Right on schedule, Pantone has revealed the color of the year for 2021. In a break with tradition, there are actually two colors—a bright, buttery yellow called Illuminating, and Ultimate Gray. The minute I saw the yellow, I thought, perfect choice! It’s cheerful, and after 2020, we need all the cheering up we can get. But gray? Most of 2020 was a dismal, gray year, and the thought of facing yet another year like that is downright depressing. I don’t need to reinforce those bleak feelings.(more…)
Getting Into Shape
When we think of combining flowers in a flowerbed or border, the first consideration that usually comes to mind is color. Do we choose warm oranges and yellows, or cool lavenders and whites? Or do we combine the two, juxtaposing orange and yellow with deep violet, for example? Of course, color isn’t the only issue. Plants have other features that we should also take note of, such as height, foliage, and, in particular, bloom time. (There’s no point in combining flowers if they bloom at separate times of the growing season.) Then, we need to ask if they have the same cultural needs—shade vs. sun, or damp vs. xeric, for instance.
But how often do we consider flower shape when pairing blooms?
Dreaming of Summer
I don’t know about you, but even if I’m not sick with the virus, I’m certainly sick of hearing about it. Between all the advice (yes, I know to wash my hands) and the news articles that ultimately reveal how little we actually know, I’m full. Saturated. Satiated. Enough already. (more…)
Brilliant! Dazzling! Bright, vivid, and sparkling! With so much gloom and doom in the news, what we gardeners need right now is color, and the more intense, the better. It’s still snowing outside (yes, today, on the first day of spring), but that won’t stop me from enjoying the flowers of summer inside.
The Birds and the Bees
There we were, a gaggle of pre-adolescent girls approaching puberty, giggling as we shared the details of the recent talks we’d each had with our mothers. Apparently, the parents had gotten together and decided to synchronize their lectures about the birds and the bees. That was smart on behalf of the parents—armed with the facts, we wouldn’t be sharing misinformation.
I’ve Got the Classic Blues
If you’ve seen the hype (or have a daughter who’s a graphic designer), you know by now that the Pantone Color of the Year is Classic Blue. The Pantone Color Institute offers an explanation for their choice:
Shhh… the Plants are Listening!
Q: What has ears but cannot hear?
A: A field of corn.
Q: Why is corn such a good listener?
A: Because it’s all ears!
Q: Why shouldn’t you tell secrets on a farm?
A: Because the potatoes have eyes, the corn has ears, and the beans stalk.
Are you groaning yet? We make (bad) jokes about ears of corn, but it appears that plants might really have ears.
Is Deadheading a Waste of Time?
“Deadhead” can mean a number of things: a fan of the Grateful Dead, to complete a trip without paying passengers or freight, or an airline crewmember hitching a free ride on a plane so they can get to their assigned flight. If you’re a gardener, then deadheading means pinching off faded flowers.
August’s Yellow Flowers
What is it with August and yellow flowers? Last week Pete and I revisited the Yampa River Botanic Park in Steamboat Springs. As I expected, the gardens were in full bloom—dazzling in the clear mountain sunshine. As I strolled the pathways, I noticed expanses of Coreopsis, clumps of Rudbeckia, beds of sulfur-yellow buckwheat (Eriogonum), and sprays of goldenrod. And that’s when I realized that the majority of blooms were in some shade of yellow.
Annuals for Bouquets
Every year in early March, Pete and I discover a FedEx package on our front porch. It typically arrives on a cold and blustery, perhaps snowy, day. It may be winter outside, but I know that spring will be found inside that box. I run downstairs, grab a large vase, and rush back to the kitchen, where I fill the vase with warm water. I eagerly tear open the package. Then, carefully extracting the bundles of flowers from the box, and sliding the rubber bands off to separate them, I snip off the ends of each stem with a pair of kitchen scissors and arrange the as yet unopened daffodils in the vase. Thanks to some wonderful friends, over the next week or so, cheerful yellow flowers will provide the perfect antidote for Colorado’s late springs.