Monday, December 14, 2015

Going Pink––Getting Brighter PCI Flowers

Kathleen Sayce

PCI 'Broadleigh Rose', R. 2006, Broadleigh Gardens
Rose to pink PCI flowers appear in nature from time to time. Debby Cole urged me to collect seeds from a wild I. tenax population along the Columbia River a decade ago; this population is notable for its cool pink flowers. 

'Broadleigh Rose' is a typical wild-type selection with rose pink flowers, a yellow signal, narrow petals and veining in darker pigments. 

But pinks have gotten bold in the garden, moving into modern forms with wider, ruffled petals and more intense colors. The following is a small selection of the variety of modern pinks. As with other reddish-hued flowers, the pink coloration is a balance between cool blues/lavenders/purples in the intracellular fluid and warm tones (yellows/oranges) inside plastids in each cell. 

PCI 'Altar Boy' R. 1998, Joe Ghio

'Altar Boy' is a light pink, near flesh-toned flower with a dark signal and some veining. Petals are broad, and the two-toned color of the falls is very pleasing. 

PCI 'Erika Denise' R.2005 by Vernon Wood 

PCI 'Erika Denise' has intense veining on a light pink background. The darker signal band sets off the pink background, and the contrasting style arms and standards add to a nice complexity. 

PCI 'Marriage Proposal'R. 2006 , Joe Ghio
With more intensely pink petals, 'Marriage Proposal', another Ghio hybrid, has with even wider falls and standards, and intensely dark signals on falls. Ruffling pale edges and lighter center streak add complexity to this flower. 

PCI 'English Rose' R. 2002, Joe Ghio 
Hybrids that move towards solid colors include this one, with petals almost all the same color, and yet, being PCI, there are veins and central petal color variations leaning towards pale blues that lift this flower right out of the ordinary and into a lovely ethereal pink. Wide ruffled petals don't hold up well in wet spring areas, but this one is worth contriving a cover for during flowering. 

PCI 'Fallen Plums', R. 1990, John Marchant 
PCI 'Fallen Plums' edges towards purple, and displays a lovely intensity of color on the falls between the base color, darker veins, light signal and lighter rims. Moderate ruffling means this flower holds up well in wetter spring climates. 

And then we move off into dramatic contrasts between pink and yellow, pinker and orange  . . .

PCI 'Blazing Speed' R. 2008, Duane Meek
Initially the contrast seems almost innocuous, some dark rose veins on a lighter fall, a nicely yellow signal, a small yellow slash. 

PCI 'Rainbow Connection' R. 1994, Joe Ghio 

But these are PCIs, and so the contrast continues:  more veins, lighter background on falls, darker halo on signal, more intensity of color on standards. 

PCI 'On the Bubble' R. 2005, Joe Ghio

And more:  wider, darker, more ruffles, more veining. More contrast. 

And  . . . 

PCI 'Star of Wonder', R. 2002, Joe Gio

Over-the-top gaudy, with PCI 'On the Bubble', raspberry red edges and veins, darker halo on signal, and yellow gleaming through on the falls. 

And yet the effect is still pink, albeit a hot luscious pink with neon-bright color contrasts, like a brilliantly-colored shaved ice confection on a hot summer day. 

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