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

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Entries in pink roses (2)

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.

Monday
Nov142011

The Surprising Autumn Pink of Rose Bonica 

Rose Bonica is an old friend. It has been growing in my garden for almost 18 years and has never disappointed me. I selected this plant when I first determined that pink was to become the dominant shade in my garden. Over the years, it would prove to be both the favorite of many easy-to-care-for roses that I would plant as well as the anchor for the color scheme.

After planting, a full three seasons would pass before it became established; once it did, it performed very well. Bonica is a reliable, floriferous bloomer with a crop of dainty, light pink flowers, enhanced by full sun, regular irrigation, and nourishment. I used to apply commercial fertilizer but now feed it Epsom salts and compost instead. The only attention this plant receives is the twice monthly deadheading of spent buds.

Now that it is mature, I allow nature to take care of its irrigation. The water sprinkler is turned on only when a drought or heat spell has lasted for more than five days. It's amazing how well this plant handles the harsh summer conditions that sometimes occur in USDA Zone 4.

Unfolding in a mini-explosion of pastel pink, Bonica’s roses are a delight to behold in early summer. However, they lose their pallor in the bright midsummer sun. While that faded look is disappointing, I have not made it a serious issue as, by that time, there are so many richly colored perennials blooming nearby to capture one’s attention. Besides, in August, the attractive shade of pink returns.

In October, something almost magical happens to this plant. As soon as the angle of the sun changes and nights turn very cold, the color of the rose is transformed from pastel baby pink to a very warm, deep pink with a subtle overcast of coral. This unusual shade is never on display at any other time of year. It’s one pleasurable bonus to have a bush pump out roses when all other flowering plants are dormant; it’s another to discover a new color in the fall garden.