Garden Diary - March 2018

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Green (Flowers) for St Patrick's Day
Saturday, 17 March 2018

Leaves are green. Flowers are, for the most part, not-green. So why do we see green carnations for St. Patrick's Day? They're not really green, you understand - white carnations are cut, stems in container of water plus coloring which takes up the dye to tint the flowers. Let's think about this. Ireland is know as the Emerald Isle, for all the lush greenery. Songs such as The Wearing of the Green reinforce the idea. And supposedly St. Patrick's Day revelers once thought that wearing green made one invisible to the little people, fairy folk who would pinch anyone they could see. That would be anyone not wearing green. Then people began pinching those who didn't wear green as a reminder.

St. Patrick's Day bouquets have become more sophisticated
than green dyed carnations, as you can see.

There actually are some flowers such as these
chrysanthemums that are naturally green.

The turquoise daisies included in the
bouquets are, however, unnatural.

Which is not to say that there are no turquoise flowers.
For example, jade vine, Strongylodon macrobotrys.
Now, let's get back to flowers that are naturally green.

Orchids, for example. These paphiopedilum are definitely green.

As are these cattleyas. Green does come in multiple hues.

Delicate pink accents the green flowers of
Cymbidium Tranquility x Sleeping Dawn 'Green Gold Alba'

Stronger, almost maroon lips for the flowers of
Cymbidium Lovely Valley 'Peace in the World'

Not all green flowers require a greenhouse.
I saw these green primroses in the Netherlands.

There are bulbs with green flowers too. In fact, there is a whole class of tulips called Viridiflora. Their single flowers are distinguished by a band of green on the center of each petal. If you run your fingers over the petal the green portion is thicker, as it is actually misplaced leaf tissue. But one of the most beautiful - and easily grown - green flowered bulbs are gladiola

Image courtesy Old House Gardens

such as Gladiolus 'Green Lace', available from
Old House Gardens, source for heirloom bulbs
such as this gladiolus first introduced in 1961.

And I grow this green flowered tobacco,
Nicotiana langsdorfii, an annual which
self-sows here at BelleWood Gardens.

Green flowers make a cool combination in
gardens, such as Nicotiana 'Lime Green' with
dainty Zinnia angustifolia 'Crystal White'.

Or jazz it up with Allium christophii and
Echinacea purpurea. Goes to show you,
green flowers are good for more than an
Irish holiday, especially in the garden.

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