My first, but hopefully, not my last Dahlia.I read a recent blog posting on GardenRant that linked to a list of garden "hard truths" and one of the truths sort of bugged me, stuck in my craw, if you will.
"Flowers, from a design standpoint, are non-essential--throw pillow equivalents. It’s foliage that makes the garden. Or, as a former Sunset garden writer once put it, 'Buying a plant for its flowers is like choosing a wife for her bonnet.' "
I have heard this advice/truth before and its always bothered me. It seems to me that it seems to imply that "real" gardeners don't care about flowers, short-lived and fragile -- they just take away from the true stars of the garden -- the foliage. I know there are Hosta collectors out there, and people go ape for rare types of conifers, but I couldn't imagine a garden that didn't have flowers. I can imagine visiting such a garden once, but not returning to it. So in defense of the lowly flower, I will supply these photos as a rejection of this "hard truth."
I supposed the foliage is lovely on these California Poppies and Nigella damascena, but I wouldn't have planted the seeds if they didn't have these delicate and delightful flowers
My new favorite rose is this Belinda's Dream. It reblooms, it smells nice. I can offer no comment on its foliage.
This Carefree Spririt Rose is all about the flowers, contantly, non-stop. I supposed you could argue that the rose is great not because of its flowers, but because it is drought tolerant and disease resistant, but I think the flowers are really nice.
This Strawberry Candy Daylily is a repeat bloomer and drought tolerant, but I just think its pretty.
My floribunda rose, "Sun flare" does has terrific foliage, but I certainly wouldn't care about it, if it didn't have the most lovely yellow buds throughout the summer.
Two of my favorite plants, Lavender (Munstead variety) and Yarrow (Achillea). Both have that gray, spidery foliage that is popular these days, but I love the combination of the flowers, the soft purple spikes with the contrasting white umbrels.
Everyone seems to be putting down the lowly Rudbeckia (brown-eyed Susan), but it blooms for over a month, is drought tolerant, and the yellow contrasts with almost everything in my pink and purple garden, especially this Flowercarpet rose (a line of roses I am totally in love with).
I think the Rudbeckia also works well with my Rubrum Lily, which has the most wonderful scent, and blooms for quite a while.
I did buy this Caryopteris divaricata for its foliage, but I love how it provides a framework for the Cosmos to weave through. So I do admit readily, there are qualities to plants besides their flowers you should absolutely consider, like drought-tolerance, length of bloom, disease resistance, and whether a plant's form/foliage/color will complement its plant neighbors. Considering how a plant will look after its lost is flowers, perhaps should be emphasized more, but buying a plant just for its foliage seems to be missing the point a bit.
List of Plants:
Nigella damascena (Love-in-a-Mist)
California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
Rosa 'Belinda's Dream'
Rosa 'Sun flare'
Rosa 'Carefree Spirit'
Rosa 'Flowercarpet Pink Supreme'
Caryopteris divaricata 'Snow Fairy'
Lilium speciosum Rubrum (Red Species Lily, Rubrum Lily)
Cosmos bipinnatus (Cosmos, Mexican Aster)
Rudbeckia fulgida (Brown-eyed Susan)
Hemerocallis 'Strawberry Candy' (Daylily)
Lavender angustifolia 'Munstead' (English Lavender)
Achillea sibirica (Siberian Yarrow)