Presentable in Pink

Judy and I are generally not fond of pink flowers, and we don’t have many in the garden. Not sure why. Generally we like really strong colors – but then we both are partial to blue, which is a softer color like pink. Also, there are a few pink flowers that we like, and at least one that we love. I never claimed to be consistent.

Peony 'Abalone Pearl'
Peony ‘Abalone Pearl’

For starters, there is one pink Peony in the garden, ‘Abalone Pearl’. It’s nice, though I like the red and white Peonies better.

Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart
Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart.

OK, this is my favorite pink flower, by a mile. Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis). I love the dangling heart-shaped flowers and the rich green foliage.

4a Bleeding Hearts and Ferns
Bleeding hearts and ostrich ferns.

In the right location, Bleeding Heart grows vigorously. It throws its arching, flowering stems about in a way that is unapologetically flashy. Still, it is an ephemeral, and will go dormant during hot, dry weather.

Bleeding Heart with False Forget-Me-Not
Bleeding Heart with False Forget-Me-Not

Such a perfect plant for moist shade, especially if it is mixed with False Forget-Me-Not (Brunnera macrophylla).

Geranium Biokovo
Geranium ‘Biokovo’.

While Bleeding Heart flowers are a deep pink, in general I find soft, pale pinks the most appealing. Geranium cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’ is a good example. It’s the only pink Geranium that I like.

DSC_0615 Prairie Rose
Prairie Rose

Another pink flower in our garden is the wild Prairie Rose (Rosa setigera).

DSC_0850 prairie rose

Here’s a wider shot of the plant.


A pink flower we used to grow is Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). I had to pull it out of the garden because it kept getting infected with aster yellows. This picture is from 2012, I think. Why do the call it Purple Coneflower, though? Doesn’t it look much more pink than purple?

2012-09-17 NE aster pink
New England Aster with Pink Flowers

We have the wild New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae), which is sometimes pink, sometimes blue, usually purple. Lots of genetic variation from which to draw all those named cultivars.

Do you have a favorite pink flower in your garden?




56 Comments on “Presentable in Pink

  1. You have quite a collection of pink for someone who claims not to like it! Your light is probably quite strong and stronger colours tend to work better. I had more pink flowers in my English garden here is just looks bleached out and grey.

  2. You have a lovely patch of Bleeding Hearts. One of my favourites would be the pink asters too. But I also have a few spring flowers that are pink such as Aquilegias and Epimedium, and a lovely Geranium macrorrhizum. Then the rockery is covered in summer with the pinky red Centranthus ruber that I wouldn’t be without!

  3. I love the bleeding hearts too. I planted several more last year but they can be short lived in our hot and dry summers, so fingers crossed they return this spring. I’m enjoying your color series.

  4. Your bleeding hearts are overly. I’ve not always had luck with them. Geranium “Biokova” is such a useful edging plant. I have a David Austen rose “Belle Story” and the good old reliable Queen Elizabeth rose.
    Would you call monarda “raspberry wine” pink? Although you had it in the reds recently.

  5. I have a Monarda that was given to me years ago. It is a bubble gum pink. Think Bazooka. My other pink that I like is the geranium Biokovo. It looks so delicate yet is so very tough.

  6. Pink roses and peonies in particular come to mind as plants I’d miss. I like to see pink delphiniums too. I find it a very forgiving colour for photography – especially a pure, soft pink.

  7. I have some pink astilbes that I wouldn’t do without. So bright yet ethereal in the shade.

  8. I am not fond of the color pink except in flowers! I love your collection. My favorite pink flower in my garden are the Indigofera kirilowii, with its pale pink wisteria style flowers. It has a long bloom time and is happy in light shade. Only gets about 2 feet tall so is great for layering.

  9. I’m a big fan of bleeding heart. My other favourite is an astilbe, Veronica Klose, that is a sharp pink. In the shade, the blooms really pop out.

  10. Ha ha I am the same about red flowers – not overly fond in general, but there are a few I love.

    I have too many pink favorites to count. Have you given the prairie rose a lot of room to grow? Perhaps it grows more in warm climates but I have 2 I grew from seed that extend about 50′ along my driveway now!

    • I have to say my Prairie Rose is not thriving. It has not used up all the room it has available. Not sure why – maybe not enough sun?

  11. I’d like to be the type of person who doesn’t like Pink, but in reality I love it, especially roses, its an easy colour to combine with others with ranges on the blue and red spectrum. Your Prairie Rose is absolutely beautiful, I’d give that a home any day.

      • Yes. I must have been typing one thing and thinking of another.
        I like using fern leaf bleeding heart as an under planting around shrubs and along the shady side of buildings. The foliage is nice even when it isn’t blooming.

  12. Consistency is highly overrated, don’t you think? About the time I declare something out of bounds (a color, a genus) I embarrass myself by falling for something of that ilk. I avoid pink as a general rule, except where it is unexpected, as in foliage or bark. Lately I have been seeing hot pink mixed with orange and purple: that I more than like.

    • Frequently, though not always, I find that time changes dislike to fondness when it comes to a genus of plants. Colors are more complicated, though.

  13. I think pink looks better in climates like that of the North West or Britain where light is often more diffuse. Where light is very bright, pink tends to be washed out, but under an overcast sky it can look quite good.

  14. Love your bleeding heart and your peony, delightful. I tend to steer clear of pink these days, simply because I have so much of it in the garden here!

  15. I like your wild Prairie Rose, especially with the sun shining on it. I do like brightly coloured flowers, but I think pink flowers are cooling in summer….

  16. Bleeding Heart is my favorite, too. I have a weakness for old-fashioned flowers and, when we lived in Alaska, my Bleeding Heart was the only perennial that the moose didn’t eat!

    • Well, then it should be the star of the moose-proof garden. How long did you live in Alaska? I’ve never been, but Judy has taken business trips to Anchorage in February.

  17. Your pinks are, dare i say it, pretty. Like you, bleeding hearts are my favorite pink flowers. I like screaming strong pinks better than the pastel pink as they work better with red, orange, and other strong colors in my garden.

  18. Your Bleeding hearts and ostrich ferns look great together. I profess not to like pink, but have ended up with a lot of pink flowers anyway, some pass-alongs and some things I purchased. Cleome, cosmos are two I really like.

  19. I have a large proportion of pinks and purples in the garden, the one think I do like is that many of them display a certain amount of luminescence at dusk.

  20. I agree with some of the folks who say they aren’t crazy about pink except in flowers. I have quite a few pink flowers, and I enjoy them immensely. Many of your favorites are mine, as well. Beautiful photos, as always.

  21. I love many pinks, especially the clear baby pinks, but not all — especially if they pink has noticeable yellow in it. One golden-pink peony that I do like is ‘Pink Hawaiian Coral’. And a very pretty pink iris is the intermediate-bearded ‘Pink Kitten’ – and how can you not love a name like that? 🙂

  22. Pink is not my favorite flower color, but I definitely have many pinks in my garden, including most of the pink plants you are growing. I also have Geranium x oxonianum, which is a lovely clear pink, several varieties of pink astilbe, pink daylilies, pink Siberian irises, and pink phlox, also a pink Clematis “Comtesse de Bouchaud.”

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