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A Passion for Purple Flowers

first-paragraph-photo2Every spring, I begin the process of taking stock in my garden. What survived the cold winter? What areas just need sprucing up or an extreme makeover? Then, I head to my favorite nursery and begin my annual indulgence—plant shopping! The color I gravitate to most is purple—from pale periwinkle to luscious lavender to deep, velvety jewel tones.

Purple adds drama and mystery to my garden. I add yellow, pink and white flowers to add contrast and lighten the palette. To create great focal points with intense color, I combine shades of orange or gold in front of a swath of purple blooms. My favorite color combination is combining a punch of chartreuse with deep purple—talk about eye candy!

Below are some of my favorite purple blooms:

balloonflowerx21 Balloon Flower or Chinese Bellflower (Platycodon) is a perennial plant known for its large, showy blossoms that resemble hot air balloons right before they open. The plant forms in clumps and each stem bears bell-shaped flowers in pink, purplish-blue and white. Grown in full sun or partial shade, they bloom throughout the summer.
Easy to grow, the striking Bearded Iris is a drought-tolerant plant with blooms in a rainbow of colors. Grown from rhizomes, these perennials blossom in spring, although there are summer-blooming irises. The blooms are large, showy and make a great backdrop in your garden. beardediris


Harbingers of spring, Crocus are one of the easiest bulbs to grow. Best planted en masse, these perennial flowers grow in full sun to partial shade and are ideal for naturalizing. With minimum growing conditions, they will reward you with a profusion of colorful blue, purple, yellow, white, orange, and even variegated flowers.

Grown from bulbs, Gladiolus have multiple blooms on long, sturdy stems. These sun-loving plants come in a wide array of colors and make great cut flowers. I’m always amazed that Gladiolus bulbs are so inexpensive—I’ve purchased a bag of 100 bulbs for as little as $12! And yes, I managed to plant all of them!


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Up, Up And Away With A Balloon Flower

Every once in a while a question comes in when even with a picture, I have trouble identifying it.  Some times it is the perspective in which the photo is taken.  Flowers and leaves can often resemble other plants depending on the camera angle or in this case my tired eyes.

Balloon Flower

Balloon Flower

Ask the Expert: Please can you identify this plant?
I have attached a photograph
. Jan


My inital thought was that it was some sort of weird kalanchoe because I thought the leaves looked thick.  But that identification just didn’t seem right.  So I emailed Jan and ask her to take a picture from a little farther distance and to give me an approximate bloom size.  Jan was nice enough to send me another picture.

Balloon Flower Platycodon gradiflorus

Balloon Flower Platycodon gradiflorus

Instantly, I knew what this plant was and a little mad at myself for thinking it was a kalanchoe.  This is a Platycodon grandiflorus commonly known as balloon flower.  It is one of my favorite perennials.  I have both white and blue in my garden.  It is called balloon flower because the bloom buds look like little balloons.  The buds open up and become 4 petal flowers. If you live in zone 4-9, I highly recommend planting balloon flowers in your garden.

It is amazing how changing the perspective of the picture can make identification easier or maybe I just need glasses.