Sunday, May 16, 2010

Seduced




I had clear ideas for the balcony this year. It was going to be colour themed, with in-your-face containers of orange and purple muted by others of yellow and pale lilac broken up by white. Sunflowers were going to tower above calendula, zinnia and marigolds interspersed by surfinias, petunias and daisies with big, yellow centres and white petals. Black-eyed Susans were to twine their way up the canes behind. In the early part of the season, cheeky little violet pansies would poke through the foliage, to be replaced later by white and purple verbena.

And this year, I was determined. There was going to be no pink.


So where did these come from?

I was seduced. As I am every year. When I got to the supermarket and found these amazing Surfinia, Impatiens (Busy Lizzie) and New Guinea Impatiens in exactly the same amazing shade of deep pink - well, I succumbed weak-kneed.

I think I'm going to have to give up pretending I don't like pink. It's true, it's difficult to pair with other colours - but purple works fine, as these pelargoniums that I've got on the office balcony show. The purple pansies look great between the larger plants. And then, there's always white - which goes fine with everything.




And it's just as well I succumbed. because all the rest - most of which I've grown from seed - is way behind schedule. We've had the coldest, wettest May I ever remember. It started pouring down torrentially on May 3rd, and has barely stopped since. We've had roads flooding, trees down, rivers overflowing and at one point 100mm of rain in just three hours not far outside the city. Temperatures have been down to 12/14°C (53-57°F), and the heating has had to be turned on again - something I've never known happen in May. Needless to say it's had a huge impact on agriculture - I read one report saying that a third of the area devoted to sweet corn (a major crop in this area) would have to be completely resown and that potato production was 40% down on usual.


And it's not been much better on the balcony. Seedlings which should by now be bursting out in growth are still just sat there, peering at me through the grey, cloudy gloom, as if to say you want us to grow at these temperatures ?? And seeds planted in April haven't germinated at all.

There is one advantage. The red spider mite must be loathing every minute of it. Two years ago they'd hit by May 12th. Last year it was May 20th. But this year I suspect we'll have a bit of a respite. Thank you, rain. Thank you.


Anyway, while I'm waiting for the rest, I've turned to pink. But whatever the intended colour scheme, there is one pink plant that I'd never be without - my Lychnis coronaria (Rose campion). I grew it from seed which I saved from my London garden several years ago, and it's bloomed regularly on the balcony ever since. I love the grey-green foliage and the stark contrast it presents with the flowers. This year (and I'm not sure why) it's suddenly grown exponentially into an enormous plant. And that in a container on the back balcony where I've had little success with other plants. Note the one weedy sweet pea that's come up behind it - despite the fact that I sowed liberally. But the lychnis is thriving - it's even dwarfing the hollyhock beside it.

I've got a lot of Lychnis seedlings coming on, and the plan is to fill that container with them. It would be nice to find a climber that would grow up the back though, to set them off.


So here's to pink. I offer it for this year's May Garden Blogger's Bloom Day. And long may it grace the balcony.




14 comments:

AaronVFT said...

I'm seduced by beautiful pink and purple flowers. They are so pretty!

prue said...

Oh wow that is such a lovely shade of pink.

Jan said...

I love pink... I can't think why you wouldn't want any! Those Busy Lizzies are looking great, and they're so easy to increase from cuttings too.

nancybond said...

Your pink is beautiful...and I think those bright, hot pinks look amazing with oranges and purples! Impatiens grow so well in my containers, as do geraniums, that I think I'll always have a quantity of them somewhere. :)

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

LOL! Lovely pinks and burgundy's mixed together. Every year I tell myself that I am going to get different plants in different colors than what I had the year before and i may end up with some different flowers but the colors always come back the same. LOL! There are just some colors we need to have I guess.

patientgardener said...

I have lots of trays of bedding plants on my patio that I didnt mean to buy and now need to incorporate so they look vaguely tasteful.

Victoria said...

The pink is lovely. I've gone for bronze and burnt orange this year, which means osteospermum with Lotus berthelottii and apricot nasturtiums. It seemed a good idea at the time, but the display will be slightly dependent on lots of sun. Now I wish I'd gone for pink!

Yvonne said...

Ciao Sue,
yes hasn't the weather been AWFUL! I have been watching the press coverage of the floods in Mialn & Po Valley, really bad. By way, an old school friend who lives in Prague asked me for websites on gardening for her expat journal and I gave her yours as a guide on balcony gardening. So if you get a rush of readers from Czech rep that's why!
Y

Carrie said...

just embrace the girl within and go with pink, pointless to resist! It's in our DNA x

Melanie said...

Pink is sort of the quintessential flower colour, except for roses.

pamsenglishgarden said...

Every year I tell myself 'no more pink' and every year I succumb. I guess I'm not alone. Your blooms are lovely!

melanie@baconseed said...

I really love your combo of pink with gray foliage. I love pink with dusty miller, lams ear, and sage. So beautiful! Thanks for checking out my blog "Pink Lady From Milan!" :)

Helen at summerhouse said...

I do like pink in the garden. Personally, I think it goes with just about everything. And anyway how could you resist those impatiens?

Sean said...

As a linguist, you should be more interested in Bloomsday...

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