Flowers for a gloomy time of year

23 February 2013

The weather has gone cold again (well, by our standards – the commenter in North Toronto would probably say it was mild at 2 degrees centigrade!) and there is no sunshine forecast for the next week, so I’m going to give you some bright and cheerful flower pictures to make up for it – enjoy!

Scabious 'Fama Blue'

Scabious ‘Fama Blue’

Scabious flowers come in several sizes and colours – I’ll do a blog on them some time, but this perennial is one of the most impressive, and quite easily grown from seed.  The plants are not very bushy, so I’m trying them grown quite close together. Good for butterflies and othe insects.
Escholtzia 'Cameo Dream'

Escholtzia ‘Cameo Dream’


The eschscholzia or Californian Poppy is an annual which will sometimes self seed. I grew these in containers, and they were gorgeous; the seedlings didn’t come true, reverting mainly to a single variety, but that was very pretty, too. From memory, I think it was small bees and hoverfies that used them.


Apple Blossom

Apple Blossom

It’s easy to overlook tree blossom, but apples, pears etc all have flowers which are glorious in their purity, and they may be scented – they are not out for long, so they have to work hard to attract those pollinating insects.


Centre of poppy flower

Centre of poppy flower

I think this is papaver orientale ‘Princess Victoria Louise’. It’s certainly wonderfully voluptuous, and bees love crawling around it’s centre, getting covered in pollen.


Lobelia 'Blue Sapphire'

Lobelia ‘Blue Sapphire’

Another close -up – of a flower which is familiar to most of us from countless gardens and hanging baskets – the annual lobelia. This is quite often recorded as attracting butterflies, which it does, but the frequency of the sighting is probably more to do with the amount of lobelia grown than it being hugely popular, but don’t scorn it for that: it is one of the real “do-ers” in the garden flowering for weeks on end.

Do let me know what your real “wow” flowers are.


5 Comments to “Flowers for a gloomy time of year”

  1. My vote is with lobelia – I bought some cheap “plug” plants from a garden centre last year (perhaps May time) and put them in my three hanging baskets – had lots left over so planted those in a huge planter – they all did very well, provided lots of colour and I had plenty of insect action on them especially hoverflies and bees, but also lots of plume moths, which I think were taking shelter within the stems – I’d get lots flying out when I started watering each evening! The plants in the big planter, having so much more soil and better moisture, went mad – I had no idea lobelia could grow so big, it was stunning display and continued flowering right through the winter until the cold snap in January when it finally decided enough was enough. As it has died back now – I trimmed it last weekend, to find a smaller planter which had become lost under the lobelia (how careless) with a scabious plant in it – it’s looking really healthy, green and leafy, so I’m hoping for a good display from that this year….though I think I’ll move it further away from the lobelia, so it doesn’t get lost again!

    • I’m glad the scabious was OK – it goes to show that it is good to leave top growth on plants to protect young shoots, even if they are the shoots of other plants. The plume moths, assuming they are the White Plume Moth, use bindweed as a caterpillar food plant, so that’s another reason not to do away obsessively with all weeds: though even I would have to admit that bindweed isn’t very desirable in garden terms!

      • Yes, you’re right, Lyn, I’d not thought about how protective that layer of lobelia had been to the scabious – perhaps I’ll hide it under a lobelia blanket on purpose next winter!
        I’ve not seen a White Plume Moth yet, unfortunately, as they are stunning (but I will leave some bindweed and hope that helps attract them). I have many of the much more subtle-coloured Common Plume Moths and also a few Beautiful Plume Moths. A plant looking rather like hedge woundwort self-seeded itself in my border and that seemed popular with these little moths too. I’m quite a fan of these plants that grow themselves, especially when the wildlife seems to approve!

  2. I’m no Carol Klein, someone whom I feel is a true garden poet, but just the sight of the poppy flower is enough to awaken the tiny little poet inside me and liken the colours to a burst of vitality, an awakening and a seductive ‘come and get me’.

    • Thanks, Monique. It’s great to get the perspective of a writer – I hadn’t really thought of it like that. I do enjoy the sight, smell and feel of flowers, but there’s always the gardener in the background, thinking I could have grown them differently, better, or somewhere else!

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