When I started this Tangerine Tango quilt challenge, one of the first things I wanted was color inspiration. I look for a lot of guidance in ceramics, other fabrics, but especially in the natural colors outdoors. It’s winter in Colorado, so as you might imagine, there isn’t a heck of a lot growing right now. But while nature hibernates, there is a tropical paradise hidden away in the center of Denver.

The Denver Botanic Gardens has a magnificent greenhouse complex, and when you step in, it feels like a humid, verdant tropical hideaway. We have a membership to the gardens primarily to escape here in the winter, when it’s so cold, dry and dead outside. The “lobster claw” plant above is located in the conservatory along with other plants like banana and coffee trees. Though a lot of the greenhouse is… well, green, there is still a multitude of colors to provide inspiration that’s missing outside during these winter months.

Right now the Botanic Gardens’ Orangery holds a stunning display of orchids. The soft petals with detailed spots of different colors contrast with textured greenery. I was looking for orange inspiration, but unfortunately there were not any orange orchids. Instead, other beauties:

Thanks to these flowers, I’m starting to lean towards green as my second color for this challenge. (Brief rules recap: other than orange, a second color and a neutral are allowed.) There are so many deep greens in fabrics now; so green, it’s almost turquoise, almost purple. I’m headed to my LQS Fabric Bliss to look at greens, and I’ll report back next week!