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Gingering up the border


By AndrewR


Do you ‘do’ orange in the garden? It can be a difficult colour to place, especially if you like the pastel shades – white, pink or pale blue. But with so much yellow flying around just now (heleniums, rudbeckias and sunflowers for example), a shot of orange can work well. Or mix it with cool blues and purples for a vibrant contrast.

Travel to southeast Asia, and in lightly wooded countryside, you are likely to find gingers growing. Growing four to six feet tall, they carry white, yellow or orange flowers. Some of them have naturalised in other warmer parts of the wild, but a few are hardy enough to grow here in the UK. Hedychiums, to give them the scientific name, grow from rhizomes which can be left in the ground, unprotected in milder parts, and under a mulch in colder areas. The variety ‘Tara’ is reckoned to be the hardiest, although if the colour is too bright for you, ‘Stephen’ comes a good second.

Good winter drainage is essential; more hedychiums are killed by rotting than by cold. But they also need sufficient moisture in the growing season; growing them in a pot or a raised bed may be the answer if your soil is cold and heavy. ‘Tara’ typically grows five to six feet tall with me, so a position at the back of a sunny border, where the rhizomes are shaded, suits it best. These spread slowly but are easily chopped away in early spring if getting out of bounds. I gave one to a friend in March, and hers is just coming into flower now; my established clump has been blooming for a week or so.

So give gingers a go – they may be the start of a new love affair with the colour orange.

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We grow ours in a massive them for their perfume.

1 Sep, 2016


I love orange in the garden. my border under the lounge window is reds, yellows and oranges.

I have one canna in a pot and it produces lots of leaves but never flowers. Gingers have always seemed to 'fussy' for me, but perhaps now I have the time I will consider them :o)

lovely blog Andrew

2 Sep, 2016


Very dramatic aren't they?

2 Sep, 2016


Sbg - for me, they are one of the least fussy plants in the garden. I cut the old growth down in early spring and that's it - no more attention for the rest of the year. If the rhizomes are spreading too far, a sharp attack from a spade and discard (or give away) the excess. No feeding, no staking.

2 Sep, 2016


They certainly stand out Andrew...

2 Sep, 2016


Was going to put my Ginger out into the border, as the flowers have hit the conservatory ceiling. Never got round to it, but you have convinced me .... next year in Spring.

2 Sep, 2016


I love orange with purple?..a bit bold but, I've always been a bit of a rebel! Ha ha!
Only ever once tried growing ginger but the rhizome rotted in my claggy clay.
We're I am now the soil is more claggy and wet so I shall pass but I do like them. Don't see them very often, even in gardens I visit.

7 Sep, 2016


Paul - I think we may see more now that tropical gardens are becoming popular.

7 Sep, 2016


Well, I remember seeing a few in our neck of the woods a few years ago but certainly not recently. I think pot growing is the way forward with them, as you say. And then they can be 'sneaked' in to perk a border up.

9 Sep, 2016

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