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Janice Peterson: Unusual flower specimens

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By Janice Peterson
June 18, 2014

There are so many beautiful flowers, plants, shrubs and trees a gardener can choose from, more than could ever be grown in a lifetime. So tell me why some gardeners are so intrigued with finding unusual specimens - basically plants that never should exist.

I was planting dwarf sunflowers the other day. It suddenly struck me – why dwarf sunflowers? Sunflowers are great because they’re so tall. If a short composite flower is needed then why not plant daisies?

Last year I was introduced to new type of impatiens that grows in full sun. I think regular impatiens are great(how many other plants can flower in deep shade all summer long?) but if I have full sun I can think of lots of other flowers I’d grow besides impatiens. Of course, I have so much shade in my yard perhaps I’m a little wistful about all the flowers I can’t grow.

And I have never understood blue roses. I understand the breeding hurdle of creating them; I just don’t understand why anyone would want them. (Note to husband – never give me blue roses on my birthday).

Black flowers are another garden oddity I don’t quite get. I’ve seen black tulips, black petunias, black hollyhocks and black irises. Actually I don’t think any of them are truly black, usually just very dark purple. I always have a hard time wrapping my mind around black flowers. They remind me of staring into the abyss.

There are so many beautiful “normal” flowers and plants to grow, maybe after I’ve grown them all I’ll finally try some of these atypical ones!


Janice Peterson has worked as a grounds horticulturist at Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville since 2002. She is a master gardener with the Rock Prairie Master Gardener Association. Though her education is in plant science, she considers her love of gardening and strong back to be her true qualifications. Janice is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. Her opinion is not necessarily that of The Gazette staff or management.


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