Monday, 17 September 2012

Clash of the `pink’ flowers

Out of all of the daffodils I love the lemon-yellow, so called `sulphur’ ones, the most. Buying a few in my 20’s means that now I have quite a few clumps here and there. Winter-flowering Narcissi are wonderful too.
Maybe it’s the sunny position – near the dwarf white peach – but lots of so called pink ones are flowering and I’m not sure quite how that happened. White petals (perianth segment to be precise) are centred with a trumpet (corona) of yellow leading to apricot at the mouth. It’s not just that apricot-pink is my least-favourite colour, or that the description that has me bothered (`pink’! - what are you breeders on?); it’s just awkward to use in the garden. Being right next to pink and plum hellebores (below) has brought this difficulty into sharp focus.
(Can I dig up every bulb? And put them where? I really don’t have the space or the inclination for any flowers remotely connected to orange. And I don't wish to give away plants I consider imperfect.)
Blue roses, too, are woefully mis-described. Sky-blue? No, they are a cloudy, dirty, rather pale violet, neither pretty nor unusual in the flower world. Yes, I know they are relatively-blue, as are the accursed relatively-pink Narcissi. And it rather begs the question: who wants a blue rose? Clearly someone out there will buy the newest thing but why? My aunt was fond of green (here we agreed) and apricot (here we did not) but even I was startled when she bought the latest Heuchera with its yellow-brown leaves imitating morbid illness too well. So (I think) I understand the breeders creating new hybrids with Frankenstein glee and dollars sparkling in their eyes; they may be having a lot of fun. Who’s to stop them? I have a suggestion.
Just as (I recently learned, with a snigger I’m afraid) the fabulous Chelsea Flower Show prohibits garden gnomes (yes really – other far worse atrocities have flown under the radar) so other garden shows could have a taste squad…rather like the upper class True and Prue; what could possibly go wrong?
Taste is incredibly individual and I guess my aunt saw beauty where I could not: lucky her. But shamelessly aiming for big bucks is pretty universal. Self censorship and self regulation do not work. But naming and shaming might work. And please, if you think that interesting new plant might be ugly then it probably is. 

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