By Cynthia Brian
“God gets mad if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.” Alice Walker, The Color Purple
As I amble through my April garden, I know that God is very happy! Purple, the color of royalty, wisdom, and luxury is favored in the majority of my botanical blooms. The nobility of the season is highlighted with the elegantly perfumed lilac, the scented grace of cascading wisteria, and the pride of the dark and handsome hellebore as it changes from its deep shaded amethyst of winter to the violet and chartreuse of spring. Bees are swarming, sucking the sweet nectar from the fragrant flowers of lavender, freesia, and the Chinese fringe. Shades of indigo, mauve, and sangria pepper the landscape offering a powerful presence yet calming expression.
Purple bearded iris and Dutch iris tender their brilliance in the middle of the weed filled hillside where Jerusalem star, also known as goat’s beard thrive. Bulbs and rhizomes are the ultimate VIP’s of my garden. Once planted, I forget about them until they burst into bloom, a welcome surprise especially when other plants are failing. If you are a beginner gardener, I highly recommend indulging in bulbs for all seasons. Most require little maintenance and effort with minimal water while providing maximum results. Some of my perennial favorites that are available in hues of purple include calla lily, gladiolus, oriental lily, bearded iris, Asiatic lily, dahlia, anemone, and naked lady.
I love the color purple and have dedicated this month to everything purple. If you’d like to bring a bit more of the richness of purple into your outdoors, I recommend checking out a few of these favorite cultivars.
Agastache Violet Vision
Aquilegia Swan Lavender
Aster Kickin’ Purple
Astilbe Purple Candles
Buddelia Miss Violet
Campanula Milan Lilac
Chinese Fringe Plant
Delphinium Pagan Purples
Digitalis Sugar Plum
Hellebore Dark and Handsome
Hemerocallis Black Stockings
Heuchera Fire Alarm
Hollyhock Crème de Cassis
Hydrangea Let’s Dance Rave
Monarda Piurple Rooster
Nepeta Little Trudy
Purple Potato Vine
Prunella Puprle Daze
Rose Angel Face
Salvia May Night
Sea Foam Statice
Tulips (Black Parrot or Victoria’s Secret)
Veronica Hocus Pocus
Ask your nursery if they carry inventory from Bluestone Perennials, Brent and Becky’s, White Flower Farm, and Proven Winners. While perusing the gardens, buy petunias, pansies, zinnias, and other annuals in the hues that will brighten your landscape.
“Purple haze, all in my brain
Lately things they don't seem the same
Actin' funny, but I don't know why
Excuse me while I kiss the sky!” Jimi Hendrix
I am kissing the sky with joy for spring. Get your purple haze on!
Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for April
SPLASH your barbecue grill with white vinegar then scrub with half an onion to clean the grates and get ready for outside dining.
BUFF your garden tools by plunging them in a five-gallon bucket of sand mixed with a cup of vegetable oil. The sand will keep them sharper and the oil wards off rust. Small hand tools can be stored in the sand bucket.
PLANT frost tender plants as the weather warms towards the end of the month. Ground covers, citrus, bougainvillea, and summer annuals are available for purchase.
SOW seeds of scarlet runner bean, sweet peas, or morning glories to climb on fences and wire.
RESIST cutting back the dying leaves of narcissi and daffodils. The frongs are gathering their nutrition for next year’s blooms. Cut them back only when as dry as potato chips.
BAIT the snails and slugs, pick them off by hand, use copper barriers, or bowls of beer. These slimy crawlers will devour new seedlings.
BUY ladybugs from your nursery or garden center if you see aphids or other pests on your plants. Remember ladybugs fly to infested gardens.
VISIT the Be the Star You Are!® booth at the Moraga Faire on Saturday, May 13th between 11-4pm to get a bag of complimentary spring potpourri. Bring your gardening questions and I’ll be there to answer them. www.BetheStarYouAre.org/events
SELECT appropriate plants in one or two gallon pots for your shade garden. Smaller sizes don’t root as quickly. Hostas, ferns, vinca minor, anemones, begonias, and impatiens mingle beautifully without much sunlight.
PLANT purple anything this spring and be delighted all year.
WEED, weed, weed. Because of the heavy rains this year, weeds are ubiquitous, yet easy to pull. If they don’t have seed heads, add to your compost pile.
PRE-ORDER my forthcoming garden book, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, Book I in the Garden Shorts Series. All pre-orders will receive extra goodies such as heirloom seeds, bookmarks, and more. Email me for details, Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com. 25% of the proceeds benefit the 501c3 Be the Star You Are!® charity.
Win $50,000 for your Garden: As a judge in America’s Best Gardener Contest. I encourage you to enter your best garden photo. The top prize is $50,000. http://www.americasbestgardener.com
BUY a beautiful potted purple lavender plant to show your love for your Mother or anyone’s Mom’s on Mother’s Day.
A heartfelt shout out to every Mom! You are the nurturers and our teachers. Happy Mother’s Day! Let it rain purple.
Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!
Read more at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1104/Digging-Deep-Color-me-purple.html
Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is a New York Times best selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are1® 501 c3.
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at www.StarStyleRadio.com
Available for hire for any project.