In the last few weeks I've had two separate sets of house guests (from Southern and Northern California respectively), both [incidentally] renowned and eminent gardeners who let me know in no uncertain terms that pink is out. Southern California Cathy is partial to yellow and northern California Robin is understandably fond of blue: I confess that yellow and blue are dear to me (I recall when Herb Schaal, a principal of EDAW which is now something else gently reprimanded me for having a bit too much yellow in the Rock Alpine Garden some fifteen or twenty years ago: I was a man ahead of my time, obviously)...but I confess, I am a chromophiliac, a lover of all things hued and tinted. I could no more eschew fuchsia than apotheose apricot. I admire all colors, including the rheumy green (although I can't bring myself to quote directly) of Dublin alluded to repeatedly in Ulysses. Our sere steppe landscape is the very embodiment of neutral colors: yes, that rheumy green, ash, tan, auburn, teal, ginger, charcoal, lavender, mahogany, brown, gray, grey, brunette, golden, silver, sandy, blonde, bronze, brass...and did I mention brown and gray? It is an acquired taste...especially tonight as the ax falls and my autumn sages shown above and below will likely be crisped.
So in the face of a landscape so feathered and smoothed by neutral tints, the flash of magenta or the scream of scarlet (either in neutral light, when they positively glow...but more especially in the omnipresent glare of our year around sun) is a thrilling and welcome thing.
So I delight when Salvia greggii 'Wild Thing' (the one above in the picture below) produces an even more splendid hybrid with nearby Salvia 'Raspberry Delight' (the hybrid is the plant pictured at the start of this blog, and in the lower part of the picture below). I am quite sure that both Robin and Cathy will shudder when I say that I have come to love magenta and scarlet (those strumpets of Victorian taste) dearly.
I am saddened that they will be silenced for many months (seven at least, although one year we had Salvia greggii 'Furman's Red' open its first flower the last day of April!)...Seven months of red fury is enough I suppose.
Colorado means red in Spanish, you know. You can hardly expect us to follow California in this one instance...