07 February 2016

The green, green fleurs of home

I've been trying to remember when my fascination with green flowers began. It's a very polarizing colour, in that people either love it in flowers, or they don't. Some don't think there is enough contrast between the green of the flowers and that of the foliage. To which I say: there are myriad different greens, and enough of these varieties have contrasting colours in them to make them even more striking. But each to their own. 

The above is a Cymbidium orchid at the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens, part of the KC Irving Science Centre at Acadia University in Wolfville. This is a reminder that the annual orchid show will be held on Saturday, February 20, 1030am-4 pm at the Centre. You should visit. 

Some flowers listed as green will have white, pink, or other hue in them as well. This is an Acanthus (Bear's Britches), with a lot of green in the flowers as they begin. Gradually they flush with more rose to them, but the green remains, at least in the plant I trialed last year. I'm hopeful it will overwinter, as the man I purchased it from said it's more reliably hardy here than others. We'll see! 

This tall phlox is called 'Jade', although it might more accurately be named Jade Tips. I really like it and keep it in my garden, along with 'Sherbet Cocktail', which has pink, green and white in its flowers, because both bloom very well for me and have shown no signs of reversion. 

Amaryllis. I love them in any colour, including the so-called 'common' orange, white and red varieties. But this is 'Papillon' and really, really rocks my world with its striking green-and-red flowers. Anyone who has grown this variety tends to cherish and keep it indefinitely. 

I know I've waxed on about Astrantia in the past but if you've not begun growing this perennial, we need to have a talk. It's been one of my top ten perennial choices since I first discovered it, and continues to stay there. Masterwort, as it is commonly called, is related to sea holly and carrots (same family, Apiaceae, aka the dill family). Flowers feature a ruffled, papery bract around them which holds its colour for a long time. Florists apparently love to use masterworts, but my main reason for loving them is their irresistible nature--pollinators adore them. My friend Lloyd Mapplebeck of Hillendale Perennials loves this perennial too, and carries several varieties. Most of them come in shades of red or pink, but there are several that are white, and have enough green in their flowers to be included in this post. 

 Another of my top ten perennials is Eryngium, or sea holly. Most of them have highly showy cones of petite flowers surrounded by a spiky, ruffled bract, and most are blue; but many of them start out green and flush to blue as the flowers get mature. This variety, Miss Wilmott's Ghost, has very large flowerheads, and the flowers gradually turn silvery green to silver before fading to tan shades once it has finished blooming. Oh, how I love it! 
One of the absolute greenest of green flowers is 'Francesca' primula, which I finally got my eager hands on several years ago. The sunny yellow centres of the flowers just causes the green to look even fresher and more delicious, and I have mine planted near pulmonaria and brunnera, so the lacy blue flowers and silvery foliage makes an extra effective backdrop. I have another green primula, an auricula variety called 'Green Meadow', which I bought from Wrightmans Alpines last year when they were at the Rare and Unusual Plant Sale in Annapolis Royal, and which I absolutely adore. Primulas could become an obsession for me...

Primula 'Green Meadow'. Isn't it a dandy?

My fondness for coneflowers is also very well known, and I was so very pleased when the first green cone varieties, 'Jade' and 'Green Envy' appeared on the scene. Both of those pale, however, in comparison to 'Green Jewel' which is a more compact variety than some but so very, very green. Those dazzling centre cones hold their colour for a very long time, and the flowers are also fragrant, so the pollinators also adore it. 

When I moved to a smaller place several years ago, I knew I'd have to scale down the garden and thus also the number and size of shrubs I added. So I was very, very happy when 'Little Lime' hydrangea appeared on the scene. It's a smaller version of my beloved 'Limelight', which gets quite large, and its flowers are delicately green, flushing to a bit of rose and then tan as they age. Happily, I cut down an annoying poplar last summer so I've decided I CAN also have 'Limelight', as it will grow quickly quite large and provide some shade for a part of the garden that is missing shade in the heat of the afternoons. 

I don't focus much on annuals in this post although there are a few great green-flowered varieties, like Bells of Ireland, and some of the petunia cultivars that are green-and-fuchsia/pink. But my favourite annual with green blooms is Nicotiana langsdorfii, which has many sprays of petite green trumpet-shaped flowers and is quietly showy--if that makes sense. 

The snow melted so much this past week that my hellebores emerged from hiding and were showing buds--so I quickly mulched them with evergreen boughs to lull them back to sleep. This hellebore variety, 'Silver Lace', has green flowers with silvery-green foliage, and is very attractive. 

And to conclude this ode to green flowers, a green cymbidium similar to the one I showed at the beginning of this post. That one, however, belonged to someone else. This one is MINE, all mine. 

So, where do you fall in the green flower fan club? Adore or abhor?  


  1. I like green as a hightlight, a part of the picture but green flowers don't usually do much for me. I don't abhor them I just don't care for them. They are such a yawn.

  2. I think green flowers are beautiful but require a gardener with a sophisticated sense of color and the enthusiasm necessary to plan a color scheme for the garden. That pretty much counts me out, as I am more your "throw all the colors out there and let the garden gnomes sort it out" sort of gardener. The height of sophistication for me is to try to make sure my garden has more than one color of flower -- it seems as though no matter what I plant, the only plants that flourish are the ones that bloom in exactly the same shade of pale purplish blue!

  3. I love your Papillon amaryllis. I have this plant, but it only bloomed for me once and then promptly set about dividing. I now have two pots of Papillon bulbs which I keep going from year to year in hopes that eventually they will grace me with flowers again. -Jean

  4. Adore! (But you already knew that, didn't you?)

  5. What a lovely post. I love flowers of ANY colour, so green is fine with me too. Thanks for telling me about the February 20 Orchid open house. I've put it on my calendar.

  6. I loved this unusual posting, Jodi. I never thought about green blooms before, but must say I do like them. But I don't seem to have any other than hellebores, which turn green and stay on the plant all summer. Must read your article again and take notes. P. x

  7. I love green flowers and I'm happily surprised, that I'm not the only one! :D
    I have a border whereas green hydrangeas are mixed with 'Green Jewel' echinaceas along with some grasses. I plan to add some greenish Achillea millefolium 'Hella Glasshoff' and Alchemilla mollis plants to the scheme. Green is fun!

  8. Among our many other shared interests, I too adore chartreuse flowers/foliage ... green is the new white! (that I too love). Great photos, Jodi!

  9. I like your selection of green flowers, cymbidiums and Amaryllis are favorites of mine but I don't have many green flowers.


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