Single Bloom People, Double Bloom People

Recently I had an exchange with Christina of Creating my own garden of the Hesperides about the possibility of all people being divisible into two types: those who prefer single blooms and those who prefer double blooms.

Japanese Anemone 'Honorine Jobert' displays the virtues of the single bloom.
Japanese Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ displays the virtues of the single bloom.

Single blooms, we both agreed, were best. For me, single blooms are appealingly simple and unadulterated. Double blooms tend to be excessively … busy, in a way that is distracting. Single blooms are like a slice of apple pie, double blooms are like those foams they serve at avant garde restaurants.

Echinacea 'Pink Poodle'
Echinacea ‘Pink Poodle’ with its double flowered bloom. What an awful thing to do to an innocent plant.

And people who prefer single blooms tend to be wise, honest, and compassionate. I’m not claiming to have all those qualities myself, I am merely laying out the facts.

A new study by Harvard University researchers, which I am fabricating as I write, divides prominent historical and contemporary figures based on their stated preference for single versus double blooms. The study’s findings may surprise you!

People of the Past and Present Who Prefer Single Blooms

the Dalai Lama
the Dalai Lama
Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt
Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs

People of the Past and Present Who Prefer Double Blooms

Louis XIV
Louis XIV
Imelda Marcos
Imelda Marcos
Bill Gates
Bill Gates

Where do you stand on the single bloom/double bloom divide? Do you feel lovers of double blooms have been slandered? And no sidestepping the question by claiming to like semi-double best!

69 Comments on “Single Bloom People, Double Bloom People

  1. That is so funny. Mostly single bloom here, but once in a while I like to toss in one of those “fancy” plants.

  2. LOL! I must admit I’d prefer to be in the Eleanor Roosevelt category tham Imelda Marcos, but I also have to admit that I like SOME double flowers. I don’t think I’ve got any in my garden though, except for a very pretty Philadelphus shrub, so does that save me?! 😉

  3. You made me chuckle and I’m not in the least surprised! I’m a lover of single blooms because they’re so charming and a lot more useful for insects. I do have roses filled, double flowers though. I agree it’s quite disgusting what some breeders do to some plants.

    • Good point – I should have mentioned that single blooms are better for pollinators! Roses, I admit, are a bit of a special case.

  4. I am with you on the single versus double debate. I suspect most gardeners are. But I make exceptions for double Hellebore; I don’ t prefer them but who can resist their frilly party dresses? Also Barnhaven double Primroses, don’t tell me you don’ t like them.

  5. I guess I am a double. I do have singles in my garden. 🙂

  6. I really love those fancy overbred doubles such as dandelion flowers! Can you honestly say you look at a double bloodroot and say “ugh”?

  7. It’s easier for me to vote single based on the people than the blooms. I don’t fit into one category so easily, but having followed Christina’s blog for a while now certainly has made me look more closely at the simple beauty of the singles. That echinacea could push me into the definitely single bloom category.

  8. I do prefer single. As Sarah says, it is not difficult to decide when you think of hollyhocks. However I believe the cards are stacked against these poor doubles here. I doubt there are many gardens without any double flowers.

  9. I think the pollinators in my yard prefer the singles: I imagine the flatter surfaces are much easier to land on. Love love love Japanese anemone.

    On the other hand I am a sucker for fluffy peonies. Guess I am a fence sitter.

      • hahaha I have seen that effect and you are absolutely correct. Drooping mush. I wish I could grow either type here but I am pretty sure it just doesn’t get cold enough.

  10. No fair! The “double” you show isn’t a double; it’s one of those throat-choking, face-swallowing Elizabethan Collars!

    Whew. That being said, I like to scatter a few doubles–Some Campanulas, Rose of Sharon, Columbine, and, yes, a few ruffled Hellebores in with my singles. 😉

  11. I’m not sure I fall into either category Jason. I know I should and do plant singles purely for the wildlife but also choose the occasion double. I do love my paeonies to be big and blousy – yet can’t fathom those double Dahlias!

    • As I said to Emily, I prefer single peonies. However, I am willing to make an exception for certain double flowered roses.

  12. It depends! When I think of zinnias and marigolds, I prefer the double blooms, but for many other flowers, I like the single. And I think you have Steve Jobs and Bill Gates backwards!

  13. I’m a single (bloom) gal! And ‘Honorine’ is the paragon of that category, IMHO.

    • ‘Honorine’ is indeed such a lovely flower. They say she can spread aggressively, but frankly I would be delighted if she got that way around me.

  14. Hilarious!

    I have Imelda moods, although I own very few shoes. I also have saintly moods, though I’ve been known to have a wicked sense of humor.

    Generally, however, I find single blooms much more sophisticated, classy, and honest.

    And any flower named for a poodle… well, that degrades the canine.

      • No problem, it is nice that we think in the same way about the single versus double debate. I agree too about roses being a special case although even single roses have a charm that. doubles don’t

  15. I like to have a bee friendly garden, and they usually prefer the single bloom flowers. But there are also many wonderful double ones….

  16. I’m another one of those “it depends” people. Double Echinaceas seem obnoxious. But double Roses or double Camellias melt my heart. (A realist with a touch of the romantic?) Cute post!

    • I’ve conceded that roses are a special case. I’m not familiar enough with Camelias to have an opinion, but I’ll take your word for it.

  17. I almost always go for a single bloom but have fallen for doubles several times. However, the double echinaceas are hideous. They look like show poodles. ‘Pink Poodle’ is a silly name for a silly plant. Great post!

    • I’ll admit there are exceptions to the rule – but what the breeders do to Echinaceas ought to be illegal. In fact, I have proposed the creation of an Echinacea Cultivar Control Board (ECCB) to put a stop to such abuses.

  18. Coming in late here, to weigh in on the simple side. There is really no debate, Harvard study or no Harvard study. The pollinators know for sure.

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