‘Profusion Cherry’ Zinnia
THE SOUTHERN GARDENER

PINKALICIOUS: From blush to bashful, there’s a pink for every garden

February, the month of valentines, chocolate hearts and flowers, is here. The traditional colors of pink and red for this Hallmark moment appear in stores like magic once the Christmas trees disappear.

Cards in pink envelopes bring back memories of the elementary school ritual of swapping valentines.

Our lives are surrounded by pink. If you’re healthy, you’re “in the pink.” If you’re happy, you’re “tickled pink.” We have luscious pink strawberry ice cream, pink slips, pink ribbons (the symbol of breast cancer awareness), pink hair bows and baby pink dresses, cotton candy, Bazooka bubble gum, pink flamingos and a special song sung by Marty Robbins, “A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation.”

Both of the traditional valentine colors — red and pink — represent love. Red is associated with heat and passion, while pink is associated with romance and charm. What a combination the two make!

Most adults do not pick pink as their favorite color. For little girls, however, pink is still the color of choice. My daughter’s bedroom remained pink until she went to college. We laughingly referred to it as the “pink room” for years after her graduation.

On the color wheel (the nifty tool that helps gardeners and artists combine colors in a pleasing way), pink is not a primary or secondary color. Pink is actually a tint, a color mixed with white. In this case, white is mixed with red to create pink.

We can choose from the softest baby pink, shocking pink, orchid pink, hot pink, Pepto-Bismol pink, coral pink, salmon pink, fuchsia and a dark pink with all sorts of tints in between. One for every soul and mood!

Pink was named after the flower with the same name, pinks. The flower, an old-fashioned carnation, comes in a beautiful shade of pastel pink. The petals look as if they were cut with pinking shears, a type of scissors.

There is no better way to appreciate the beauty of the color pink than to admire it in the garden. It is a neutral that combines well with other colors, from yellow to purple to blue. Pink, however, works on its own.

Some pinks are in the pastel family and inspire calmness in the garden. Many of the paler pinks are reminiscent of the flowers from old-fashioned cottage gardens. Pastel pinks are at their best when we get up close to admire them. The harsh noon sun can wash out the quieter pinks. Many of the lighter-colored pink flowers, for example — light pink impatiens and begonias — show up best with some shade.

Then there are the vibrant dark pink flowers, or the “brights.” The sun does not affect the color on the deeper pinks. They do stand out from a distance.

Pink highlights can also streak foliage (just like hair). The variegated leaves of ‘Butterfly’, a Japanese maple, are trimmed in pink during the early spring. ‘Hollywood Lights’, a unique tea olive, sports new foliage in a warm shade of pink, turning to green as the leaves mature.

A monochromatic garden in variations of the color pink would be yummy and so soothing! The flowers’ foliage provides additional interest and texture in a monochromatic garden.

Fill your gardens with this delightful color. Before much time passes, you will fall head-over-heels in love with pink.

Sherry Blanton, “The Southern Gardener,” writes about gardening for The Anniston Star. Contact her at sblanton@annistonstar.com. Follow her on Facebook at Southern Gardener-Anniston Star.

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