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!