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The Clash of the Pinks and Other Misadventures

August 1, 2010

This is the first year that that the fence border in my back garden has been completed, so this summer I am getting to see how my vision has (and has not) been realized. There have been pleasant surprises, like the way that the chartreuse plumes of lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) combined with the deep pink blooms of Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Karmina’ to repeat the colors of Spirea japonica ‘Magic Carpet’ across the walkway. But there have also been moments when I look at the reality of the flower bed, compare it with my imagination, and go “Oops.” These moments of “garden oops” are what Joene of Joene’s Garden calls “Goops.”

Hemerocallis 'Carribean Pink Sands' (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)
Clematis 'Comtesse de Bouchaud' Geranium endressii flower (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)
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Goops 1:

When I planted the left side of this border last fall, I moved one of my favorite daylilies, Caribbean Pink Sands, from the bedroom border, where it had not been doing well. So, I should have been thrilled when I looked out one morning a few weeks ago to see that Caribbean Pink Sands had begun to bloom; instead I groaned. Why? It turns out that pink sands have quite a bit of yellow in them, and this yellow-pink flower clashes with the blue-pink tones of Clematis ‘Comtesse de Bouchaud’ blooming behind it on the fence and the hardy geraniums blooming nearby. (Grace, how do you keep this from happening in your pink gardens?) Fortunately, I have an easy solution available. A lovely pale pink daylily, ‘Woman’s Work,’ which is currently languishing in the deck border, will work well with these other flowers; Caribbean Pink Sands can move to the deck border, where there are other yellow-toned pinks nearby.

Rudbeckia 'Herbstsonne' grown too tall and lanky (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)Goops 2:

I also discovered that a plant that performs well in one location may not do as well in a different part of the garden. In it’s partly shady spot up against the woods at the back of the blue and yellow border, Rudbeckia nitida ‘Herbstsonne’ forms a big shrub-like clump with foliage about 5’ tall and flowers on top of that. But in the full sun location of the fence border, this plant turned tall and lanky. The foliage had already reached 7’ before it began to bloom, and I had to tie all the stems to stout bamboo stakes or to the fence to keep them from flopping over. In addition, these usually make great cut flowers for the house, but it’s difficult to cut flowers blooming 2’ above my head! Note to self: cut this plant back in early June next year to encourage shorter, bushier growth.

The Goops meme is hosted on the first of each month at Joene’s Garden. Visit her blog for more Garden Oops.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. August 1, 2010 8:00 am

    Jean, your early pruning should work. I pinch back Heliopsis Lemon Queen each spring and this keeps it from becoming eight feet tall on the narrow strip where it is planted.

    Eileen

  2. August 1, 2010 9:17 am

    I have goofed with so many ‘goops’ Jean, I would not know where to begin. Now I just think there is always next year. Beautiful photos and I love the lanky looming towards the sky quality of your R. ;>)

  3. August 1, 2010 9:46 am

    I feel your ‘pain’, Jean! I move my eyes away from the part of my garden where orange calendulas neighbor my Mr.Lincoln and other dark-red roses. Calendulas were planted as vegetable companions, and roses… well, because someone gave them to me and I didn’t have other spot for them. Your Goops #2 looks Ok for me – very countrysidish (is there such word?).

  4. August 1, 2010 2:07 pm

    I love the term GOOPS!! I haven’t posted there yet since I have so many I wouldn’t know which to choose. It’s hard when plants don’t cooperate as we want them too, whether with colour, habit or bloom time. I don’t think your GOOPSes are all that serious, mine usually in volve lack of flowering or growing all together lol.

  5. August 1, 2010 3:25 pm

    Hi Jean. A gardeners on going moving of plants. I have this problem of your Goops (LOL!) quite often in my beds. What I think will look lovely together from photos in catalogs just clashes when their true colors bloom out. Hey, blame it on the pictures LOL! Your Goops are not that bad though.

  6. August 1, 2010 4:43 pm

    Jean, that is a gorgeous daylily — even if she clashes. I like your solution already, because the Comtesse wold surely protest at any attempt to move her royal self (she’s one of my favorites, and your shot is just lovely). Grace is an excellent choice to advise you on those pink decisions — her combinations are just enchanting, looks like the fairies came and did magic while she was asleep.

    How frustrating, to have those lovely cut flowers dangling so far out of reach!

  7. August 1, 2010 7:18 pm

    Clashing? Everything in my garden clashes.

    I don’t worry about it anymore.

    It is still a beautiful lily.

  8. August 1, 2010 8:15 pm

    Jean, thank you for joining GOOPs Day this month. I love reading the trials and tribulations of other gardeners – makes all of us feel we are not alone. Your GOOPs reminds me – and all readers – that garden design is never done. We tweak and redo according to actual flowering, actual site, and actual conditions. Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

    I invite all your commenters to join the ongoing GOOPs meme. Just pick one GOOPs and save the rest for subsequent months. The first admition is always the hardest!

  9. August 2, 2010 12:08 am

    Hello Jean,

    I believe that all gardeners have a long list of ‘goops’ that they have committed. I continue to learn from mine. I also love it when my ‘oops’ turn into something so beautiful – just by accident 🙂

  10. August 2, 2010 9:28 am

    Goops in my garden used to happen when I too planted day lilies that were sold as pink but bloomed in peach or orange. I dealt with that problem by preparing myself for certain disappointment. Every new day lily sold as pink was planted on probation. All disappointed me and I now no longer purchase day lilies sold as pink unless I need peach in the flowerbed.

    In the pink border, I have had better results with day lilies that are sold as having blue in their coloration. While they do not bloom in blue, the resulting colors, shades of pale wine-to-blue, integrate better with other pink perennials.

  11. August 2, 2010 5:40 pm

    The rudbeckia with the Caribbean Pink Sands look like they’d be great color companions if you’d be able to find a spot that would keep them both happy. I’m having many more color goopses these days now that I’m using more of my local natives. I’m staring at lots of bright yellow and a medium lavender these days. It’s pretty strident, but I’m trying to learn to live with the predominant colors of this season.

  12. August 4, 2010 7:24 am

    Man, I could dedicate the next 45 blogs to my “goop” stories and barely cover the topic. But the flip side to “goops” are the happy accidents that occur by trying something new. My goop to happy accident ratio definitely favors the goops, but it’s worth it for the handful of splendid moments that I can chalk up to serendipity. Those become the building blocks of my gardens.

  13. August 4, 2010 9:17 am

    It really is so much trial and error isn’t it? I have done the plant move that made me groan too. Have taken to cutting bits off plants and jamming them in the ground to experiment.

  14. August 4, 2010 9:41 am

    I think your “goops” moments are probably just you being too critical of yourself. Now, if I was to post up some of my goops attrocities, you’d know what I mean. I’m only growing to eat, and even I say “oops” a lot.

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