Silene, a Bitter-Sweet Perennial
May 12, 2010
Allan in Perennial Plants, Silene Rolly's Favorite, perennials, pink perennials

Photo credit: Lorraine Roberts, Plant Paradise Country Gardens, Caledon, Ontario.

Last year, I came home from the nursery laden with more than ten pink perennials. Silene Rolly’s Favorite was one of them. The vivid pink color of its flower, almost fluorescent in intensity, made it a knock out. In the garden, it rewarded me with intense color that lasted from May until the beginning of July. It turned out to be a very floriferous perennial. As a pink plant person, I was delighted.

It bloomed again this past week, making it the first early-summer perennial to produce color in my garden. Every time I pass it by, I stop to admire the almost unreal shade of vivid pink and the fleshy sensuality of its petals. This plant is the “real deal”.

That enthusiasm is tempered, however, by the fact this perennial is known to self-seed easily. I cannot imagine that seeing so many beautiful pink flowers in my garden will upset me, but I do know how annoying it can be when nature decides what a garden will look like, and not the gardener

Last season, I combined Rolly’s Favorite with White Shasta daisy and blue Nepeta subsellis. In the fall, I added a Purple Campanula Glomerata to that composition. In my imagination, I can see a dramatic planting because, when vivid pink flowers are combined with rich purple ones, they create vibrancy. Now I patiently wait to see how this three-way composition will perform.

I presume that the photo above was taken on a cloudy day or with a blue filter because the actual shade of this plant is a brighter pink than what can be seen in the image. This plant creates a mound of dark green foliage that supports a bouquet of pink flowers measuring 18 to 24 inches high. It also has a trailing habit that makes it ideal for rock gardens and container planting. Silene Rolly’s Favorite needs good drainage and sun [though it does grow in part shade] and it is hardy in Zones 5 to 10. What a pity it is not tame.

Article originally appeared on Garden Design, Montreal, Perennial Flower Gardens, Gardening Tips, Gardening Advice, Gardening Book Reviews (
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