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GARDENING: Shades of living coral

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Discover how to mix the 2019 Colour of the Year with soft and vibrant shades in your garden

Living Coral is the 2019 Colour of the Year.

Discover how to include coral-flowering
plants in your garden and become the
trendiest gardener on the block.
Pantone, a global authority on colour,
describes Living Coral as vibrant, yet mellow,
and promises it will bring a special charm and
beauty to your décor.
Living Coral in nature can be seen as soft or
In light, medium and dark variations, it
appears orange-pink through to almost orange
with golden undertones. It is seen in the sunrise
and sunset, in flowers and in the ocean reefs that
inspired its name.
Coral tints and tones featured in Impressionist paintings, in Claude Monet’s sunsets, Paul
Cezanne’s tabletop flowers, Vincent van Gogh’s
Vase with Carnations and in 20th-century American artist Georgia O’Keeffe’s Red Hills with Flowers
and Namaqualand Daises by South African artist
Mauro Chiarla; coral was also a favourite colour
of Victorian artists.
In the garden
Coral is a wonderful colour
in the garden. It is friendly, positive colour
found in grassland aloes and daisies, in fynbos
pincushions and leucadendrons, in clivias on
forest floors, in the daisies of Namaqualand and
in sparaxis, tritonia and ixia bulbs.
Welcome visitors at the entrance to your home
with pots of coral calibrachoas (they look like mini
petunias) and coral pelargoniums. Salmon-pink
Tecomaria capensis “Pink Blush” is suitable for
a screen or informal hedge; Thunbergia alata
“Blushing Susie”, dark pink, changing to apricot
pink and eventually to ivory, is a twining vine for
trellis and fences.
Coral kniphofia, feathery astilbe, fuchsia, phygelius and impatiens suit damp places; Heuchera
“Paprika” with warm, glowing cherry-coral foliage
and coleus with leaves splashed with coral.
In hot places, grow water-wise aloe, A. striata,
and cultivars “Hedgehog”, “Sea Urchin”, “PeriPeri”, “Little Joker”, “Mango Mix”, “Tangerine
Tree” and “Nectarine” in coral shades.
Echo the
warmth of a fire pit with water-wise pig’s ear
(Cotyledon orbiculata), sticks-on-fire (Euphorbia
tirucallii), paddle plant (Kalanchoe luciae), campfire
plant (Crassula capitella) and flax – Phormium
cultivars “Flamingo” and “Rainbow Maiden”.
Coral in the border
Pollinators love coral
shades. Grow butterfly landing pads of achillea
(yarrow), single poppies and gazanias for bees
and easy access to pollen and nectar in tubular
flowers of salvia and watsonia for sunbirds.
What could be prettier than a coral border
with its complimentary colour of teal blue to
give depth? The blue-green foliage of lavenders
also look attractive. Coral is pretty with cream
and primrose, stylish with burgundy foliage and
chocolate-coloured flowers, fresh with green and
trendy with 2018 Colour of the Year, ultra-violet.
Bearded irises come in shades of coral and
there is an abundance of these shades in day
lilies. Coral dahlias glow next to red dahlias.
Ssalvias come in coral, wine, lavender and purple.
Penstemons and lime-green nicotianas add height.
Beautiful blends of coral are found in roses
“McHardy”, “Coral Midinette”, “Coral Panarosa”,
“Coral Spire” and “Esther Geldenhuys” and in
romantically ruffled David Austin English roses
“Roald Dahl”, “Lady Emma Hamilton”, “Dame
Judi Dench”, “Bathsheba’, “Carding Mill” and
“Lady of Shalott”.
Colour can play an important part in a vegetable garden in fruit, edible flowers and veg. Look
for Swiss chard with coral stems, peppers, pumpkins and heirloom beets, carrots and tomatoes.
Plant penstemon for autumn colour. Pictured, Penstemon ‘Coral Sea’. Picture: Lukas Otto

Garden features
There are many other ways
of using coral in the garden apart from flowers.
Paint can be used to disguise an undesirable
feature or draw attention to a pleasing aspect.
Paint garden furniture in coral. Place deck
chairs painted coral among tawny grasses. A suede
wall would show off coral aloes.
A tool shed can
be transformed into an attractive feature with
coral-coloured walls.
Introduce decorative coral-coloured features
in the vegetable garden. Perch a pottery rooster.

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