When we moved into our current house, we realized pretty quickly that the previous owners had especially liked pink and purple. And what's not to like? It's a bright, cheerful color, and it's easy to find pink plant. The only problem: For the color snob, pink goes with pink and purple (and white) but does not look so great with orange, yellow, and blue. I therefore decided to have a pink area in the garden where all the pink plants would harmonize happily and cheerfully (and not create havoc with the blue & yellow color scheme in other areas of the garden).
It all started with Mr. Previous Owner's Leptospermum (tea tree) an Australian native that is drought tolerant, blooms profusely for a long time, and is popular with insects and birds. My tea tree is easily 8 feet by 6 feet, and I have to prune it at least once a year. But it's all worth it for the beautiful blossoms.
A Lorapetalum, from China and a little greedier for water, also blooms pink in February/March.
As a complement, I planted two Sidlacea malviflora (checkerbloom), a California native perennial that bloomed from October through April, and looked good with the tea tree close by.
But I knew I'd really be in the pink in May, when the Clarkia unguiculata (Elegant clarkia) would start blooming. And it's been a feast for the eyes and well worth the trouble with the seedlings.
I can hardly believe my luck. I started with a packet of seeds, and now I have beautiful flowers in different shades of pink, purple, and salmon.
They are 3-4 feet tall and bloom for at least six weeks. I hope they'll reseed, but will collect some seeds just in case (many plants have trouble coming through the mulch).
A little later, Clarkia amoena (farewell to spring) started to bloom. It bought the seeds from a regular vendor (not a native plant vendor), and they are of a vigorous hybrid that reseeds readily. Fortunately, I don't live near wildlands like Country Mouse, so it's not a big problem that I don't have the locally native variety.
The flowers are easily 2 inches across, and I enjoy the show from late May into July.
For July and August, I'm counting on Eriogonum grande rubescens to keep me in the pink. Here's a photo from last year.
I also planted a Cercis occidentalis (California redbud), which I'll try to keep as a smallish bush, and added some Yarrow 'Paprika,' not quite a native, but a close relative and a big attraction with the bee and butterfly crowd. And I just started to see the first blossoms of Erigeron glaucus (seaside daisy).
Are you impressed now, dear reader? Well, don't be too impressed. I also added Delphinium cardinale (scarlet larkspur), a southern California native that had, as yet, never bloomed in my garden, to the pink corner. I was thinking of the purple Catholic cardinals wear and thought it would all work out.
Mmm. It ended up being precisely the color combination I had tried to avoid.
But then again, isn't that Delphinium one amazing plant? Easily five feet tall, with big green blossoms. -- Can't argue with a plant like that.