09 January 2011

In the Pink, the colour of happiness

One thing about snowy winter days: they sort of remove most of the colour from the natural world, swathing everything in purest white and turning other shades to somber, yet tranquil, darkness. Browns, greys, blacks, shadows. While the landscapes are soothing on such days, our hearts yearn for colour, especially in our quiet gardens.
Here again we turn to gardening in the mind's eye, remembering sundrenched days when the gardens blazed forth with a rainbow of colours, across the spectrum.

Apparently it's not enough to have a plant of the year, person of the year, song of the year...there's also a colour of the year, as selected by Pantone. This year, the colour is called Honeysuckle, and is an interesting shade of pink. I'm not a colour theorist, and I'm not necessarily a huge fan of pink, except where flowers are concerned. Our friend Joey of The Village Voice calls pink The Colour of Happiness, and I can certainly agree with her there--as I agree with her on most things having to do with the garden!

My favourite pink flowers are the annual and perennial poppies, which flaunt their colours throughout the summer, providing bees with pollen and me with plenty of delight watching the shows.
When I am able to cajole hollyhocks into blooming, they're never yellow, the colour I long for in hollyhocks. Oh no...they're always some shade of pink, or in this case, verging on fuchsia.
This pink gerbera is about as close as I can get to the 'honeysuckle pink' shade that Pantone has decreed this year's colour. What I want to know is, is this supposed to be a colour to decorate our homes with? Wear on clothing? Ummmm...I like it just fine in the garden, or in the house as a flowering plant, but that's the limit.
Last summer was the first in a few years that I was unable to find these most excellent African daisies, or venidium, anywhere at my favourite local nurseries. This plant has a metallic sheen to its flowers, which I've had in red, orange, and this lovely pink shade, and hope to find again this year.

Pink seems to be a polarizing colour, in part because it has been politicized for a certain disease, but aside from that it's a colour many people have a strong opinion about. What about you? Does pink have a prime position in your perennial preferences? Or do you push pink into the past, preferring pastels or pungent purples?

Okay, I admit it. Been working too hard, and insomnia is making me slightly giddy. Enjoy the pink petals, friends, and I'll return after I catch up my work and my sleep!


  1. Pink in the garden is vibrantly dynamic. I love its accents in colourful sploches of gerbera or venidium. And in January, houseplants in the pink certainly brighten the grey days of Nova Scotia. It is best left as an accent, though, because an overabundance of pink is rather like eating too much cotton candy at the fair.

  2. I'm going to think this over - maybe a pink bed would work - I certainly like all the flowers you've featured above. A trip to the nursery may be called for

  3. Good morning, it's funny how some pinks are wonderful and others not so much. My favorite is a soft pink pass-along daylily.Those daisies are sweet - hope you are able to find them this year...

  4. I dont mind having all shades of pink in my garden like yours! Those flowers are beautiful!. But Im partial to pink in my wardrobe especially the older me..

  5. Right now I would even enjoy some pink petunias. Our garden looks a lot like your first shot. Enjoy your nap.

  6. I love many shades of pink with a few blues mixed in and an occasional white for contrast. I love poppies too.

  7. I like pinks for gardens because they do give a feeling of happy. Pink almost always brings a smile. You are so right. The color ranges in hue and intensity so much, yet works well with most other colors. There is a pink for every garden.

  8. I've had a love hate relationship with pink. From ages 4 - 10 I wanted everything in pink. It was simply the best most beautiful colour in the world. and then I hated it. I haven't had pink in my house or wardrobe for the last 20 years. Could not stand it. A funny thing has happened though, it's creeping back into my life. First it was flowers and suddenly a pink tshirt, then two. A picture. I don't intend to return to my four year old self but if I start talking about painting the house pink somebody hold me back.

  9. Thanks for this, Jodi -- a welcome tonic. Pink is my favourite flower colour, something that surprised me when I began gardening. I won't wear the colour, or paint my home with it, but in the midst of green leaves, it's so lovely.

  10. Thanks jodi ... a happy post and lovely photos :) Browsing through my photo library, I realized just how much pink I really do have in the garden. I could carry on the whole month and since 'honeysuckle' pink is the color of the year (home/garden/fashion/paint), I just might! But like Joanne, I will keep it contained to plants. (Last year was 'not so fun' turquoise!)

  11. I ♥ pink.

    Well I did decades ago, remember the Miami Vice years...then I hated it. And now it is creeping back into my life gradually. A little flower here, a petunia there, and I am liking it a lot.

    Loving your collage, it's the perfectly pink "pick me up" for a gloomy day.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  12. Andrena, I LOVE the analogy of too much pink being like too much cotton candy. Exactly so! Where we have such a large property, we can carry a lot of colours, and I don't have everything massed together, but in drifts with other colours. It seems to work. Most of the time. By accident, of course.

  13. Great blog!
    That you were able to pull together all of these images, so soon after this shade of pink was announced to be the Pantone color for 2011, is very, very impressive.

    Do you have a record of the name of the pink Poppy that you photographed?

    The power of pink? Whenever I post an image of a pink perennial, the number of comments, that readers leave on my site, grows exponentially. Pink must be the most popular color of all flowers.

  14. I simply can't bring myself to like pink flowers. The odd one here and there to offer a break in the eyeline, yes. Massed. No.


  15. Dear Jodi,

    I think I have an over abundance of pink flowers in my garden. I swore I would not buy one more pink bloom, but there's always something pink among my purchases from the garden center.

    I wonder why I so often buy pink - if asked I would not say it is my favorite color in the garden. P x

  16. I'm funny about pink. In some things, I simply love it. Others...eww. But I think I must like it more in the garden than I'm willing to admit because I seem to have a lot of it and more each year.

  17. It's funny, reading back through these comments, how many of us have so much pink in our garden yet it's not our favourite colour. That's always intriguing, and it's certainly the case with me However, my rational for many pink plants is that they are beloved by pollinators; eupatorium, veronicastrum and veronica, monarda, asclepias, poppies, astrantia, all are hugely attractive in their pink shades, so that's good enough for me. Is it my favourite colour? No, not at all. But I sure have lots of it.

    The only shade I'm not overly crazy about is the pale, pastel pink, the shade of say the rosy evening primrose, a few of the hardy geraniums (cranesbills), and so on. But that's not to say I don't have it. 'Hope' echinacea is that soft pale pink and I love it.

    Allan, I'll answer you on your own page, but in case you've popped back here: those poppies in the montage were actually here when we moved here ten years ago, along with some red ones and some deep, wine/almost black doubles. I have no idea what variety or cultivar any of them are, I just collect up seed and fling it around the garden, so they grow where they will. I'll try to find an indentifying variety somewhere along the way, though!

  18. I had no idea there was now a "color of the year," but count me in as a big fan of pink! I drool over people's gardens with hot colors, but when it comes to buying plants for my own garden, I seem to be always drawn to pink. I guess it's true it does make me happy. Besides the garden, I think pink is a flattering color on everyone; I seem to have a lot of it in my closet.

  19. Oh Yes Jodi, pink is one of my FAVORITE colors in the garden! I'm glad to hear it is getting the recognition it deserves. I love all shades of pink, but especially hot pink! I love to wear pink and sometimes accesorizemy home with pink. Thanks for sharing. Your post brings a smile to my face. I can't wait to plant pink in my garden, even honeysuckle pink.

  20. What lovely photos. I've found your blog through Blotanical and am glad I did. At the moment in Paris we have no garden so any colour flowers would be welcome! On our little plot in England, we grow some wonderfully dusky pink echinaceas, a clump of rosa rugosa "Rubra' and that impossibly delicate, scented Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postill.' But we have a 7 year old daughter and these days probably have enough pink IN the house!
    I recently blogged on my growing attraction to quiet, dormant gardens in the winter - rather like your first photo! - and was surprised by the number of readers who agreed.

  21. That's a pretty color of pink. I have some pink in my bed of many colors, but I don't remember the shade.

    Some of my hollyhocks were pink when I bought them, but all I have now, are yellow ones. LOL


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