Regardless of whatever Pantone has decided, I declare orange to be the color of 2013. It needs to be, because I somehow ordered 500 orange/orange-red tulips. Maybe more—hard to say how some of the multi-colored species types will turn out.
Let’s see—we have Prinses Irene, Orange Princess, Christmas Orange, vvedenskyi Tangerine Beauty, and the massage-oil-named (but still orange) Sensual Touch. And I’m pretty sure the Temples Favorite I got from Colorblends is the same as the Temple of Beauty from Van Engelens, which was kind of orangey in certain lights.
I never meant to buy that many orange tulips, but somehow I did. This is how I’m justifying it. When I started gardening, it was all about subtlety. The first tulips I ordered were a delicate pink to go with my white daffodils, pink dianthus, and blue iris. I had a lot of pastels back then.
But I’ve moved away from pink since then (except for roses I’ve had for a long time), instead trying for high contrast drama between yellow, oranges, whites, and purples. And the past few years have given me even more reason to dislike pink, which—at this time of year—has been massively co-opted by a fusion of marketing and often-dubious fundraising around cancer charities.
But mainly, the reason I’ve switched to stronger tulip colors is the same reason I try to plant tulips in groups of 50. The go-big-or-go-home rule can also work with color. After 3 or 4 months of solid gray, with occasional spots of white, there really should be an explosion of color. And it seems to work better if there are just 1 or 2 strong colors.
Which brings us to orange. That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it.