Tomorrow most everyone will be sporting green in recognition of the Emerald Isle and its special holiday. I want to celebrate the occasion with green flowers. We generally think of green being for leaves, but green flowers are in this year!
The big flower in the world of annuals is the Queen Lime series of zinnias. This cultivar has very double lime green flowers with contrasting centers and “blushes” on the petals. The most popular members of the series appear to be Queen Red Lime and Queen Orange Lime (right).
The John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds catalog carries the entire series. You can buy each color separately or a mix of all four variations. I am very tempted to plant the mix in the cutting garden and Queen Lime in a front bed. The three-inch flowers are borne on plants two and a half to three feet in height, making for a very user-friendly-sized zinnia.
Green has also hit the perennial garden with two echinacea cultivars and one rudbeckia.
Green Wizard, the rudbeckia, is quite novel with a black center and intensely green petals. Green Twister (left) is a mutant of of the coneflower Magnus. It has pink and green petals that vary from flower to flower. This one would look great whether used as an accent plant or as a cut flower. Green Jewel has a dark green cone and bright green petals. Only 24 inches tall, this echinacea will be easy to use with bedding plants.
In the “tender perennial” space, we find a novelty Sweet William, Green Ball. The flowers are bright green fuzz balls on plants about a foot tall and wide. This one is only cold hardy in zones 8-10, so it would have to be used as an annual here.
There have always been green flowering tobacco, a few green zinnias and gladioli along with the Bells of Ireland in the green flower realm. Now there is a green plumbed celosia, Sylphid, which has come to us from Japan, bringing a cooling contrast to hot pink and orange we generally associate with celosia.
Believe it or not, there is an antique China rose which has green flowers. Few would find it a favorite rose, but it is very unique. There is also a miniature rose, Green Ice (right), which has attractive little green flowers. It is a carefree, prolific bloomer.
There are many shades of green to be found among flowers this year. Besides the Queen Lime zinnias, I am trying to fit in some of these other novel selections.
Master gardener Ann Bartlett spends most spring days, including St. Patrick's, in her garden, engaged in the tendin' o' the green.