Contributed by guest blogger Rick Sellano

Orange is near the top of autumn's color wheel. Visit the Morris Arboretum now and find a bounty of orange in nature. After drinking in the abundance of fall foliage in countless shades of the hue, stroll to the Rose Garden. Beautiful examples of an orange focus await.

At the bottom of the stone steps that mark the entrance of the Rose Garden turn left and then face southwest—in the direction of the Sculpture Garden. Take in the expanding view. There grow hearty plants of Leonotis leonurus, a member of the mint family native to Southern Africa. The bold color of the flowers is reminiscent of tangerines. Citrus fruits and the color orange are directly linked. The word for the color stems from the old term for the fruit, "pomme d'orange." 

 Leonotis leonurus

 Leonotis leonurus #1Photo by Rick Sellano

 Leonotis leonurus

 Leonotis leonurus #2. Photo by Rick Sellano

 

A search for apricot-colored flowers in the Rose Garden leads to the buds and blooms of Rosa ‘AUSnyson’ Lady of Shalott. A hybrid developed by notable British rose expert, David Austin, "the Lady" thrives in the garden. This rose beauty exemplifies Austin's passion for combining the fragrance of old garden roses with the flowering power of modern roses.

 

Leonotis leonurus

Rosa Lady of ShalottPhoto by Rick Sellano

 

Leonotis leonurus

Strelitzia reginae. Photo by Rick Sellano

Wander a bit and discover some Strelitzia reginae (bird of paradise) flowers in bloom. Named for the birds native to New Guinea and Australia, the flowers appear to be winged creatures visiting the plant to drink its nectar. Botanists named the genus after the duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the birthplace of Queen Charlotte of the United Kingdom.

For shade and rest, head back up the steps to the bench on the left. Orange-colored rose hips bob in the breeze there. Consider the many artists who captured the orange colors of nature, with Vincent van Gogh as an example. Artists' orange pigment, developed in the 1800s, was deftly used by van Gogh in Still Life of Oranges and Lemons with Blue Gloves

 

 Leonotis leonurus

Still Life of Oranges and Lemons with Blue Gloves by Vincent van Gogh. Available in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

 Leonotis leonurus

Rose hips. Photo by Rick Sellano

 

Fall favors orange. We see orange in trees, flowers, and our Halloween pumpkins. Some tie colors to emotions and say that the color orange symbolizes enthusiasm. After experiencing an orange-focused adventure, visitors usually agree.