Learn to love pink and orange!

Echinacea purpurea with helenium

Echinacea purpurea with helenium

Sock it to the neighbours with an outrageous clashing border, says Louise Curley. Go on, we dare you!

Orange and pink flowers offer the ultimate colour clash. They’re perfect if you long to break free from the tasteful pastels and bland monochromatic schemes that have come to dominate suburbia.
Bold colours have the ability to excite and stimulate, but for many of us the strength of these hues scares us. We’re unsure how to use them and worry that they seem a little brash. What will the neighbours think?
Frankly, our winters are long enough and grey enough for us to celebrate summer with vibrant colour. Take inspiration from the late Christopher Lloyd and his garden at Great Dixter in East Sussex where he experimented with colour to bold effect. He disregarded the ‘rules’ that he felt governed the use of colour and what he thought constituted ‘good taste’ in favour of a more adventurous approach to planting. In his book Cuttings: a year in the garden (2008) he wrote: “Are there colours that we must use together? I think not. Well-handled… any two colours can be pleasingly juxtaposed.” You don’t need to be Christopher Lloyd to have fun with colour and to partner plants that sizzle together. And if you’d rather take a few tentative steps, then try out these colours in container displays first to build your confidence.

Our favourite two-tone plants

Lonicera ‘Serotina’
Cottage garden fragrant climber. Happy in light shade in fertile, moist but well-drained soil. Fully hardy. Flowers July to October. H7m (22ft) S1m (39in)

Rose ‘Rosemary Harkness’
A hybrid tea rose with a bushy habit and strongly scented flowers. Blooms June to November. Thrives in full sun in fertile, moist soil that’s well-drained. H1m (39in) S70cm (27in)

Fuchsia denticulata
Half-hardy shrub with exotic tubular flowers in fruit cocktail colours. Plant in sun or part shade. Grow in a container in John Innes No 3 compost. Move under cover in autumn. H1m (39in) S1.5m (5ft)

Dahlia ‘Totally Tangerine’
A fabulous showy anemone-flowered dahlia. Happy in most soils as long as well-drained. Needs full sun. H90cm (36in) S75cm (30in)

Zinnia ‘Zinderella Peach’
For a subtle mix try these salmon pink and peachy orange flowers. Sow direct in May into well-drained soil in full sun. H60cm (24in) S45cm (18in)

Antirrhinum ‘Orange Wonder’
Soft tones of rose-pink and orange. Needs sun and moist but well-drained soil. H90cm (36in) S45cm (18in)

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