Pink has never been one of my favourite colours; it features rarely in my wardrobe, though I do have a fairly new rose-pink cardigan, and a black satin dress with a hot pink sash ribbon. But I digress…
I am rather fond of reds, from the spectacular jester’s horns of Monarda ‘Cambridge Scarlet’ which have opened in the past few days, to the darker pin-cushions of Knautia macedonica and sumptuous velvet of Antirrhinum majus ‘Black Prince’.
Yet last autumn I found myself drawn to the candy pink Barcelona tulips, which brought me great pleasure this spring, and in the borders the deep pink snapdragons from a mixed pack have brought a smile to my face, along with a vivid Penstemon in a similar hue and the self-sown Lychnis coronaria which threads through our Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’.
Last year I made notes on Salvia microphylla ‘Cerro Potosi’, though it has so far remained on my wishlist and not in the garden, and there it may now stay, as a few weeks ago at a rare plants fair I could not resist buying the similarly electric-pink flowered Salvia microphylla ‘Wild Watermelon’ (x Salvia greggii). All these hot pinks have been mostly tempered with greens and whites, soft yellows and blues, with occasional riots of colour breaking loose.
There are softer tones too; abundant blooms on the climbing rose along a fence at the front, that I have tentatively identified as New Dawn, and a bush rose from the original garden which was potted up during our building work, before being returned to the garden late last summer. Its soft colour is picked out again in the Astrantia nearby. I have also fallen head over heels this year for the verticals and pink washed spires of Linaria purpurea ‘Canon Went’, which sets off the crimsons and purples in the border rather well, and pretty airy clouds of Gypsophila muralis ‘Gypsy’ sparkle gently in pots and hanging baskets, with complementary blues, whites and crimsons getting into their stride.
There is another pink-toned favourite just blooming in the garden now, though that is for another post. Somehow pink seems to have threaded itself through all the borders, although it does not dominate.
And then, this morning I was greeted by the most frivolous, and undeniably pink, opium poppy flower that I have ever seen.
There was a lustrous deep dark purple opium poppy which appeared from nowhere amid the building debris here two years ago, before we had begun to clear and reinstate the ornamental part of the garden. I saved the seed to grow again, and last year the newly-ordained main border was awash with these beautiful dark blooms – and one scarlet imposter that was also rather splendid, so forgiven for breaking away.
This year, the poppies seem to have been mixing it up again, as alongside the first lovely dark purple poppies to bloom, this frivolous frilly pink-petticoat poppy has today emerged.
And it makes me giggle.