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Try the real thing to celebrate the 2014 Color of the Year

© denova0/Fotolia.com

Pantone, the world’s arbiter of hues, has announced Radiant Orchid as the 2014 Color of the Year.

Last year, the color was Emerald, which symbolized prosperity and growth. This year’s Radiant Orchid intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination.

“An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

“It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm,” said Eiseman’s news release. The rosy undertones radiate on the skin, producing a healthy glow when worn by both men and women, she said.

To get this color in the lives of gardeners, we can use orchid-colored pots and other accessories in the home and garden. Or, we can plop a few orchid plants as thrillers in our summer containers in shadier locations.

Orchids used to be expensive, but recent breeding breakthroughs have turned some of these exotic plants into a commodity, readily available at grocery stores, garden centers, big box stores and other retailers.

Michigan State University researchers and the U. S. Department of Agriculture say orchids are second only to poinsettias in potted crop value. From 1996 to 2006, the most recent year research is available, the wholesale value of orchids increased 206 percent. Spring bulbs and poinsettias increased in value while African violets, Easter lilies and florist azaleas, roses and mums have declined. The average wholesale price of a potted orchid is about $8.

The most popular orchid is Phalaenopsis, which has 31,381 hybrids, according to the American Orchid Society. Winter is high season for Phalaenopsis, which makes a lovely holiday gift. And at the $10 to $20 retail price, long-blooming orchids give a lot of bang for the buck.

For info on the selection and care of orchids, visit the websites of the American Orchid Society, Central Indiana Orchid Society or Michigan State.

If you’d like to see orchids first hand, visit the Garfield Park Conservatory, the Indianapolis Museum of Art Greenhouse, or Hilltop Orchids in Cloverdale, Ind.

Radiant Orchid is the Pantone Color Institute's 2014 Color of the Year. Image courtesy of Pantone Color Institute

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