Thursday, August 29, 2002
Steamboat Springs The colors pink and purple are not only for little girls' ribbons and dresses. They also illuminate gardens throughout the summer.
There are many spring flowering plants of the pink and purple hues that do well in Routt County. Pink and purple bulbs that need to be planted in the fall for spring flowering include purple crocus, one of the first flowers to appear after the snow melt, and tulips such as Barcelona Tulip, a 22-inch-tall bright pink tulip, and Attila Triumph Tulip, a 20-inch-tall bold royal purple tulip.
Grape hyacinths (Muscari) planted in large groups offer striking blue to purple shades, as do the globe-shaped Alliums.
Pink and purple spring flowering perennials include Creeping Phlox (Phlox Subulata), which forms a dense mat, and Bleeding Heart (Dicentra Spectabilis), a mainstay in the spring shade garden in Steamboat. Different shades of blue, pink or purple can also be found on Columbine (Aquilegia).
In later spring, peonies offer large pink flowers. In the rock garden, Creeping Thyme (Thymus Serpyllum) displays small purple flowers that attract colorful butterflies. Mountain Bluet (Centaurea Montana) grows to 2 feet tall with purple flowers 3 inches across that will seed themselves in the garden. Lungwort (Pulmonaria) offers varieties that have blue or pink flowers in the spring.
Annuals that offer pink or purple flowers all summer long and into fall include Dianthus, Petunias, Geraniums, Portulaca, Cosmos, Bachelor Buttons, Ageratum, Alyssum and the ever-brilliant Lobelia. Remember to deadhead annuals to encourage new blooms.
For early to late summer blooms, the delicate blue spikes of Delphiniums are a must. Herbs such as Chives, Catnip or Lavender deliver flowers of the blue to purple hues as well as offer delightful aroma to your garden. Iris can be found with varieties of pinks, blues and purples.
Another tall plant that blooms pink or purple is Bee Balm (Monarda). Showy Primrose Oenothera Speciosa) is a fast-spreading plant with pink flowers. The Sanguineum and Johnson's Blue Cranesbill Geraniums are low-growing perennials with pink to purple flowers. Self Heal (Prunella) is similar to a groundcover that has showy pink blooms in summer
As summer advances, pink can be found in the garden with Purple Coneflower (Echinacea Purpurea) on a plant that is 2 to 4 feet tall. Two bulbs that are great performers in late summer in Routt County are Liatris Spicata, with purple flower spikes, and Dahlias, which come in many shades of pink or purple. Dahlias must be dug up and stored inside for the winter. Garden Phlox grows to 3 feet tall and offers pink or purple flowers. Hollyhocks (Althaea) grow up to 6 feet tall and have large flowers that are pink and purple treats as biennials. Asters offer purple flowers in late summer.
These delightful flowers can be enjoyed from June through mid-September. Plan a pink and purple flower garden for next year.
Camille C. Fisher is a Master Gardener through the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension office in Routt County. Questions? Call the CSU Cooperative Extension office at 879-0825 or email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.