Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sucker for Stripes

At any given garden store, there are two plant characteristics that will nearly always guarantee a sale to me.  The first is any flower that approaches the sky blue pigment characteristic of the Blue Himalayan Poppy (Meconopsis betonicifolia).  The second is nearly any red and white striped flower.  I'm a complete sucker for all of them, particularly roses, whether it's 'Fourth of July', 'Rosa Mundi', 'Scentimental', or one of a hundred others.  Modern breeders have caught on and increased the numbers of these beauties recently so other gardeners must be bitten by the bug as well.

One of my favorite roses has long been the well-known Bourbon 'Variegata di Bologna'.  A consistent performer here in my Zone 5B garden, 'Variegata di Bologna' often reblooms in the Fall, but I really don't care because the Spring bloom alone is enough to carry me through a year.  Probably the most scented rose in my garden, this beauty has a nice consistent vase-like shape. It grows to about 6 feet during a season and has a little winter tip-kill back to about 4 feet, but it doesn't need special winter protection here in Kansas.

Last year I added a particularly beautiful striped herbaceous peony, 'Pink Spritzer' to my garden. I saw the famous Roy Klehm give a lecture at the National Arboretum during a trip to Washington D.C. two years ago and I had picked out 'Pink Spritzer' as one of the "must-have" additions during the lecture.  Subsequently, I ordered it straight from Klehm's own nursery, Song Sparrow Farm (, and planted it during the Fall as suggested.  This year, it gave me the first blooms, an unusual and beautiful single peony of red and white and a little green that makes a splash in the front of my peony bed.  Song Sparrow Farm doesn't offer it online right now, so if you can find one and plant it, guard it carefully.  Gardeners are gentle folk but they aren't above the sin of envy and a little pilferage in the pursuit of beauty.


  1. Hello! That rose is gorgeous, isn't it? Thanks so much for visiting my blog and commenting. I appreciate it. I need to get over here more - you've done a beautiful job with this. Lots of great info beautifully written.



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