Friday, March 25, 2011

Color Essay Number 10: Shades of Red

I love absolutely love red. My dining room is red. I have a whole range of decorative accessories that are red. I even have a collection of red sweaters for pete's sake. So how is it that there are hardly any red flowers in my garden? I have been pondering this question as I put this post together. 

When I began my garden I did not have a color scheme in mind. Nor did I consciously set out to favor certain colors and exclude others. Yet, I seem to have ended up with lots of white, pink, and mauve flowers. Other colors, like yellow, show up and hog the stage for a brief time, but they are interlopers, not main characters.

I have a few red roses like the one above, but I have to say I would choose a pink rose over a red rose every time, hands down. Pink roses just seem prettier to me somehow. And of the all the pinks, I prefer dark pink roses best. Softer pinks seem to fade in the bright sunlight and end up looking washed out.

So where is the red in my garden? It is limited to a couple of roses,  some bee balm, a couple of oriental poppies (which are arguably deep orange in color) and smattering of gallardia. 

In this post, we will take a look back at the reds of the previous garden season- not in my garden so much, but elsewhere as noted.

Gallardia flowers- a great sun loving, self-seeding flower in my garden

This vine is an invasive nuisance in my garden, but doesn't it look beautiful
 in its fall colors on this church in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Red gladiola flowers from the Kingston Farmer's Market

A collection of birdhouses decorate my neighbor's garage door.

A colorful wagon from Canada Blooms 2011

Spigelia Marilandica or Indian Pink in the Kavassalis Garden Oakville. (see the garden here)

Yvonne Alexander Rose at the Royal Botanical Gardens. (See the rose garden at the RBG here.)

A hollyhock in the Kavassalis Garden Oakville. (see the garden here)

Rosehips in my garden

Red summer cherries. Yum!

Currants at the local Farmer's Market and below in my garden.

A row of red cherries.

Red dahlias from the Farmer's Market.

A dragonfly sunning himself. Aren't his red eyes wild looking?

Robert W. Auten Peony at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton.

Berries on a Canadian Yew just behind the back garden.

A burning bush in the fall.

Crazy red Swiss Chard growing in a vegetable plot at Edwards Garden Toronto.

Another shot of red dahlias. 

One of my Japanese Maples turning red in fall.

My frost covered red roses.

When it comes to my favorite color, am I a traitor when it comes to the garden? A guess I have to say that I am.

Have a great weekend!


  1. I have been accused of favoring red in my garden. I especially love the fall colors...dogwoods with their red fall colors are super. You found some great reds. Kind of sad those roses with the frost.

    Have a good weekend Jennifer!

  2. Your gallardia in your garden grows in our garden as well and look exactly the same;-). Love this blazing red collections.

  3. My gallardia is just beginning to bloom and I'm thrilled! My garden has a lot of red, yellow and orange and I've been trying to add more purple and white to cool it down a bit. The white has been a really nice addition in deeper shade spots. Your shots are beautiful as always. Oh, btw, love the idea of the colorful wire in your previous post. I'll have to pinch that one!

  4. Your photos are absolutely delightful. I ponder upon a post like this earlier today - RED because I have a lot of red photos including a red dragon fly. I am glad I didn't do it as yours would have overshadowed mine by a million times. The row of cherries is really cute.

  5. Jennifer, I love these colour essays. They make me wonder what colours I would like to see in my new garden beds.

  6. I tried three separate times to grow Indian Pink Spigelia marilandica but it wouldn't take for me. Your photo reminds me why I want to try again... it's such a delightful little flower. I just love all this red!

  7. Czerwone jest piękne :)

  8. I LOVE red! The bottom half of my dining room walls are red, my new garden clogs are red and I look like a damn gnome, and my garden is full of red flowers! I have a patch of spigellia near my blackberries that grows very well for me. The multi-hued hollyhock is gorgeous! I've never seen a hollyhock like that. :o)

  9. You have many beautiful images, but I just love red with purple like in your first image. There is so much depth to be had plus it plays on distance too in a garden.

  10. I love red, so I loved all the pictures. But that Yvonne Alexander rose is outstanding! The red dragonfly is amazing.

  11. Wooo...LOVE the frosted roses! I forget how beautiful red is until I see something like this lovely post. :)

  12. I always love your color essays. Such beautiful shades of red. I have a thing for red bird houses. Boy, I can't wait for some bright red tomatoes from the garden!

  13. Last year when Rebecca at Prefer to Be in the Garden invited other bloggers to find the colors of the rainbow in their gardens, I found that the one rainbow color missing in my garden was red. Like you, I hadn't made a conscious effort to avoid red, but even my bee balm is a hot pink rather than the classic red. Hmm. -Jean

  14. Another gorgeous color essay! My favorites are the currants, cherries, and Robert W. Auten Peony.

    In my own garden, there are some pure reds I like ~ Cardinal Flower, red roses, especially red tending toward blue ~ but I actually tend to avoid red in the garden except for special accents. It's such a strong color.

  15. Red can be such a troubling color in the garden as there are reds and there are reds. I like the orange-reds and the burgundy-reds, but not the more pinky ones. The church in Nova Scotia is my favorite in this series.

  16. I love red in my garden but like you I dont have many blooms that colour...two maybe.I have too many whites! Love this Red post, its fun and your photos are awesome!

  17. Great post - I love red too! the blooms in the wagon at Canada Blooms is my favorite. great photos/series

  18. Your photos take my breath away! They are an art form within themselves. You certainly have an artist's eye...can't wait to see some of your watercolors one day!
    by the way, what camera do you use...not that I could ever take such lovely photos!

  19. love the red theme! i'm working on a purple post! happy spring!

  20. After these photos I am absolutely sure which colour will dominate my garden. Especially red invasive plants look great on white background, I love the photo of the Cape Breton Church.


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