Pink Frills

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…

Monarda 'Cambridge Scarlet' flowers

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’.

Vibrant clash of pinks, reds and orange in the garden

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’.

Pink penstemons

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.

Salvia microphylla 'Wild Watermelon'

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.

Soft pinks: unknown rose, Astrantia, Gypsophila muralis Gypsy, Linaria purpurea Canon Went

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.

Pink frilly Opium poppy

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.

Deep purple poppies, slightly windswept

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.

Pink frilly Papaver somniferum flower

And it makes me giggle.


10 thoughts on “Pink Frills

  1. I have similar frilly poppies, Sara – though frillier even than yours. I’m not keen and they don’t make me giggle but obviously I’m just an old grump. Your monarda on the other hand is gorgeous. I covet it. Dave

    • Heh. I think it looks utterly preposterous. And yet it makes me smile (though it’s still the purple and scarlet ones that really move me).
      Ah the monarda – isn’t it beautiful. I must confess there are two identical ones in that border, and both sprang into flower at the same time. I highly recommend them!

  2. I am with you on the encroaching attraction of pink. I am not a pink person either but I have fabulous pink roses (I would have said I was not a rose person , clearly I am morphing into someone else) and a wonderful lipstick pink salvia which I am busily taking cuttings off. I love your poppy. We have some similar. I keep trying to mark the best and use the seed but new ones keep on popping up all over the place!

    • Funny how plants slowly change our perspective on colours! I love the lipstick pink salvias – our electric pink Wild Watermelon one is mesmerising. Part of me would like to keep the poppies to the original dark colour, but there is part of me that can’t resist the surprise of new colours and shapes emerging… and I’m not sure I could pull any out once they’re in flower!

  3. Those frilly poppies are popping up al over my allotment, all of their own accord. They aren’t my favourites but I’m leaving them for insects to appreciate and then I’ll use the seed pods in flower arrangements. My Monarda has just opened too, although the garden come do with some sun for the colours of it and the heleniums to shine. I’ll not hold my breath though.

    • Perhaps the weather-gods heard you; we have had sunshine all afternoon, quite lovely, though it sounds like the rain will be back tomorrow for the rest of the week 😦

  4. Rarely a colour that I wear even when I could call myself slim but I like a splash of pink in the garden. ‘Canon Went’ is a star and so obliging in the fact that it does not seed itself about as much as its purple relatives. I have some salvias on my wish list too and if I remember rightly at least one was pink. Off to investigate your gypsophila. Oh and the pink poppy would make me laugh too for its sheer audacity.

    • The colour does blend well into the garden doesn’t it, though it still surprises me how many pink plants there are when I walk about. ‘Canon Went’ is really proving to be one of my favourites this year – the bees seem to think so too.
      The gypsophila is very pretty, growing easily from seed.

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