In The Pink

Temperatures remain mostly cool on our hilltop, and the garden is looking verdant, with some bright blooms bringing bursts of colour.

Bee visiting foxglove

After reading that Liz’s sowings of the same Digitalis purpurea Sutton’s Apricot seeds that I too sowed have emerged as a fairly unexceptional form of our native pink/purple foxglove – and given the lack of apricot flowers anywhere to be seen here – those seeds would seem to be the source of my unexpected pink foxgloves this year too. While I may not be quite so taken with them as with the deliciously dark throated Pam’s Choice, or the pleasingly plump Digitalis x mertonensis (see below), they still make a pretty sight, covered in vibrant flowers and continuing to push their spires higher each day: the bees don’t seem to favour any particular variety over another, visiting all the foxgloves with equal enthusiasm.

Deep magenta-flowered self-sown wild primroseIn fact, nature seems to be conspiring to fill my garden with flashes of bright magenta; last year it was a volunteer Lychnis coronaria, now this primrose, self-seeded from our banks of butter-yellow wild primroses, has just opened the most unexpectedly flamboyant flowers. It looks more like one of the highly-bred polyanthus than a wild primrose, but I am rather taken with its strong – and astonishing – colour.

Soft hummocks of Geranium sanguineum, and the smaller Geranium cinereum subcaulescens, echo this hue; while Clematis ‘Ernest Markham’ is just coming into flower on a recently painted section of our fence, with dozens of further buds poised ready to open.

Clematis Ernest Markham

I sowed lots of sweet william seeds last year; an auricula-eyed mix, and the bright D. barbata ‘Amazon Neon Purple’, which are now lighting up the borders in yet more vibrant pinks, making it fast approaching something of a feature colour, particularly here in the kitchen border where they merge with the nodding heads of the quaking grass, Briza maxima.

Sweet williams and geraniumAs well as providing sweet wafts of scent through the garden, they are proving to be magnets for bees and butterflies; the first Small Tortoiseshells of the year have been keen visitors in the past few weeks.

Bee on hot pink sweet william flowers

Bee on auricula-eyed sweet william flowers

On the softer side of the spectrum, there are the foamy flowers of the black elder.

Sambucus nigra pink flowers

This delicious dark foliage makes a strong foil for the blazing penstemon which has leapt into bloom in front of it, while Geranium psilostemon sings loudly nearby too. And did I mention Salvia ‘Wild Watermelon’ is back in bloom and no less eye-watering than last year?

Pink penstemon against dark foliage of black elder

Returning to the softer tones, there are four or five plump, statuesque plants of Digitalis x mertonensis, whose flowers are often described, rather aptly, as reminiscent of crushed strawberries.

Digitalis x mertonensis

Gypsophila repens rosea flowering soft pink

There are also mounds of Gypsophila repens rosea sprinkled with dainty flowers, spilling from a container or planted at the front of the border, and several waves of Linaria purpurea Canon Went, whose pale plumes are thrown into relief by the dark flowers of Lysimachia atropurpureum ‘Beaujolais’ and Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’, which is flowering madly this year.

Climbing rose 'New Dawn'

We inherited a climbing rose that I have identified as New Dawn, which smothers our front fence with blooms; in the back another pink rambler, Paul’s Himalayan Musk, planted last year, is beginning to embrace the beech tree at whose feet we planted it, hoping that in years to come its blooms will tumble out of the branches high above. In the borders, one or two of the bush roses that we rescued from the original overgrown garden are also sporting a soft blush pink.

Shrub rose with soft blush pink flowers

With all these shades of pink, and the modest size of our garden, you’ll be forgiven, then, for imagining for a moment that the place must look like one of Dame Barbara Cartland’s creations; despite all these jolts of pink (which is far from my favourite colour!), the garden is surprisingly verdant still, with alchemilla’s zesty sprays and a palette of whites, purples, blues, reds, yellows and even a few spots of orange scattered through the greenery to create an exuberant, yet not overwhelming, display. The foliage is still the star in our garden at the moment, giving it a luxurious fresh feel.

Part of the long border, early morning

Part of long border in summer

The blaze of red from the long-flowering oriental poppies in the field border, reflected now in the first opium poppies in the opposite border, draws much more attention than most of the pinks scattered through the beds.

Field border in summerThose clouds of chartreuse provided by Alchemilla mollis through all the borders ties them together nicely, as well as providing another valuable accent. As the garden grows up, it becomes more and more important for me to focus on its structure and foliage, and I am thrilled with how this tapestry is developing. The garden is indeed looking in the pink at the minute, but somehow not excessively pink in colour despite this.


10 thoughts on “In The Pink

  1. Sara you sound ‘tickled pink’ with your garden 😉 and rightly so it is looking beautiful, I’m with you on pink not being a colour of choice but also seem to have rather a lot of pink in the garden, in the 2 views of your long border there is a variety of colour and the yellow aquiligias (sorry I can’t remember their name) and green of A. mollis stand out most with the white flowers, and those poppies do stand out beautifully in the field border, I like your choice of fence paint too, Frances

    • There are so many good ‘pink’ idioms to plunder! 🙂 Thanks Frances.
      I’m quite happy with pinks when they blend in so well without looking too, well, pink!

  2. Don’t you just love it when it all starts to come together, as your garden is doing now – lots of things to delight in, aren’t there?

  3. My absolute favourite colours in this post, I am slowly abandoning all other colours in favour of shades of pink through to red (with a little acid green etc), it has never been my plan, I just keep buying plants in those colours. Your garden looks superbly bright and cheerful, and that bench very inviting to sit down on and admire all your hard work. Bethx

    • Thanks. These colours obviously keep creeping up on me too, without my notice. I love to sit for a minute with a cup of tea when I have the chance – until I spot a weed somewhere in the border and leap up again…

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