like using it in small doses in it’s pure form. Did you notice the firms you mentioned using it for advertising, three of the four are drinks containing oranges? Wait until you explore red. You will find the extent to which it is used in promoting product, especially when combined with yellow. You will be hard pressed to think of companies that don’t use one or both colors. Color is fascinating to explore, especially when delving in to the psychology of use. In garden design, the hot colors abound. Nature knows best when designing to satisfy for function, and color plays a huge roll. The ‘stand out and be noticed flowers’ are plentiful. Good series to look at color. I will enjoy your finds.

    • Donna says:

      Donna I knew you would provide even more insight into color. I remember your look at orange in design last year. I have a feel for color and am glad I chose well. I am not a fan of orange in fashion for me too much, but as an accent color in both home and fashion. I love playing orange with purple in the garden. Red is next so I am certainly learning a lot…glad you like the series…it means a lot from a wonderful designer such as yourself!

  3. Esther Montgomery says:

    I like orange. Now I want more in my garden. (Having started with green only, I’m getting brasher each year.) I like it clashing with purple too. Orange on it’s own is uplifting and energising. Orange with purple is a kind of joke and always makes me smile.

    • Donna says:

      Esther you are so right about orange and orange and purple in the garden are great…they play well together…glad you enjoyed the post…can’t wait to see more orange blooms in your garden…

  4. Cat says:

    Wow, I learned so much from reading this post, Donna! I love orange…my kitchen is painted a pumpkin pie color. I’ve been toying with repainting but after reading all these orange facts, I’m not so sure I want to let it go! Happy GBBD!

    • Donna says:

      Thx Cat. I love the image of that kitchen color…sounds perfect…perhaps if you do decide you can update the orange or try a blue still using your orange accents. Happy GBBD!

  5. alberto says:

    Donna, this is definitely your best post ever, to me. The quote from Kandinsky is a phrase I must remember, pictures are fantastic, especially rudbeckia triloba with some white little daisy behind (what was it?) and the orange echinacea but putting some dry grasses and fall leaves together with tulips and heuchera is brilliant. A very good idea to describe a colour every week, I’m going to follow this series with much interest!

    • Donna says:

      Oh my Alberto how wonderful of you to say so. I am very visual so I enjoyed putting the collages together. The little white flower with the rudbeckia I believe is thistle gone to seed…it has little puffy seed heads. I grows wild in the meadow.

  6. thevioletfern says:

    I love orange! I think it is my favorite color. I plan to paint one of my kitchen walls orange this winter – although I sure don’t need any help with my appetite! How do you keep yourself from eating those little microgreens and herbs? I need a nice light set up to really successfully grow plants from seed. Although I will say, my salad container minigreenhouses and milkjugs did pretty well last year. I must add some butterfly weed to my garden – had some in an area that was too wet. I think it will grow along the Nice Driveway. And I used to have some orange coneflower in ME – I miss those! This was fun!

    • Donna says:

      The kitchen wall sounds yummy…once those microgreens are bigger I will be eating them…the herbs are upstairs and we have been cutting them as needed. I have wanted to plant out in milk jugs and may try next year. Butterfly weed has been pretty tolerant of moist sunny areas in the garden. I absolutely love it…I am hoping it grows in more now that it took its time to establish…the orange coneflowers are new and I hoep grow in…if they do I will send you some…

  7. Elephant's Eye says:

    Orange is not my colour but, I have Tropical Sunset rose, softened with yellow, and a peachy Tecomaria, some aloes. It is here but not in a starrring role as in your collages. Wonderful range of subtle tones you have. Orange branding makes me think of the B for Blogger on your blogroll ;~)

    • Donna says:

      Diana so glad you enjoyed the post even if orange is not your favorite…I think you have shown us the Tropical Sunset rose on your blog. I seem to remember some gorgeous peach roses…I didn’t think of Blogger…

  8. Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens says:

    Orange and deep purple are my absolute favorite flowers colors preferably together. I have a whole garden dedicated to them. I wouldn’t be caught dead in an orange dress or shirt though, but I do have a brown scarf with an orange pattern. Maybe I am working up to it. I want snow on my blog but I don’t know how to get it. I didn’t use the app you mentioned and can’t find it.

  9. tina says:

    Orange is a great color. I’m in the group who loves it, but like you I love all colors. The more the better!

    Good job on the herbs and seedlings!

    • Donna says:

      Great Tina…always want more color too! I am happy with their progress so far…we shall see how they progress….I plan to add more details in my garden book review post on Friday.

  10. Aimee says:

    What a wonderful color to devote time to exploring right now, when there is such an absence of bright, warm colors! (I’m glad to see you got some snow up there, though! We’re still waiting for it down here in Brooklyn!)

    Your herb / seedling experiments are so exciting!!!!! I love that you are using a lasgane tray – why the heck not? Your shelf unit looks great and your PLANTS, well…I think they look marvelous and lush and happy.

    I’ll be curious to see how your herbs that you started from seed do, and I’m curious to see the purslane! I’ve seen it (and collected it) from Central Park, but I’ve never grown it.

    Last year I left my sage, thyme, and oregano in the ground and they all survived and came back, but being able to bring in the other more tender herbs and put them under lights…that’s a terrific idea and money-saver. Going on my list for next year!

    • Donna says:

      Aimee I am excited about my seedlings. I actually started using the lasagna pan because I had nothing else. So many great ideas come out of necessity. I will keep folks posted weekly on how it is going and what the plants look like. I always tried bringing in annual herbs to overwinter but never had enough heat and light for them to survive. The one heat mat and grow light is great for them. I love the perennial herbs because they come back, but when they are buried under snow I can’t use them in winter. That is how I came upon digging up a bit and potting them for indoors. I will keep them going outside this summer and spring so I can bring them in again next winter. I have cilantro and basil just started this past weekend since I love those and am hoping to use them all winter. The shelf unit helps me grow more than just the grow light did. They are easy to make for yourself if you are handy which I am not. Hope you get a bit of snow….just a bit 🙂

  11. Julie @ Wife Mother Gardener says:

    Wonderful post, Donna. We have snow here too, but we are making the most of it 🙂 Orange is growing on me more and more each year. It is so energetic.

    And I have a bike in my basement by my plants too 🙂 It is much more fun to look at plants than a concrete wall. I have not started any seeds yet though… still pouring over those catalogs!

    • Donna says:

      Julie it is funny how gardeners have such like habits. Here’s to those lovely orange blossoms and have fun picking out your seeds!

  12. Alistair says:

    Donna,although your garden may now be sparse of flowers it does look great smothered in snow, ours is all just a bit dubby looking at the moment. Orange like so many other things which I was not so fond of, has found its place in our garden where, well well quite typical, I like it.

    • Donna says:

      I do love the way the snow looks when it covers every branch and looks like ice cream melting on top of the dried flowers. It is one of the reasons I leave so many flowers up and do not cut them down in the fall. I would have never picked orange myself for my garden, but a couple of stunning surprises in unexpected blooms hooked me as well. I love the way it stands out and draws your eye into a corner.

  13. HolleyGarden says:

    Oh, I just love orange! I think because it’s so hot here, and the sun is so harsh, brighter colors do well in the garden, so it’s good that I love orange! I can’t wait to read your book review – I’ve been wanting more information about seed starting. Yours looks very successful!

    • Donna says:

      Holley, I love the orange as it brightens up shadier parts of my garden too….my book review is done and waiting for Friday. You will love this book. It really helps the beginner and those of us who have tried with minimal success. I even outline how I grew my seeds. The book is fast becoming a well worn favorite as I am consulting it constantly!!

  14. Christina says:

    Wow, what a lot to read and digest in your post. I used to hate orange but now I love it in the garden and even wear it in a slightly toned down way. Good luck with all your herbs. Rosemary should do well, mine survives everything the weather can throw at it – it just needs very freely draining soil. Christina

    • Donna says:

      Thx Christina…I did get a bit carried away with the info on orange…as long as the Rosemary is under a grow light it will survive but it does require more light than any of my windows provide in winter. I will keep you posted…

  15. Nell Jean says:

    I borrowed Valorie Easton’s palette of chartreuse, darkest purple, pale yellow and ALL shades of orange for my front garden and never looked back. Tangerine Tango (the shade of the year according to Pantone) easily translates in existing plants, wonderful under hot summer sun.

    It’s a good time of year to have a cup of steaming peach flavored tea and explore the possibilities of orange.

    • Donna says:

      I love the palette you are using…orange is indeed a great color to contemplate during winter. I will have to remember the peach tea…love it!

  16. b-a-g says:

    If dark orange = deceit and distrust &
    brown = especially dark orange , then …

    Great to see your seed experiments. Did you prick holes in the lasagne tray for drainage? If I use a wide & shallow tray, I don’t bother because the excess water evaporates off and the seedlings stay nice & moist.

    • Donna says:

      I did prick holes in the lasagna pan. Friday I am giving more details on how I set it all up…I am also reviewing a great seed starting and saving book in the same post…

  17. Stacy says:

    Donna, my jaw dropped when I realized that all those beautiful shades of orange came out of one garden! It looks like you have some tithonia in there, which is one of my favorite flowers of all time. We may not be covered in white, white, white, but we have plenty of brown, brown, brown–looking at vivid oranges for a while has been a welcome change! I like orange here since half the day my garden is in strong sun and the other half in full shade–orange colors keep their glow in both kinds of light. And I do like to wear it in summer for some reason, but only once my arms have gotten a bit of a gardening tan to them…

    • Donna says:

      Thx Stacy…glad you enjoyed my orange blooms. I love orange for the same reasons in my garden. Glad I could brighten your brown garden!

  18. igardendaily says:

    Hi Donna! Well, I have to say I LOVE the color Orange. I love wearing it, painting it, eating it and of course growing flowers that show it. In fact, I have dedicated one of my garden areas to perennials, shrubs and grasses that all show some bit of orange throughout the growing season. See, I really like it! Great job with the herbs, I’ve never tried growing them indoors but would like to. You are a busy, busy lady with lots of fun projects going…I’ll tune in again soon….

    • Donna says:

      So glad you stopped by…I have a red and a white garden but I love the idea of your orange garden…the herbs are fun to grow inside…stop by anytime!!

  19. Jean says:

    Donna, You can count me among the orange-lovers — although I don’t have as much of it in my garden as I’d like. I’m looking forward to adding a bed of hot colors when I put in a new front garden in the future.
    While I fall into the “love orange” group, my older sister falls into the “hate orange” group. We still laugh about the year when my father offered to repaint our shared bedroom; all we had to do was agree on a color. Is that all?!? I wanted to redo it in oranges and yellows; she wanted it done in pink and lavender. We never could agree, and the room didn’t get painted until the year we both got married and moved out — when my younger brother moved into that room and painted it all (including the ceiling!) red.

    • Donna says:

      How funny Jean…red is Monday so your brother would like my post…you may understand why he wanted red when you read it…can’t imagine a red room like that…I will look to my orange flowers this spring and summer and those I may find that are worthy, I will take cuttings and send to you for your new hot colors bed…I have a daylily that is especially wonderful…let me know Jean!!

    • Donna says:

      Carol it is a wonderful quote isn’t it…so glad you liked the collages and my seedlings…writing and growing seedlings on the weekends keeps my garden needs fulfilled…it also fills my soul…you have a marvelous weekend as well Carol!!

    • Donna says:

      Anette so glad you could visit my garden blog. I also used little orange in my garden especially when it was mostly shade. Now I find I love seeing its bright blooms.

    • Donna says:

      So wonderful to have you visit Sue. I enjoyed your spring blooms. So glad you enjoyed a bit of color with me this winter. Stop back next week to see some red blooms.

  20. Beth says:

    Donna, Your mosaics are absolutely STUNNING, especially the first and the last one. Orange is lovely in the garden and the sky. It’s not a color I’d paint a wall or wear, but oh, my the oranges in the hemerocallis, Mexican hat flowers, tulips, poppies, and butterflies – spot on gorgeous. God knew what He was doing when He created color for us to enjoy!
    Hugs, Beth

    • Donna says:

      Beth thank you so much. So glad you visited…thx for enjoying color with me….hope the color posts help you make it through winter…

  21. Sonia says:

    I had no idea there were so many fascinating facts about orange! I love it having lots of it around in the fall…mixed with yellow. It does make me happy! Great post and thanks for sharing! P.S. Love your Gazebo!!
    Miss Bloomers

    • Donna says:

      Thx so much Sonia. My gazebo was a must for my garden and all the mosquitoes…I love orange in summer too…so glad you could visit Miss Bloomers!!

  22. Evan Lucian says:

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I do not know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

  23. Sherry says:

    I Love your color section. I’m a graduate student for a masters in landscape architecture and I’m proposing that the Botanical Research Institute of Texas add a hue garden. I would love to reprint your color sections to show as an example of how they can “teach by color”. I’d like to referenced – reprinted with permission from you and your site. Please advise!

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