Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The "Dame Ednas" of a garden...

Pink is quite a dividing colour in garden. Maybe not as much as yellow and orange, but still one of the colours people often do not like to get planted... Last week, I made a garden plan for a friend here in Seattle, and she commented the planting plan positively as "not containing any pinks or yellows" - something I hadn't even thought about while choosing the plants. The site faces South and is quite dry, so it just felt natural to go for gray greens and bluish shades for flowers. Normally I do more research about the client's wishes and favourite colours, but as this was not a "commercial project", I ventured to choose everything myself and accidentally "hit the nail" directly.
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In my new garden, I'm both glad and also a bit troubled (only slightly, though) by seeing what opens and comes up. For the moment, I have some real "Dame Ednas" around, and I don't quite know what to do with them. I try not to be too opinionated about colours as most of them can be incorporated in a garden given them right companions, but a sea of bubblegum pink is a bit of a challenge for me. There are a couple of old, double Azaleas (above), some quite plastic looking Kalmias (first picture above), and then several 3 meters (10 feet) high Rhododendrons (below) on the outer edges.
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It might, of course, seem a bit unfair to call these plants for "Dame Ednas", that wonderful, politically totally incorrect figure played by Australian comedian Barry Humphries ("I am a lucky, lucky woman, because I was born with a priceless gift; the ability to laugh at the misfortunes of others" - one of his subtleties on the video above...). But somehow, these real pinkies are not very humble either, crying for attention with their almost fluorescent flowers. Taking out such big plants would mean that I would need to replace them with something else, as they provide a good screen towards the neighbours. I could, of course, do the Japanese way and nip off the flower buds before they open (and get the extra benefit of a growth spurt as they could use all their energy for growing the new shoots...), but that is a huge task given the size of the plants. Maybe I should try adding shrubs with dark, maroon leaves, like the Smoke bush, Cotinus coggyria (below), and perennials with bright white flowers, that come out the same time, to dilute the bubblegum effect?
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5 comments:

Camellia said...

Jag är precis sån, har oerhört svårt för rosa, och särskilt chockrosa eller bubbelgumsvarianten. Trodde dock jag var ganska ensam om att ha BÅDE rosa OCH gul-aversion, men har börjat förstå att vi är flera stycken... Att klippa dina knoppar låter som ett Sisyfosjobb! Jag gissar att du har ett flerårigt projekt framför dig. Du skulle kunna byta ut dem lite grann i taget, en rhododenron i taget eller så, plantera en ersättare som får växa på sig tills nästa Dame kan tas bort.

The Intercontinental Gardener said...

Hej igen Camellia, jag tror att jag tittar på dessa ett tag och bestämmer mig sedan... Många av dessa växter är så stora att det blir dyrt att ersätta dem, och jag vill inte riktigt få så stora hål mot grannarna heller. Till all lycka blommar de en så kort tid, och i år är det så varmt att det blir nog bara en vecka :-)

kerstins blogg said...

Fina bilder

The Intercontinental Gardener said...

Tack, Kerstin!

Karne said...

Hey, cool that you are setting up shop in garden design here! I didn't realize that somehow. Yes, that's a lot of blowsy Pepto-Bismol pink for one garden... my mom has a kalmia but I think the flowers are white, could that be? I think it's kind of an ugly plant but did always like pinching off a few flowers before they were open and making them "pop" (also fun with fuchsias, but doing it to friends' moms' hanging basket ones is not advisable!). How do you balance those "grandma" plants? It's hard to think of much that would make those choices look more modern. Well, if you decide to remove the rhodie, let me know, I know someone who is a broker for mature rhododendrons!