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

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Entries in pink perennials (8)


Succulent Jade Garden Sculptures with Hot Pink Trim a plant that needs no irrigation beyond its establishing year. Instead of the gardener, nature is its primary caregiver. That right!  Simply plant it and forget it, even if the soil is clay. Welcome to the world of the no-care perennials of the Sedum family. Swollen, succulent foliage, resembling jade sculptures in both color and texture, enable these plants to withstand extended periods of drought and neglect. A shallow root system and water conserving habit also make this plant an ideal candidate for use in rooftop gardens.

Overhead shot of Sedum Carl in a client's gardenSedum will not interfere with any gardening scheme as it blossoms when most other perennials have completed their flowering cycle. Throughout the season, it supplies a neat, semi-gloss texture to garden compositions; the forms of the upright varieties resembls serene broccoli-shaped flower bouquets that seem to ground the flamboyance of other plants around them.

Alternating Sedum Carl and Hosta in the first season of a planting.Allowed to remain intact for the winter, its dead heads provide visual interest to gardeners and food for birds. As a design element in the garden, this plant is one of my favorites. Strategically planted, it may transform any messy flowerbed into an attractive, interesting garden composition.

However shade, wet soil, and a placement unaligned with the sun, will prevent this plant from performing impressively. Some believe that it will grow successfully in shade. That is stretching the point. While it may grow in reduced sunlight, it does not thrive there with the same robustness that it displays in a sun-filled location. In addition, wet soil will cause its root ball to decay. A sunny, well draining placement is best. Fastidious gardeners should bear in mind that some varieties of this, otherwise upright, disciplined plant might sprawl horizontally if they are not aligned with the sun’s path.

I found a Sedum plant of unknown pedigree in the first garden I tended. A neighbor, who previously had owned our property, placed it there. When I mentioned how much I admired this dignified plant, and asked where I might find another, he dug up mine, sliced the root ball in half, and handed me two plants. When a rootless stalk of one of the newly propagated Sedum fell away, he inserted it into the soil, like the peg of a tent tether, promising that it would grow into a third plant that same season. It did!

The Sedum propagating trick took place almost fifty years ago. Since then, the lone plant that I found in my flowerbed has generated hundreds of gift plants for anyone who admired it.

Recently, a client installed a new front walkway and asked for suggestions how to landscape around it. The first, and most effective, treatment did not sit well with her. Originally, I recommended bordering both sides of the walkway with small round boxwood shrubs, to delineate the concrete  from the grass. When the client found the round, neat shapes of the Buxus too severe, we agreed upon a treatment of alternating mid-height Sedum with low growing Hosta. The images above describe the final plan.

At the time, I could not propagate sufficient Sedum in my garden to complete the project, nor could I locate more of the same. The name of the strain growing there had always been a mystery. Therefore, I had no chopice but to select stock from among the newer varieties currently offered by the trade. I chose Carl, [a.k.a. Karl]  because it was the tallest Sedum available that season.

However, I had not expected Carl’s florets to bloom in a color so impressive. The almost-iridescent, dark, fuchsia-pink [a.k.a. magenta-pink] was a welcome change from the duskier shade, usually associated with Sedum. In the end, I was pleasantly surprised with the color impact that Carl created and the client was delighted with her newly trimmed walkway.


Silene, a Bitter-Sweet Perennial

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.


Pink Filipendula,a Romantic Perennial

Pond garden with Filipendula by Mooseys Country Garden. Click on the image above to visit their site.


F. Kahome,12 inches tall, bright pink.About 20 years ago, when I came to understand how much the color pink in the garden meant to my wife, I began a search to find as many pink perennials as possible. On a hunting trip to the nursery, I stumbled upon a perennial that was new to me: Filipendula. Not really knowing what to expect, I added it to the pink repertoire in my garden.



F. Multijuga, 16 inches tall, pink.In its first season, it produced a modest low mound of foliage that produced tall spikes topped with feathery pink flowers; it maintained that dignified posture throughout the growing season. That was impressive. I also noticed that the foliage of this plant was similar in character to Astilbe. The base of the plant is always neat, and never spreads excessively. Like Astilbe, it is easy to lift and divide.




F.purpurea Elegans, 24 inches tall, dark pink.By year two, the number of spikes doubled and so did the number of pink plumes. By now, it had “gotten” to me. It was beautiful in a romantic way. By the third year, it was magnificent and made the garden into an enchanting place. Compared to other perennials that grow exponentially, this one never became messy and never spread very far. Yet, I have been able to propagate many offspring from this very first plant.


F. rubra Venusta Magnifica, 72 inches tall, Pink.I forgo the shorter, intensely pink varieties of Filipendula, that are include here, in order to focus on one variety only. Filipendula rubra Venusta Magnifica , the tallest and my favorite, has the power to transform any perennial garden from ordinary into majestic. Here is a perennial whose presence adds a romantic element that references the English style gardens.


F.rubra Venusta Magnifica in the old rectory garden of Sudborough, UK.


Garden photo, with Filipendula in the background, was taken by Brenda Adams, for the Anchorage Daily News. Click on the image to read the article.Filipendula will show best when grouped in threes or when planted repetitively in odd numbers. Do not plant it as a single specimen because it will not project from a distance. Its coloration will appear pale and its flowers will look too delicate. This perennial grows in sun to part shade in zones 3 to 8. Depending on the variety, its flowers will bloom from July until August or September. It is not too fussy about soil. Click here to see another image of tall Filipendula.

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