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STYLE : GARDENS : A Blaze of Glory

February 09, 1992|ROBERT SMAUS

The orange and red flowers of these exotic shrubs and perennials glow like embers in a winter hearth. In full bloom in December (when this San Marino garden was photographed) but still eye-catching the rest of the year, they're a welcome change from typical border fare and an inspiration to anyone who wants a less thirsty garden. None of these plants need frequent watering, so the bed is on the dry side.

The color scheme is a favorite of Pacific Palisades-based landscape architect Robert M. Fletcher, who planted two shrubs for their deep orange hues: Lion's tail is from South Africa; Cuphea micropetala is a native of Mexico. Orange gazanias grow in front, and there is orange in the striped foliage of the New Zealand flax called 'Maori Sunrise.'

Vivid reds punctuate the bed. Old-fashioned cannas produce long-lasting flowers at eye level, and South African Arctotis cover the ground. Burgundy foliage turns up on the shrubs Cotinus coggygria (also called smoke tree) and Euphorbia cotinifolia . Everything blooms red-hot, but, when grouped together, they are more than flashes in the pan.

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