Purple Prose

Purple prose: writing that is extravagantly flowery

I admit it, the garden is guilty of purple prose. It is extravagantly flowery this week, especially in shades of purple. Siberian Iris 'Reprise'

Now is the time of alliums Allium 'Purple Sensation'and columbines (Aquilegia). doublebluecolumbineThe three petaled flowers of our native spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis) opened this morning. spiderwort

What potent blood hath modest May ~ Ralph W. Emerson

Not only is the garden extravagant with bloom, it is clothing itself in rich layers of texture and color. The upper garden greets me each morning with flowers and foliage under a cathedral of green oaks. frontgarden

The south facing garden in the back is even more extravagant, more “purple”. Let’s enter by the gate.MayGate

The hillside garden is in its late spring glory but the color comes as much from the foliage as from the flowers. lowergardenMay

The deep purple and white ‘William Guiness’ columbine stops me in my tracks as I pause on the steps – a dependable self-seeding plant, I love that it pops up everywhere in the garden. (Click on any photo in the mosaic to enlarge the image)

Nearby, Iris germanica ‘Tiger Honey’ blooms near Heuchera ‘Caramel’ and Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’, a lovely color counterpoint to the purples.

As I descend further into the lower garden, the purples get softer surrounded by blues and greens.columbineallium

The garden bench is closely embraced by the exuberant growth of the rain-rich May garden. gardenbench

As I circle back around through the garden, I am captured by the sight of complex layers of woodland and garden intertwining their voices in a vesper song.lowergarden

As dusk falls, I retrace my steps and view the garden from above. It grows quiet as the last light retreats and the birds settle to their nests. Thank you for walking along with me in the garden and listening to its purple prose.eveninggarden

If it’s drama that you sigh for, plant a garden and you’ll get it. . . If you long for entertainment and for pageantry most glowing, plant a garden and this summer spend your time with green things growing. ~Edward A. Guest, Plant a Garden

All photographs and text ©2019 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved, except where noted.

47 thoughts on “Purple Prose

  1. Clearly your gardening love and work blooms forth in accolades..to the sun and for all your hard work. You must have many friends who love to visit.

    • Tracey, I have the Ohio Spiderwort everywhere in the garden and have several different color forms which all interbreed and spread. I love them and the bees do too -no guessing where the pollen is there!

  2. Better late than never….and it’s never too late for beauty like this! That iris! And Tradescantia never looked so good! 😉 Your color sense is just exquisite….I love the dusk photos, everything beginning to receded…. Well, your potent-blooded cathedral is heavenly!

    • Always great to have you stop by, Lynn – no time limit on that! Yes, that Iris is stunning, isn’t it? Not all of the new Siberian hybrids are vigorous in the garden but that one is a winner – I’ve divided it and moved pieces around the garden so that I can enjoy it everywhere. I do love playing with color in my “potent-blooded cathedral” – and the best part is that the garden’s color constantly changes yet somehow stays the same 🙂

  3. Always a pleasure to see your garden! What kind of maintenance chores do you have to do, or is it more of a ‘let nature take it’s course’ sort of place?

    • Margy, the demanding times are spring and fall, for cleanup, mulching, weeding, etc. Once the plants fill in, there is little light to trigger weed growth, so it is more of light maintenance – deadheading, trimming, etc. which happens as I stroll through the garden every day. I’m starting to get help for those busy spring and fall times as I age!

  4. I love your garden with its slopes and different elevations. Makes my flat garden so boring in comparison. And yes, there are lots of purples now, though you have more than I. Our ‘Purple Sensation’ Alliums are beginning to bloom. I’m looking forward to the many blues of June.

    • Jason, my first garden was more of a city garden and was flat as a pancake. Easier to garden it though! I do love the different elevations here; lots of gardens in this area have hillsides so it is a good showcase for beginners to visit to learn how to deal with it creatively. Enjoy the blues and purples of your garden – love those Alliums 🙂

  5. I love aquilegia ‘William Guinness’. It emphasises the aquilegia’s structural beauty. Your garden looks gorgeous.

  6. You always have such a beautiful backdrop of woodland greens. I notice that many of the gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show this week have woodland settings- such a calming background to the excitement of the floral displays. Yours is up there with the best!

    • Richard, I’m blushing. I’ve always wanted to attend Chelsea but I keep up with the BBC programs on it – I’m looking forward to seeing them this week.

      As for the woods, they are one of the reasons that we moved here and they do create an awesome backdrop for the garden. As a kid, I spent many hours exploring our local woods. I’m past my tree climbing days now but I still love walking among them every day.

  7. This is a wonderful series of compositions – flowers and vistas. The first picture of the purple iris is breathtaking. The columbine, heuchera and foliage plants series has a sense of what I can only describe in flavours – a marmalade-like combination of sweetness and bitterness. I love the picture of the almost black columbines with the alliums and forget-me-nots too.

    • Thank you for your poetic observations, Susan; you’ve gone right to the heart of my garden. The purple iris, Iris siberica ‘Reprise’ is what inspired this post and it seemed appropriate to lead with it. Ah, the sweet and bitter of marmalade – I love that.

  8. I am in total envy of your Columbine and Allium that flourish in your garden. Our Mediterranean climate has its joys…but nothing as fragile and precious as these!

      • I have been experimenting with some new natives and drought-happy plants in a new bed (we call it the mound). They love the drainage and are thriving. Will share soon. We can have mutual coastal envy. 🙂

  9. Wow. Just glorious, Lynn! I love the columbine, but all the colors and layers work together so beautifully! What a gift you have for design. Thank you for this!

  10. Your garden is divine (I may have said this before) and I love all the purples – my favourite colour. I bought ‘William Guiness’ this spring, but it isn’t doing much this year. I hope it will get established and come back next year and flower and self-seed everywhere like yours!

    • Thank you, Jude. I started William Guiness from seed a few years ago, a very easy doer, and those tall ones (4′ at least) loaded with bloom are in gravelly stony places where they self-seeded. The ones in the richer garden beds are normal size – go figure.

  11. Lynn Your paradise is an absolute joy! Thank you so much for sharing its beauty along with your poetic commentary.

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