Vertical Accent

‘Orange Rocket’ Adds a Blast of Color

By Kimberly Toscano

When I plant a barberry in the landscape, I know what to expect. Barberries have proven themselves time and again as dependable, adaptable shrubs, and ‘Orange Rocket’ is no exception. It’s as low-maintenance, deer resistant, and virtually indestructible as any barberry. That’s why plant breeders often revisit old standbys like the humble barberry, but in the process they also introduce something entirely new.

With ‘Orange Rocket’ Barberry that “something new” is a trait widely sought after for modern gardens – narrow, upright growth. Ultimately reaching 4 to 8 feet tall, but only 2 feet in width over ten years, ‘Orange Rocket’ provides a tight, vertical element to meet your design needs.

Why Vertical?

Vertical lines provide strength and movement to a garden. Vertical forms are often used as accents because they create a certain amount of visual tension in the garden, contrasting the more prominent horizontal lines. Vertical elements also control movement through a space. Not physical movement (though that is also possible), but visual movement. They break up horizontal lines that can unintentionally carry the eye straight through a garden. Instead, vertical lines slow the movement of the eye, allowing viewers to take in more of the landscape.

Vertical accents also draw the eye upward, connecting earth and sky. Vertical vegetation can be used to terminate sight lines, providing opportunities to slowly reveal each section of the garden as opposed to seeing the entire landscape from a single vantage point. Finally, vertical hedges can be used to separate garden rooms and create a sense of enclosure or intimacy.

Designing with ‘Orange Rocket’

‘Orange Rocket’ Barberry offers more than simply vertical structure. Unique foliage color provides contrast to surrounding plants. The combination of bold form and vibrant color yields a strong accent for containers or beds that fits myriad design styles from formal to minimalist to Asian-inspired.

When it comes to plant pairing, the rich ruby foliage combines with green, yellow, blue, silvers and plums for endless planting options. The following combinations take advantage of contrasts in color and texture.

Looking for other plant pairing ideas? Browse our collection – the diverse selections and unique varieties in the Southern Living® Plant Collection offer countless ways to revitalize the landscape.