04 March 2009

It's not that easy bein' green...

My apologies for seeming to have fallen off the radar the past few days. Because of some interesting events in my life in recent weeks, I've taken on a new project that is both highly challenging and highly satisfying. However, it is keeping me VERY busy, and also out on the road some. So as sometimes happens to us all, I have gotten behind in my blog reading, commenting, and even my own posting. Rest assured, however, I'm still around, just busier than a Nova Scotian snow-shoveller with only a teaspoon with which to clear the drifts. 

All the weather tantrums of recent weeks, coupled with the blossoming of spring in some of your gardens further south/west/'nother continent/hemisphere has got me craving green in the very worst way. And I don't mean the green that forms in the bottom of my vegetable crisper when we forget there's a cucumber in there. I'm looking for signs of gardening life. Since I won't see them for a while, I turn to my photo albums. And since several of my blogging friends have been talking about green-flowered plants in recent posts (and if I was less tired I'd go find the links...) I had the urge to talk a bit about green flowers.

I suppose for some people, the notion of a green flower is a bit bizarre, since normally we're craving all kinds of colourful blossoms in shades of blue, rose, red, gold, orange, and purple. But I love green flowers, in part because they are not hugely common, and because they're fresh and wonderful and just appeal to my delight in unusual things. So I'm sharing a few of my favourites, including two echinaceas; the delightful and perfectly named 'Green Envy' (top two photos), which I've had for two years and just adore, and the more comical but equally delightful (and delectably named) 'Coconut Lime'. The latter doesn't look so much like a coneflower to the purists, maybe, but I like its shaggy, mopheadedness. Is mopheadedness a word? If not, it should be!

As those of you who read one of my favourite blogs, Our Little Acre, know, Kylee scored herself a bargain phalaenopsis the other day, and it's one of the handsome greenflowered varieties. Although I've yet to meet a phal. that I didn't love, the green or greenish-yellow flowered types, like Phal. 'Golden Music' are particularly appealing to me.

This is my own green phalaenopsis, sadly nameless other than 'Jodi's prolific green monster' (I believe that's what Longsuffering spouse nicknamed it last year. It's still resting, which means I should get my act in gear and move it into a better lit location and get it forming flower stalks


From the truly exotic and unusual, we visit something equally unusual but not quite so showy. This is the alpine Bolax, (I believe the species is glebaria but I'm too lazy to go find my records right now). It's a native of South America, but it grows in an alpine trough whic I overwinter inside the greenhouse--unheated, but protected from wind, rain, snow, sleet and other assorted insults. It's a very cool plant, slowly forming a mat, and very plastic-looking in appearance.

This is the annual Bells of Ireland, a truly cool plant. The green 'flower' is in fact a bract, or modified leaf, with the tiny creamy object in the centre the actual flower. I've grown these from seed and had fun with them, but they have declined to reseed for me, and I find germination very spotty. They have a lovely delicate minty-lemon scent to them which just adds to their charm, and they're very popular with florists.

I'm very fond of hydrangeas, as I've written before, and this is the Proven Winners PeeGee type 'Limelight.' I love this plant. It hasn't given me a lick of trouble, it flowers like mad maniacs, the flowers gradually fade to tan (and a few of them are still hanging on, the last time I checked.

Now, the purists among us might debate the colour of some euphorbia species and cultivars, preferring to call them chartreuse or acid-green or yellow. But I'm looking at the bracts surrounding the flowers of this Euphorbia 'Efanthia', and they seem decidedly green to me. Whatever you call them, I like them. 
It's no secret that I am also highly fond of tulips, especially the viridiflora types. I believe we have 'Groenland' and 'Apricot Parrot' (fading to pink from apricot) in this photo, and I like these later-blooming tulips even more because they present these intriguing colours and patterns when a lot of other plants have begun their riot of rainbow shades; they're a bit more subtle, and soothing as the heat of late spring begins to find us. 

And this is one of those plants that makes me jump up and down and declare "I want I want I want!" Primulas do very well for me, and that's almost enough to make me go after 'Green Lace', but for one detail; the literature I've read put it at zone 6, and I'm a mixed zone 5 a-b, depending on where in the garden you go. It's still a new introduction so I may be good and hold off for another year. Unless I find it in a nursery, and then there's no guarantee that Urgent Plant Seeking Madness won't strike me suddenly. 

And last but never least, a viridiflora that causes me both joy and sorrow/frustration. A green flowered hellebore caused me to fall in love with these plants nearly a decade ago, and I've been dallying with them for the past six or seven years. As many of you know, until last year that dalliance was mostly an unrequited love affair, but last spring, with the help of Faire Frances, I did succeed in getting several plants through to joyous blooming. I'm not quite ready to try the lovely green hellebore again just yet. Not yet. I keep telling myself that. 


  1. Gosh Jodi, I think I don't like green blooms then I see your line-up and I think, "why not?". A pretty selection of greens you have shown us.

  2. My favorite color!
    very nice post...

  3. Congratulations on the new and interesting events in your life. I'm so glad that you're feeling well enough now to do some fun things.

    I'm not crazy about green blooms in general, but I really like that 'Limelight'.

  4. Ah yes! So much green loveliness here! I'd forgotten about so many of these! Those darn Bells of Ireland - one of my very favorite annuals, if I could just grow them! I'll be trying once again this year and maybe the third time will be a charm. Let's hope!
    And I was to be sent 'Coconut Lime' last year from an online nursery and it turned out to be a white one. They were to send 'Coconut Lime' towards fall when they had some more, but I never received it. I must check on that!
    This was a great post, Jodi! (And thanks for the link love!)

  5. Enjoyed seeing all your greens. I love bells of Ireland, as my Grandma had them in her flower beds, but for some reason they just haven't grown for me. Any secrets?
    If I see on of those Echinacea Green Envy plants, it will probably jump in my cart. :-) s

  6. Apology not necessary, jodi ... here, there, everywhere, nowhere ... we're happy you're feelin' great and posting up a storm! Green is good ... the prime color of the world ... a lovely post.

  7. Wow, that is ALOT of green flowers! We grew green zinnias last year - they were really neat.

  8. I'm one of those green flower lovers. I'm going to look for the 'Green Envy' for sure this year. I tried the Bells of Ireland from seed and had about three 4"tall plants, although they did get mini flowers. Thanks for all the great suggestions.

  9. Green is my color, and I love green flowers. Thanks for sharing pictures of these, I have "green envy" for sure.

  10. Hi Jodi, how exciting! I hope you are enjoying whatever it is that is taking up your time! Love the greens. That Bolax is fascinating! I like the sound of your unheated greenhouse, lot of opportunities for fun stuff in there. And thanks for the link love. I do hope your hellebores give you great joy this year too. Some of mine turn green with age, the whites in particular, late spring into summer. The Bells of Ireland are exquisite. I have never had good luck with them, but with the new seed starting paraphernalia might just try again.

  11. Jodi,
    I had no idea there were so many green flowers! We did get Green Envy last year. It was just a tiny plant, hopefully it will be better this year. Don't worry about the project, the closer spring gets the less available we will all be.:-)--Randy

  12. "Busier than a Nova Scotian snow shoveller...", LOL. It's no wonder you're craving green after the winter you've had, Jodi. I'm not a fan of green blooms in general, but I did buy a Limelight hydrangea last year and love it. I just hope it survived the winter here.

    Don't feel apologetic about not keeping up with comments and reading--it's just great that you're finally feeling well enough to be so busy!

  13. I'm glad someone mentioned green zinnias. My grandmother always planted a massive bed of assorted color zinnias, but always had one small bed devoted to green zinnias, Envy, I think. I can't see one without remembering her garden when I was a child in late 60s early 70s.

  14. I didn't realize there were so many green blooms. Several years ago a friend was excited about getting a green rose. I was disappointed in it but she likes it and that's what matter.

  15. Wow, your green flowers are spectacular, jodi! I particularly like that primula, too. I like your notion that you "delight in the unusual", because that is surely true for most of us. :) And I want one of those greenish orchids! (Still watching the buds swell on the one I do have. :)

  16. Jodi, I do feel for you in your lack of spring. We are just beginning to see her coming over the horizon here. Green is such an ususual color for flowers one cna't help but be captivated by them. I grew Bells of Ireland last year and fell in love. Now the green zinnias were a another story. They looked all mis-shapen and puny. I am looking for a Lime Light Hydrangea this spring. Yours is gorgeous. Good luck with your new project.

  17. According to someone who posted on 28 September 2007 (a little autumn miscellany Pt 1) that is Bolax gleberia.

    From the Falkland Islands it's also known as Astroturf. Guess the plastic look lends itself to the name.

    I wouldn't have checked up on ya but after seeing it I wanted some for a tufa trough.

  18. I do know how you feel and wish you the best with all this busy-ness. I'm glad it's rewarding. I too love green blooms and you have posted some lovely ones.

  19. Hi Jodi, Great post. Green goes with everything. It's the perfect harmonizer and aren't we all wanting a little more harmony in our lives?

    I hope your new endeavor is enjoyable and fulfilling. Your garden buddies here will understand if you can't always make it to the board room. We'll be here when you get back. :)

  20. I enjoyed looking at your green flowers. I love that primula. I've been able to grow a few zone 6 plants here. I have had bells of Ireland seed in my herb garden the last few years, but gave them all away last year, except for the one I moved to the new bed. Hopefully, it reseeded there.

    I had a euphorbia that turned out to be a weed that is illegal to grow, so I pulled it up. We'll see if it stayed pulled up.

    Have fun with all the busy stuff you are doing!

  21. Lovely! I'm a huge fan of those greens. I haven't had any luck seeding Bells of Ireland here yet, but I may try again this year - thanks for the reminder. My favorite is that Primula. WOW is that a nice one.

  22. Hi Jodi, what an amazing green flower parade, most of them are new for me. Interesting I have one green flower in my garden, a Helleborus. But I'm adding Green Envy this year. My garden is still sleeping the deep sleep, nothing is interesting :-(. But I'm so glad that the days are getting much longer, soon it will be spring....very soon.

    Great post Jodi.

    Take care/Tyra

  23. Just stopped in to say hello, it has been a while since I have been here. Your flowers look lovely, as usual. How much snow is still covering your gardens. We are having a warm spell, so and the snow is going fast, thank goodness. Mud season is just around the corner!

    Nothing green or otherwise here, except in the kitchen window.

  24. Yes I like green flowers particularly because they are rare. They are beautiful, too! You have so many that prove green is lovely!

  25. How very exciting for you Jodi to have a new satisfying and challenging project! That is the best kind! You've shown us a very interesting display of greenery! They challenge me to think outside my own garden box...that is the joy of visiting bloggers! I have seen and marveled over the Bells of Ireland, didn't know about its fragrance. Maybe it will be in a local nursery!
    I hope the weekend sees some melting up there! Gail

  26. Jodi, I love green flowers,too, especially Green Envy and Bells of Ireland. I usually mix mine with white flowers which makes our hot temperatures seem a little less intense.

    Always Growing

  27. Such a breath of fresh air, your blog. Green flowers are gorgeous.

  28. Some lovely greens there Jodi. It's a shame that we often ignore them for brighter coloured flowers. I do like the contrast of the primrose against the brunnera.

  29. I love green flowers - at one point it is all I had, (in another garden) again a delightfully informative post


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