This month is all about the color pink. I don’t think I’ve seen a color yet that has so many adjectives attached to it. It’s associated with romance and beauty by many of us but it’s also considered a symbol of politeness, sensitivity and tenderness too. Interestingly, in many surveys about color, it has the fewest negative connotations attached to it but less than 3% of those who are surveyed will typically choose it as their favorite color. It is fitting, however, that we talk about the color pink in association with gardening as the word pink actually comes from a flower. Dianthus, which include flowers like Sweet William were a very popular plant in 14th century England and they were more commonly known as pinks. The color pink as we use it today developed from that association.
It's summer and the color pink will not only turn up the heat a few notches in your yard but it can also be oh so sweet too! Pink cannas can make a sensational display and when you grow a variety that has dark foliage it adds a seductive charm to your garden. Pink Bougainvillea and Mandevilla vines can brighten any deck or patio but if a sweet fragrance is what you are after than Pink Jasmine might be the plant for you. Finally, the bubblegum variety of Petunia will keep you “in the pink” all summer long and don’t forget to enjoy the cool and sweet taste of a refreshing watermelon before summer comes to an end.
When fall arrives it brings cooler temperatures but the color pink fits in just fine at this time of year too. Pink Chrysanthemums and Asters are usually quite prevalent but why not try Colchicum also known as Autumn Crocus for blooms that will start in September and go all the way through November. Cyclamen is another popular fall flower particularly in warmer garden zones but there are varieties that can survive in zones 4, 5 and 6 too. October is also breast cancer awareness month so why not purchase The Cure Triumph Tulips, Pink Surprise Hyacinths and Narcissus Pink Ribbon bulbs to plant now for beautiful flowers next spring. You’ll be honoring survivors and a portion of your purchase will go towards charities that support breast cancer research.
Have you ever noticed that after a winter storm the sky often takes on a pink color at sunset? It is not your imagination as cold fronts often come in behind a snowstorm with very dry air which can lead to this phenomenon. Even in the winter pink can brighten our days. A pink Poinsettia for Christmas can be a different take on a popular holiday tradition and beautiful pink Hyacinth bulbs along with their heavenly fragrance can be forced into blooming during the winter and can give us a little respite from the depths of winter. Pink is also a symbol of love so why not give you valentine some pink roses instead of red this year and just when you think the winter might never end be on the alert for Camellias whose pink flowers seem to arrive just when we need them the most.
Finally, there are few colors that can rival pink for reflecting the opulence of spring. The Cherry Blossom festival in Washington DC celebrates these beautiful pink flowers and having been to the tidal basin at this time of year I can tell you that it is like being surrounded by pink snow suspended in an early spring breeze. There are plenty of pink flowers to be found on shrubs like Azaleas and Weigelia and there are few flowers that can rival the opulence of a flowering pink peony. Clematis vines will be blooming before the summer arrives but perhaps it is appropriate to wrap up this celebration of the color pink by mentioning a flower known as Firewitch. It is a perennial pink flower whose blooms sit above gray needle-like foliage. It grows in several containers on my deck and it is a dianthus, the flower from which the color pink originated. If you’ve ever seen this plant in bloom I think you’ll agree that it does its ancestors proud and earns the right to be called “pink”.