Need Help?

Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

See website, design work and favorite flowering plants at  gardengurumontreal.ca

Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

See my work on Pinterest at Garden Guru Montreal

Entries in Pink flowers (10)

Friday
May172013

Ten Vivid Pink Garden Plants 

Pink is the most popular color in the flowerbed. In all its gradations and tones, it runs the gamut from baby pastel and amethyst to a very deep pink that almost borders on cold red. This family of colors seems to touch the hearts and minds of gardeners and their visitors. Except in climates where sun bleaches out its more pastel tones, pink is found in most gardens around the globe.

Here are ten vivid pink flowering plants that caught my eye. Some have grown in my garden for many years, others are new for me; I found them in recent trade catalogues.

Hydrangea macrophylla Abracadabra

If you garden in a warmer growing zone than I do, chances are you’ve had better success growing macrophylla [broad-leaf] hydrangeas than gardeners who live in colder climates. The grower describes this relatively new variety as having flower heads resembling big, funky flying saucer lace-cap flowers that merge pink and white and mature to hot pink atop black satin stems. These distinctive stems provide interest in the garden before the summer flowers open. The color of the flowers can be shifted to blue by adding aluminum sulfate to the soil. Abracadabra grows from 3 to 4 feet tall and wide and is hardy to USDA Zone 5.

Hydrangea macrophylla Paraplu

Vivid pink Paraplu is a another new introduction for warmer climates. I am told that its downward arching mop heads of rich, vibrant, double florets, appear like dainty umbrellas in shades ranging from candy pink to intense hot pink. In soil where the pH is low, some purple will appear. The grower reports that Paraplu holds up well in the heat, and withstands the rigors of Midwestern winters. This dwarf variety is expected to remain under three feet tall and wide and is hardy to USDA Zone 5.


Phlox subulata, Pink

A long lived, cold-climate perennial, it is perfectly suitable for rock gardens, rugged ground cover, and sunny drought conditions. Cascading over slopes like puddly waterfalls, it grows 2 to 6 inches tall, spreads 12 to 18 inches in width and is hardy from USDA Zone 2 to Zone 9. The early spring pink flowers that illuminate the flowerbed are so intense that the color appears to have been mixed by a Disney cartoon illustrator. After the short-lived blooms fade, the rugged, evergreen, pinnate-textured foliage serves as an elegant-looking yet rugged groundcover that contributes lush tactile texture throughout the year. Photo: Stoneridge Gardens and Nursery.

Rose Carefree WonderThis staple in my garden has impressed visitors for the past fifteen years; I used to plant it in most of my garden projects until it became difficult to locate in my area. Growing four feet tall and three feet wide, it blooms in a radiant, deep pink, with flower heads measuring four inches across. So intense is its color that few will notice the reverse white petals. This easy-to-care-for rose is hardy to USDA Zone 4 and blooms continuously from June until the first snowfall.

Rose Double Pink Knock Out

Knock Out Roses are among the most disease resistant rose bushes on the market. This variety is a compact tidy shrub, growing 3 to 4 feet tall and wide, that blooms in bright pink. It is drought tolerant, self-cleaning, and winter hardy to USDA Zone 5, and blooms until frost.

Rose Pink Home Run

Vivid rich pink flowers cover this modest sized shrub rose practically every day during the growing season. At 3 ½ to 4 feet tall and wide it blooms continuously throughout the summer with an extraordinary resistance to disease, pests, powdery mildew, and with a high level of tolerance for downy mildew. It is winter hardy to USDA Zone 4 and blooms until frost.

Rhododendron Azalea Rosy Lights

This vivid plant scintillates as if each flower petal had been fitted with nano-sized neon tubes. As a result, during the day the shrub glows like a Chinese lantern. Hardy in my location [USDA Zone 4], Rosy Lights will grow 4 to 6 feet tall and wide, depending upon climate. This variety is part of the Northern Lights Series of hybrid azaleas developed and released by the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Any azalea released and included in this series will have flower bud hardiness of -30 degrees to -45 degrees F to withstand Minnesota winters. Photo: Kunkle Nursery.

Silene Rolly’s Favorite

Hardy to USDA Zone 5, this very floriferous perennial starts blooming in early spring and continues until early summer, if cut back after the initial flush. It grows 11 to 15 inches high and 10 to 12 inches wide. Although it has a neat mounding habit, it propagates itself easily at the extremities of its circumference. Gardeners are eager to share this plant with everyone they know because its intense pink color is hard to believe and impossible to describe. In bright sun, the pink petals are significantly warmer than the tones that appear in the photo above. Photo: Lorraine Roberts, Plant Paradise Country Gardens, Caledon, Ontario.

Thalictrum Black Stocking

One gardener’s pink is another gardener’s lavender. Although nurseries describe this perennial as flowering in bright lavender-magenta, in the blazing sun of summer, I see vivid, deep pink. That shade is further enhanced by a background of the nearly black stems of this tall, almost six-foot perennial. Surprisingly, for a plant of this height, it spreads to less than 2 feet wide, doesn’t require staking, and maintains a neat and disciplined appearance. This family of perennials has been one of the easiest to grow in my flower beds over the past twenty years. When shopping, it is important to keep in mind that not all Thalictrum bloom in the identical shade of pink. T. aquilegifolium and T.rochebrunianum, for example, flower in much paler shades of pink or lavender. As a result, even though they are substantial and impressive perennials, they are not as visually satisfying as Black Stocking. Photo: Chocolate Flower Farm.

Viburnum Brandywine.

The advance hype on this deer-resistant, berry-producing shrub reads like a Broadway production. I sure hope that I can reproduce its climactic season’s ending after I plant this shrub in my test garden, this season. Here is what the growers say: Hardy to USDA Zone 5, the extravaganza begins with undistinguished, white flower and ends with a fruit display that some consider unrivaled in the plant world. In late summer the color of the immature green, pea-sized berries changes to shades of bright pink and then to hues of bright blue and wild grape. [The pink color is intensified when the blue and grape appear beside it]. As a bonus, the glossy green leaves age to a very dark maroon red. This species will not thrive in chalky or alkaline soils and in the North Eastern U.S. it is susceptible to the Viburnum bark beetle. However, it is claimed that these pests can be controlled without chemicals.

Friday
Sep072012

The Surprise of Pink Hydrangea Invincibelle Spirit

Hydrangea Invincibelle Spirit by Proven Winners. The flower heads in my garden are a shade lighter.Readers might recall that I once had a roller coaster emotional experience with the pink flowering Hydrangea, Invincibelle Spirit. That love-hate relationship continued for the first two years after planting. The saga ended when I made peace with the plant by treating it as an integral part of my flowerbed design, i.e. as a summer perennial. I staked it when necessary and dead headed the spent florets when they blackened.

Image supplied by Proven WinnersHowever, something magical happened this season. This summer, Invincibelle Spirit, arched over nicely so that staking became an option and not a necessity, and the spent flower heads did not turn black. Then, during the month following the initial blooming, the spent flowers transitioned from pink to ivory-beige. As it appears now in my flowerbed, it provides a fascinating texture to the overall composition.

The camera captured a prominent green cast to the color of the spent flowers that was not visible in the garden.The unexpected and pleasant surprise continued when, in the midst of drought and searing heat, the spent hydrangea shrub was audaciously transplanted, by this sometimes reckless gardener, without any apparent consequences.

If only I had remembered one important fact about this plant, learned while researching it online:- deadhead flowers when spent. That action would have stimulated reblooming and I might have enjoyed an additional crop of pink florets. I’ll remember that for next year.

The above image demonstrates the appearance of the spent flower heads at the beginning of September, over a month after they lost their pink color. In full disclosure, the plant was staked just before it was photographed. Otherwise staking was not required, even after transplanting.

It has taken three years for me to appreciate firsthand what the grower, Proven Winners, had promised so long ago. I hope the results that I’ve experienced this summer turn out to be a permanent evolution; and not an aberration brought on by the unrecognizable weather conditions we’ve experienced lately.

Proven Winners attaches elaborate hang tags to plants in their series of Endless Summer hydrangeas. These tags are full of information influencing and reinforcing consumer decisions to buy. I wish that a similar marketing strategy had also been used for Hydrangea Invincibelle Spirit. That way, I might have been alerted to the possibility that this plant required maturation before I would reap benefits.

From another perspective, perhaps this variety should not be brought to market until it is at least four years old. It must be very challenging to be a commercial grower and find that, in spite of the sincere efforts of humans, the unpredictable and uncontrollable power of nature will always prevail.

Friday
May112012

Rhododendron "Rosy Lights" Formerly Known as an Azalea

I am a plant growing in Allan’s garden and I am not certain of my identity. My given name is Rosy Lights but my family name is puzzling. I used to belong to the Azalea family until botanists tested my DNA. From the results, they concluded that I am a Rhododendron. Why did they have to go and do that? Did they not realize how long it took me to learn how to spell azalea?

I find it hard to believe that I am actually a rhodo because I am not a broad-leafed evergreen. My foliage, which is smaller than theirs is, turns brown and drops off in autumn. Rhododendrons maintain their green foliage all winter. Allan likes them better than he likes me because, throughout the year, their leaves help to camouflage the foundation of his house. In addition, they are more substantial looking, their form is more elegant, and they make a more effective glossy green background for perennials than my foliage does.

In winter, I look barren compared to a rhododendron. Even in spring, there are noticeable empty spaces among my branches because I am gangly, my small sized foliage doesn’t spread far enough, and my shape is not as symmetrical as a rhodo is. That’s why I am placed away from the foundation, among the other seasonal plants. The foundation is reserved for those shapelier plants that are also reliable camouflagers. In small urban gardens, I am used as an ornamental shrub among the perennials. I don’t mind and remain proud because I bring breathtaking beauty to the garden.

In this photo shoot, I am seen blooming in the flowerbed in the second week of May, in Zone 4 and, except for spring flowering bulbs and Pulmonaria, nothing else is flowering now to give the homeowner pleasure. I have the garden to myself and there, I put on an eye-catching display.

Did you notice how photogenic I am? Is it because my flowers are iridescent? Or, did nature outdo herself when she designed my flower head? Some people confuse me with an orchid. Thanks for the flattery, but I believe that I am far more interesting. In this garden, I am known as an attention grabber. That feels good. It makes Allan feels good too, just to look at me.

Sunday
May062012

Pink is a Man’s Color? 

Fosteriana tulip Albert Heyn when the temperature is cool.Meet Albert Heyn. He is a pink Fosteriana species tulip growing in my garden. The bulb could have been named either The Heyn Tulip, or Albertina, or even Alberta. Nope! Someone decided that an attractive pink tulip - flowering in a color that used to be reserved for girls - needed a courageously masculine name. It is fascinating that my generation [yes, we are older] will consider this a cultural contradiction, while thankfully, such nonsense will go unnoticed by younger people. 

Albert Heyn drenched in hot sunI deliberately chose to work with species tulips because I had been taught that such early blooming bulbs perform just like perennial do; they will re appear for years to come. My sources must know what they write about because another species tulip, a red Kaufmaniana of unknown name, has been re blooming in my garden for almost 20 years.

Most species tulips tend to flower in warm-to hot-color families. For example, the awesome Gregii Casa Grande, blooms in a fiery scarlet. Fosteriana Albert Heyn is the first pink species tulip, I have ever seen.

A few surplus bulbs of Albert Heyn, hastily planted in late fall, as they appear at the end of a hot day in the sun. They would have been more attractive if planted in a round grouping instead of a straight line. Pink is the favorite color of my wife, my clients, and many gardeners. When it is included in flower compositions, it puts a smile on everyone's face. That is why, for years, I searched relentlessly for a pink species tulip to enhance the early spring flowerbed.

Albert Heyn, a medium height pink variety, was offered in my area for the first time, last fall. It popped out at me, from a mail order catalog page, where I was attracted to its pink petals, highlighted with a streak of violet. It practically had a client's name all over it, one who is very partial to plants in the lilac-pink family.

Last autumn, I planted this Fosteriana tulip for several clients' but did not reserve enough for myself. Now that I have observed the performance of only a few of these bulbs in my own garden - the peach overcast that appears on the petals in hot sun is a welcome surprise -  I intend to add more.

Next season, my test flowerbeds will benefit from the early punch of pink that this species tulip delivers. It will bring a smile to our faces; and no one will care that its given name is Albert.

Sunday
Jan222012

The Eveready Bunny is a Pink Garden in Devon. 

Here is an example of a pink garden that keeps on giving and giving. This photo essay from Holbrook Garden in Devon, U.K underscores that, in temperate and colder climates, pink is one of the most enduring colors in the garden.

The pink gardens of Holbrook in June

The pink garden in July

August flowers in the pink garden

September blooms in the pink garden

The last hurrah of pink in October