26 December 2007

Reds flowers for the holidays! Part 1 of 2



Given that we're in the Christmas season for another week or so, even though that day is now over, I thought I'd brighten up the airwaves with a post on red flowered plants. Red is a challenging colour to photograph with a digital camera and get accurately; having something to do with the sensors in the camera (but I'm no professional photographer so I won't try to explain it.) My experience has been that I get the most accurate colour if there's not tooooo much bright sunlight around.

Red isn't a colour I use much in the house, in clothing, or, it seems from searching my photo files, in the garden. Perhaps this is because some red flowers are so overused, and badly overused. Instances that spring to mind include the red geraniums or salvia planted out en masse at gas stations, or red tulips (usually paired with bright yellow) planted in platoon-straight ranks. It's not that I don't LIKE red...but it wouldn't be listed as one of my favourite colours.
However, this red tulip above is one that I do like, very much, mostly because it's enhanced in its appeal by being fringed as well as red.


Technically, this tulip could be considered purple and white (and I don't know its name--it's an older file and I don't think from our garden). But I include it to show the range of what DOES get considered as being red by some. And I just love the tulip too, so if you know what it is, please tell us!


Primroses come in some delicious colours, including pure red, but where the red-and-yellow tulip combination makes me cringe, this planting of bicolour primroses makes me happy; it's a nice burst of different colour in the late-spring garden, when many pastels are saturating the world around us.

This is one of my favourite spring-flowering shrubs, the quince, or japonica (Chaenomeles); the redder the flowers, the more I love them. They flower just about the same time as the hummingbirds arrive back here, and I've watched them diving around the flowers looking for nutrients. Mine haven't fruited yet, but they're young, and not large. Some people sneer at these plants as being common; but they're a lovely burst of colour in my world.


I need an assistant when I go taking photos; I'm so busy photographing, I don't have time (or hands) to write down the names of every plant, if it IS labeled or the owner knows the name. So I'm not sure which of the newer red azaleas this is...it was at a nursery and next year it will be in my yard!


There's nothing fancy about this simple daylily, but I like its happy red colour. Many of the reds have contrasting throat colours, in orange, green, or yellow.

This is Hemerocallis 'Night Beacon'. I have it paired up with a deep wine-maroon daylily (Disraeli) and the contrast between the two works really well when they're both blooming.


This sweet William dianthus is popular with both butterflies and hummingbirds. And with humans who love its spicy-sweet scent.


We have hundreds, probably thousands, of free-range annual poppies all over our property. While some of them are the large, double, peony or lettuce poppies (Paeonia somniferum, yes, that one but I won't name it lest the plant-nazis come calling), we have plenty of P. rhoeas, corn or field poppy, cultivars splashed around the yard too. To me, poppies invite macro photography or simply macro-looking, to admire their complexities.

While shrub potentillas leave me mostly flat, because they've been overused by lazy landscapers for too many years, the perennial types make me really happy. This is the beautiful Potentilla 'Arc en Ciel', which does come in a dazzling rainbow of red-yellow-orange flower colour shadings. It's a bit tidier than some of the others, which tend to sprawl in ungainly fashion around the bed, but they're all very floriferous and long-blooming, too.


Yarrows are wonderful plants, but they've posed challenges for me in the past because they demand good winter drainage, or else they just won't return. I've solved this (I hope) by planting this Achillea 'Paprika' in a raised bed, where it should have sufficient drainage to entice it to return and perform brilliantly again next year. Or so I hope.


Part of the reason I hope for the 'Paprika' survival is because I have it colour-paired with this rich red helenium, or Helen's flower. I know fellow bloggers are fond of helenium too, and together, hopefully we can spread the good news about this late-summer, easy-growing perennial.

Stay tuned for another post on reds shortly!

11 comments:

  1. Oh I love red! I have a red and white kitchen. I have a red and white and pink master bedroom. I love red flowers that are interesting and different, so I LOVE this post! Such a perfect pick-me-up the day after Christmas, Jodi.

    Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

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  2. I can't seem to warm up to red in the garden (bad pun). It screams for attention. That job is taken by all the magenta already there. I have a flowering quince that is white, but it sports a couple of branches of red flowers. Sneer, sneer - that nasty thing was here when I bought my house & it's planted in the worst place. It's against the house across a very narrow path from Barberry. Yes, ouch! The quince does fruit, but I leave that for the birds. I don't enjoy digging thorns out of my fingers. I love that O*** poppy, though.

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  3. Layanee @www.ledgeandgardens.typepad.com/26 December, 2007 20:29

    Great reds and I must add that helenium to my list! That is a great red! Can't wait to see what red awaits us all in the next day or two.

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  4. I have several reds in my garden. At one time I had too many. ha imagine that. I have a few red daylilies too. They all have bird names, 'screech owl', 'oriole'...

    I haven't tried helenium. I will have to try it if it is so easy to grow.

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  5. Kris at Blithewold27 December, 2007 10:16

    Red is one of those colors in the garden that a little goes a long way. Like stage makeup it's good to have a red dot in the corners to make them (the eyes/the garden) riveting. That quince is gorgeous!
    kris at blithewold
    (I hope you don't mind the added link - I haven't figured out the open id thing yet!)

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  6. Your reds are gorgeous! I adore primroses and my grandfather had an entire bed of Sweet William when I was little. I like the color red, but other than the occasional burst of salvia, I don't use it much. Great pics, as always! (And nothing says Christmas like a red poinsettia!)

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  7. You've got me thinking about the spring a little already.-It's nice to be able to pop in to your blog and take a break from winter.

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  8. Beautiful reds, Jodi. And I LOVE the idea of thinking of poppies and such as "free-range annuals!" :)

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  9. Hey all and welcome! I'm late catching up with all my comments, so I hope you'll excuse.
    Cindy at Rosehaven, your red and white kitchen must be really beautiful! Mine is green and yellow (most of my house is green and yellow.)
    MMD, that IS a bad pun, but a good one too. You might want to cut out those red-flowered branches from your white quince, so that it doesn't revert completely.
    Layanee, I'm keeping a list of the interesting plants I learn about from diferent blogs....it's going to get quite long, I think!
    TSWCB; Interesting name!
    Lisa, helenium is easy to grow; takes sun to part shade, most any soil (I have it in heavy clay as well as in good drainage) just check that the cultivar you're getting is the right height, as they range from about 15 inches to five feet!
    Kris, no worries about the added link; Open ID isn't that hard, I don't think, but it IS a bit of a pain.
    Nancy, sweet William is a fantastic plant, one of my favourites.
    Larry, we could all use a break from winter, couldn't we?
    Kim, thanks for the compliment--calling them freerange has been a longtime habit of mine.

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  10. The picture of your hemerocallis Night Beacon shows actually Christmas Is. Night Beacon is much darker purple with a green eye

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