Wandering around the garden, beginning to thaw in the watery sunshine, I was struck by how lovely the last remaining blooms were, frost whipped and decaying, but still having a broken sort of beauty. The chocolate Cosmos, Austin rose, and Bidens alba all look ragged, with the transluscence of damage, but their final-days fragility is somehow still exquisite to me.
I also have to flag up the wonder that is the scabiosa genus. Despite looking like this last week,
my two big perennial Scabiosa.caucasica 'Miss Willmott' clumps are still trying to bud and flower after 6 straight months of blooming. They always seem to look beautiful in bouquets, bobbing high on their wonderfully wiry long stems, adding a bit of cream elegance and blending effortlessly with other flowers and colours. The bluey-violet ones are pretty too, but the colour, to me, verges on pastel-y schmastel-y so I don't adore them quite as much.
In this white and green arrangement, they look so fresh with cosmos and ammi. They last for about 7 -10 days once picked, if they are harvested when the middles are still 'quilted' as below.
If I have any quibble at all, it is that their habit in garden is a bit lax and lanky, and needs some staking unless you can forgive a bit of trailing, somewhat horizontal growth.
And then there are the annual cousins, easypeasy to grow from seed and absolutely, heartstoppingly gorgeous. Feast your eyes on my favourite, Chile Black and also Beaujolais Bonnets (which is actually a perennial but can fail in winter, in which case I buy cheap plugplants and treat as an annual),
The two photos above of Scabiosa 'Beaujolais Bonnets' were taken after a frost so they are a little damaged at the edges but you get the gorgeousness.
The genus has giant (about 1 metre tall), and dwarf forms, grow like mad, flower for months and the more you pick, the faster they flower. The annual form is gently scented and lives up to the pretty Pincushion Flower name. Honestly if you want to grow flowers to pick, these are the business.
Have a lovely, perhaps snowy, weekend!