Monday, August 12, 2013

Pretty In Pink--Lavender, That Is!

"I believe in pink. I believe in miracles.  I believe in pink." So says Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in the classic 1960's film, Breakfast at Tiffany's.  Pink--The color of a late summer sunset, bunny rabbits' noses, fairy roses, satin ballet shoes and, pink is the color of lavender, too--at least a dozen different varieties, that I know of (probably more) and, all members of the Lavandula angustifolia family.

The many shades of lavender plant flowers range from whites to dark purples and, in between, shades of creamy, luscious pinks abound among the blues and the grays and they are growing in popularity.  The pink varieties of lavenders I grow here at Blooming Hill are 'Melissa', 'Miss Katherine,' 'Chelsea Pink,' 'Coconut Ice,' 'Jean Davis' and 'Hidcote Pink.'  Last month, I came across one very small, recent cutting of 'Elegance Pink' hidden away in a nursery greenhouse as I was browsing and the owner of the place gifted me one to add to my pink mix so, we will see what that looks like next year.

Sadly, there is a bit of bad news when it comes to pink lavender in that once dried the soft blush of pink they started out with, fades to a nondescript grayish tone.  However there is always a silver lining in that pink lavender bundles perk up with a pink aura immediately when tied with a pink ribbon.  And, there is even better news as all of these "pretty in pinks" possess a fragrance that is sweet and mellow with citrusy top notes, making them very nice culinary varieties, for those who like to cook with lavender. This year, I am separating out pink angustifolia's from the purples and have prepared jars of "Just Pink Lavender" to sell for culinary use.  We harvested about 3 pounds of pink lavender blossoms and, although it doesn't sound like much, believe me, it is quite a bit.

New varieties of lavenders are discovered or developed rather commonly nowadays and pink lavenders are no exception to this rule.  However, who could blame lavender for taking on its very close cousin, pink, with its innocent beauty?  One of my very favorite of pink lavenders is an American cultivar called 'Melissa' (L. angustifolia.)  An early bloomer in my garden, Melissa is a profusion of creamy pink flowers on top of short stems, at her peak bloom time and, to me, the freshly cut bundles could easily be used as bridal bouquets, needing no other flowers or foliage added for adornment.  'Hidcote Pink' is quite similar to 'Melissa' but not quite as prolific.

Another favorite pink lavender is 'Miss Katherine'. Even though she is a fairly new introduction to Blooming Hill (only a couple of years), she is a lovely lady who will never wear out her welcome.  'Miss is Katherine' is a bit more sophisticated looking than other pink lavenders, in my garden, as her stems are longer, and her deeper, mauve-pink color stands out quite vividly against the purples that surround her.  'Miss Katherine' is a long bloomer and her color and fragrance make her a winner among lavenders.

While light pink flowers can convey delicacy, they also exude confidence.
Then, there is 'Chelsea Pink and 'Jean Davis,' also known as 'Rosea,' both beautiful and dainty plants. 'Chelsea Pink' has light pale pink flowers while 'Jean Davis,' an older variety, flounces nice, true-pink flowers, here at Blooming Hill. Both plants have short to medium length stems and are lovely accents that have taken up residence in the cut-flower beds.  Even though they may be smallish plants, not growing more than 18 inches total in height, they are certainly not shy and flaunt their "princess-like pinkness" while peeking through the cosmos, zinnias and geraniums.

Finally, slow grower 'Coconut Ice,' a cultivar introduced to the lavender world from New Zeland back in the late 1990's has been in my garden for seven years now. It came with all sorts of promises of pink and prettiness, which I might add took four years to bloom, here at Blooming Hill and is one of the smallest lavenders that I grow.

'Coconut Ice' sports creamy white and pink blossoms, here in my gardens, and it does not produce a lot of flowers.  Oh---and did I mention that these persnickety girls took four years to bloom while most lavenders will at least bloom very happily in their second year, if not the first year, depending on when you planted them in the growing season?  Yes.  I know I mentioned it already, but I'm still not over that and these darn plants have been part of the lavender beds here for going on 7 years--I know.  I said that, too. Go figure! While it was worth the wait to see 'Coconut Ice' bloom, she seems to be a very sparse plant.

Nothing but pure, pink lavender buds, strained and ready to go.
Did you know that giving pink flowers to someone conveys thoughts of purity, innocence and sweetness?  When you see these pink lavenders in bloom you would be totally convinced and taken in by their wily, feminine ways.  If you have lavender in your garden, make sure you add a pink one to your collection and enjoy all of the perks that come with "pretty in pink!"

1 comment:

  1. Cyndie, how do I go about getting some of your culinary lavender?