Softly, In Pastels


Though it has the blazing fire-truck red of tulips and the blaring yellow trumpets of daffodils, spring is better-known for its softer palette of pastels, as evidenced by these photos. Whites and pinks and baby blues – the season of infancy knows how to tread lightly, and to wondrous effect. A cloud of forget-me-nots floats just above the ground, its mottled variegated foliage touched by silver and sage.

I grew some of these at my childhood home, in the woodland garden, where they could go freely to seed. Technically, they are biennials I believe, but their seeding is so prolific you can usually count on them for more than a few years, if you are flexible with where they land, or make some careful transplanting upon germination. The pretty foliage does tend to die back in the summer, which is why I never put them into the more formal beds.

The pink ranunculus above has always been one of my favorite flowers, though I’ve never grown them in the garden. The rose-like blooms come in shades both bold and soft, the latter seen here. They may work better as cut flowers.

Finally, the windflowers (Anemone) above are a deceptively fragile-appearing tough bunch, their corms surviving an often-hostile Northeastern winter. I grew these one year in a too-unforgiving spot, where they came up but once, and then I forgot about them and they never returned. Apathy is a terrible thing, often more viciously cruel than an outright infliction of pain or hurt. Better to learn these things in the garden than somewhere else…

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