The delight of the out-of-the-blue, sudden blossoming of one of my cacti a few weeks ago – for the first time in seven years! – carried with it another surprise… The flowers were green! How cool! Their obvious oddball appeal made me wish I had more green blossoms in my garden throughout the year. But green flowers are not all that common, so I decided to investigate my options for increasing their supply. I guess it’s all about where you draw the line – what exactly constitutes a flower? If I include the grasses – and I honestly can’t think of a reason why I shouldn’t – the range increases dramatically and beautifully. And, what about seed heads? Although they technically are past their flowering stage, I’m going to maintain that they are still valid contenders. As long as I don’t cease to be homo sapiens for every new wrinkle and gray hair gained, I’m going to offer the seed heads the senior status they have no doubt earned. That said, in the name of fairness, I will also allow some young wipper-snapper buds to be part of this post. See, now there is already a lot more to choose from! But first, the few things that grow in my garden:
The graceful wisps of Mexican feather grass. Mind you, this photo is from earlier this summer- with the rains we’ve had recently, it has been beaten into submission.
Northern Sea Oats is lovely and still going strong – thank you so much for this, Ricki! 🙂
Other green lovelies to be found in my garden are:
Hydrangeas, which after abandoning their earlier summer color slip into a more comfortable green shade.
In my humble opinion, the Allium seed heads are way cooler even than many flowers. Definitely a worthy contender!
The sweet little flowers of Alchemilla alpina – easy to miss, but part of the most endearing groundcover ever.
The Kniphofia brought back from the trip to WeHoP is green initially, before it fades to white.
I think those would look nice with ‘Percy’s Pride’ – the stately, and much larger, green variety I just received from my garden writer friend Ricki at last weekend’s plant swap. Thank you, Ricki! Looking forward to seeing this one in action!
Rudbeckia ‘Green Wizard’ earn definite points for uniqueness.
… and the new leaves unfurling on a Wheel Tree – Trochodendron aralioides, the contrasting color of which makes it look kind of like a flower. But don’t be fooled…
… those are only leaves. Here are the flowers. Actually, I lie – this tree is no longer to be found in my garden. Due to lack of space, it fell victim to an edit. I gave it to a neighbor. I have reason to believe it is much happier now, than in my cramped quarters.
In spring the snowdrops -Galanthus nivalis – appear, with their green markings on the trumpet. I do have some, but this photo is from Wikipedia.
Spring also brings me Viridiflora tulips…
…and Clematis ‘Early Sensation’ – an evergreen clematis with interesting, evergreen foliage and the loveliest little greenish white flowers.
The ‘Early Sensation’s seed heads aren’t bad either!
The yellowish green flowers of Euphorbia wulfenii are always so stunning when they show up in early summer.
I have no idea what this is, but I found it in a friend’s flower pot. Anyone out there know? They are really small and weed-like, but awfully cool up close.
This summer’s funnest grocery store surprise – Dianthus ‘Green Trick’ still makes me smile. And even after all these rains, it still looks fab! Fingers crossed that it survives the winter, because I really, really like it.
Speaking of grocery stores – their cut flower departments are where I see most of the green flowers I come across. Some have such exuberant coloring, that I can’t help but suspect occasional foul play. Are they dyed? Or, are they really that vibrant in color?
When I wonder if they are dyed, I’m thinking mainly of these mum-like things – they are so bright!
Here is a larger version.
I liked these tiny aster-like blossoms with their bright green centers.
Here only the outsides of the petals are green.
Here are some awesome spider-mums. You can also see a hint of the greenish buds of lilies in the background, as well as a white and green version of something that looks like an Anthurium.
Bells of Ireland, or Moluccella laevis can add green spires to any bouquet.
This one made me giggle. It is obvious I’m apparently not the only one taking liberties by adding seed heads to broaden my selection – here are the decorative arches of spent Crocosmias available for purchase! Wish I’d thought of it first…
They also had a fabulous grass that I’d never seen before –
Panicum elegans ‘Frosted Explosion’. Marvelous texture!
Green roses are not something you usually see. The Baby’s breath, I realized also has green eyes, but – I know – now I’m definitely pushing it! Anyway, check out the selection of green roses from Fifty Flowers . How come we never see these in gardens? Makes me wonder if they really grow like that, or if they are developed in a lab somewhere…
This time of year, there are ornamental cabbages for sale just about everywhere. Personally, I love them. At Garden Fever – one of my favorite little nurseries – they had several growing out of one pot on tall stalks. They looked like huge green roses.
To wrap up the grocery store section of this post, here is the very sculptural flower of a NOID potted plant. Wonderful contrast to those colorful leaves!
As it turns out, a little research showed that there are quite a few garden favorites out there that have their very own green cousins. Many of the images below came out of Anna Pavord’s book ‘Bulbs’ which is a fabulous book with beautiful photos, accompanied by great storytelling. I love how she weaves historical developments and adventures into her plant descriptions. Let it be said right here, that I highly recommend this book to anyone smitten by the magic of bulbs. If you aren’t already taken by the stunning beings that sprout from such humble beginnings, you most likely will be after reading this excellent book.
Research also showed that I severely underestimated the number of flowers I would eventually cram into this post. Even without the liberties taken in regards to seed heads and buds, there are an awful lot. I had no idea I would find so many! Thanks to all from whom I borrowed images – I tried to give credit wherever possible. Which one is your favorite? Which ones should be included, but were missed? Which ones grow in your garden?
A green rhododendron! How about that – who would have thunk? R. Lutescens. Photo courtesy of botanicalgarden.ubc.ca.
Paeonia misake, found among the treasures of the Monrovia website.
Another fabulous Monrovia selection – Stachyurus ‘Sparkler’. What an amazing plant!
Gladiolus ‘Green Star’, courtesy of Eden Brothers.
There are at least two green daylilies. ‘Green Dragon’ is one of them. Photo from allthingsplants.com
Hemerocallis ‘Green Flutter’ is another. Photo from minisites.contentthatworks.com
Per Ricki’s suggestion in the comments, I’m adding the sweet little bells of Nicotiana langsdorffii. I wonder if they are as fragrant as the other Nicotianas? Photo courtesy of http://www.cruydhoeck.nl
Lilium nepalense is a rather odd looking lily with its greenish tips and dark center. From ‘Bulbs’.
A NOID dogwood – most definitely green! (And out of focus.)
Cute little Allium ‘Ivory Queen’ have a green streak. And the courderoy stripy leaves are charming! Photo courtesy of pepinieres_huchet.
Allium sphaerocephalon – like green spheres half-dipped in burgundy paint. Beautiful image from Anna Pavord’s ‘Bulbs’.
Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon looks an awful lot like the garlic spears I make tasty tortillas with in the spring – so wonky! Also from Anna Pavord.
Allium vineale ‘Hair’ is a perfect Muppet plant for a garden. It reminds me of Animal – the drummer – craz-z-z-y! Also from Anna Pavord’s book.
Arisaema concinnum – one of several sporting green as the dominant color. Anna Pavord again. I’m telling you – this book is worth getting for its photos alone!
Bowiea – an intricate succulent plant. Image also from ‘Bulbs’.
Love the green centers of Daffodil ‘Green Pearl’. Photo borrowed from Dutch Bulbs.
A marvelous green lily – Gerrit Zalm LA hybrid. Photo from Hirts.com.
Hydrangea ‘Little Lime’ which is a mini-version of H. ‘Limelights’. Image borrowed from Spring Meadows.
Hermodactylus tuberosus has somewhat ominous common names; Widow iris, or Snakeshead Iris. From Anna Pavord’s ‘Bulbs’.
The Echinaceas have a few; here is ‘Green Jewel’. Courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden.
E. ‘Green Envy’ via Plant Delights.
E. ‘Greenline’, borrowed from Sugarcreek Gardens.
Anemonella thalictroides from the blog Fennel and Fern.
Primula auricula – also by Fennel and Fern.
Primula ‘Green Lace’ from Rainyside.com.
Can’t forget about the Nicotiana ‘Lime Green’, but Higgledygarden.com.
Zanthedeschia aethiopica – a Calla lily with green streaks. From Anna Pavord’s ‘Bulbs’.
The Amaranths – here is Limelight Millet. By Laughing Frog Farm.
Paris quadrifolia, from Wikimedia Commons. I think Paris is a miniature reminiscence of Rudbeckia ‘Green Wizard’.
This one is labeled Paris polyphylla, per Anna Pavord. Looks a lot like P. quadrifolia, except it has five petals.
The stately Angelia archangelica litoralis, from Wikipedia.
Lovely little Fritillaria acmopetala. Why are these kinds of bulbs so hard to find in nurseries? They are adorable! Yet another awesome pic from ‘Bulbs’.
Galtonia viridiflora is new to me. If it weren’t for Anna Pavord, I would still be blissfully ignorant of its existence.
Mostly white, but Leucojum vernum has quaint little green markings – just like a snowdrop. Love the sweet little bells! Anna Pavord again.
Kris P. pointed out one glaring omission from the original posting – Helleborus argutifolius or Corsican Hellebore. Such a stunner – how could I possibly have missed it? Oh well, here it is, courtesy of http://www.igarden.com.au
Veltheimia – another bulb unknown to me. From ‘Bulbs’.
Not hardy here, but pretty spectacular,Hippeastrum ‘Emerald’ looks a lot more adventurous than your average Amaryllis.
So does Hippeastrum ‘Chico’ which resembles a multi-headed Chinese dragon. So cool…
A grayish green adorns the petals of Ornithogalum nutans. Anna Pavord’s ‘Bulbs’ again.
The star-shaped seedheads of Carpenteria californica. I was thrilled to see it adorn the entrance to one of our local businesses, but had no idea what it was for many months. Paul Bonine of Xera demystified it for me – thanks Paul!
The endearing seed heads of St. John’s wort.
And, of course there are green orchids out there – here is a dendrobium. There are probably a gazillion others… Courtesy of Kristen James.
Finally – although most green flowers are developed through breeding and genetic manipulation, some green flowers happen naturally via something called a ‘phyllodic mutation’. This is a photo of a Rosa chinensis that has gone through such a mutation. This post will give you more information on that fascinating topic.
I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well.
My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging.
Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration.
I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
Nicely done Anna! Amazing how many green blooms there are when you start looking. Are you a Blooming Garden Writer now? Add that to the list of your talents! 🙂 Nancy
Thanks Nancy! I guess I just write about what inspires me at the moment. I admit – it has been a lot of garden-related stuff lately… 🙂
Nice bit of green there…I nearly ,nearly bought Mums the other day …but then the I spotted a nice looking Agastache!
Wonder if there is a green Agastache??? Wouldn’t that be something?
What a wonderful compilation! I’ve grown a few green flowers – a Hellebore, Nicotiana, and Hippeastrum ‘Emerald’ – with varying degrees of success. My favorites of those you presented were the ‘Green Wizard’ Rudbeckia, the green Rhododendron (sadly, not a plant suitable to SoCal), and the ‘Green Flutter’ daylily.
Oh my god Kris – I forgot the Hellebore! I’m going to have to add that pronto. Thanks for the reminder… Yeah, I have a definite soft spot for the Green Wizards – they last forever. A favorite for sure – I hope you can find some. I bet they’d love the California sun. 🙂
As you know, I share your fascination for green flowers. You have opened my eyes to vastly more possibilities that I would have thought possible. Your mystery plant looks like Miners’ Lettuce, which is a tender addition to spring salads. It grows by the roadside here, which I discovered after going to some lengths to procure seed.
I will never again look with disdain at displays of lowly kale. ‘Green Wizard’ and ‘Frosty Explosion’ are going on my want list, along with that green Rhody.
The only thing I can think of to add to your list is Nicotiana langsdorfii, which I grew successfully from seed this year.
Miner’s Lettuce, huh? Did you manage to grow some? Is it well behaved? I would love to grow such a pretty edible… I have to check out the Nicotiana langsdorfii and add it to my list. And when it’s time to divide (is one supposed to divide them?) my Green Wizards, I’ll be sure to save you one. 🙂
It’s a lot like cilantro, in that it has a moment of perfection but quickly turns to seedy mush. I now satisfy my craving by gleaning from the roadside (we have very little traffic, so a quick rinse is all that’s needed). I forgot to mention Zinnia ‘Envy’: not as easy to grow from seed as regular Zinnias, but worth the effort. I’ll be looking forward to some of your Green Wizards in my future. Thanks!
Ah – another one for the list! Thanks! Probably a smart move to make use of naturally growing Miner’s Lettuce. I have never had good luck with cilantro – it usually puts on a very lame show. I’ll pamper my Green Wizards. Hopefully they will expand quickly!
Gorgeous greens! I’m going to look for Dianthus ‘Green Trick’ as it’s quite fun!
One of my favorites too, Peter! It is adorably and endearingly fuzzy!
That Panicum is lovely…but is sadly, an annual 😦 I hear it’s fast and easy to grow from seed, though 🙂
Hmmm, wonder if it is well behaved, or if it will start sprouting everywhere when it self-seeds… I might not mind so much if it does – I can just see all other plants as if floating on its cloud of fluff! 🙂
This list is downright encyclopedic! That rudbeckia is my favorite. It almost reminds me of an eryngium.
You’re dead on right, Heather! How come I never made that connection? Hmmm, maybe I should plant them together…
I’ve got lots of the Northern Sea Oats, a beautiful grass. My only complaint with it is it seeds like crazy and the seedlings are very tenacious. I’m fond of greenish tulips also.
You mean I may have more of it in a near future? Right now, I only have a small clump, and I will probably regret saying this, but I’m kind of looking forward to seeing more. 🙂
Then you have a lot to look forward to!
LOVE this blog, Anna. Do you garden coach?
Absolutely, MaryBeth! Any chance I get! 🙂
Let’s plan for that, ok? I’ll call. LOVE all this green stuff; I wonder if there is a ‘compulsive plant hoarder’ description OCD’s’ in the DSM? Is there a 12-stepper group do you think? I might need to look into that.
Hahaha – me too, for sure! 🙂
I don’t think I have ever seen a truly green flowers.
I think the greenest one I know if is that Echinacea ‘Green Jewel’. Tempted to get one, but I did order some of that green lily. Very excited to see if it is truly green!
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