Color explosion is waiting to happen
Posted: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 8:01 pm
By: By Jimmy Williams
Who among us is ever satisfied for more than a minute?
Back in March we were pining for green. The world around us was brown and gray day after day. The sky, on some of those days, was gray as well. It had been a long, cold winter.
Two months later, give or take, the world is green, virtually all over, in its temperate zones of the northern hemisphere. That’s here. But are we happy, satisfied? Nooooooo, we demand “color,” as if green isn’t a color.
Past the plethora of April “color,” with its azaleas, dogwoods (which are white, the absence of color), viburnums, beautybushes, rhododendrons, magnolias, sweet william, bluebells, daffodills, tulips and on ad infinitum, here we sit all broken hearted, distraught that green is about all we see. Momentarily, at least.
Just a short drive into the countryside will prove the point. Just try to find anything other than green. The sky doesn’t count.
Well there is the occasional haymow, with bales or rolls awaiting the gatherer. These are a fine ecru, but that’s not enough.
A speck of brilliant orange reveals a clump of butterfly weed. A brighter color could hardly be imagined, particularly when paired with surrounding green, its opposite on the color wheel. Still not enough.
Some of the early biennial types of wild brown-eyed susans are aglow with yellow amongst the tawny seedheads of field fescue. Not enough.
The last of the ox-eye daisies occupies some of the same acreage and combines well with the same fescue grass. White again, still not enough.
Billows of white (the non-color again) flowers of catalpa trees mimic the cumulus clouds overhead, and emit a most enticing aroma, which, unless there’s a right smart wind, carries for quite a distance. Not enough.
Orange again, in that fence row, as trumpet vine inveigles itself through, around and over anything in its path. The flowers are a pleasant, not harsh, orange. Not enough.
Southern magnolia. The huge chalices of white (non color) flowers are framed with the glossy deep green (just green) leaves. Like the catalpa, the aroma might be noticed before any visual indication. But ... not enough.
Red is rare these days, with most of it to come later with daylilies and annuals. But the little Indian pink, Spigelia marylandica, has two-inch-long funnels of deep scarlet lined with chartreuse. A very valuable perennial indeed, for sun or shade, and just about the first true red perennial flower of the year.
Well, well. Still not enough?
Get in, sit down, shut up and hang on. Put on your seat belt and crash helmet. The color explosion is at hand.
Editor’s note: Jimmy Williams is production superintendent at The Paris Post-Intelligencer, where he also writes this column.
Published in The Messenger 6.15.10
Jimmy Williams, The Garden Path