Monday, November 03, 2008

The Colour Purple

Somewhere Over The Petunia Rainbow

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


Ever since we bought our first home, I have planted petunia seedlings every year. Because I grew up in a house with a huge garden, I have always aimed to have as much summer colour as possible in our own home.

Each of the Authorbloglets has been taught how to separate the seedlings from a punnet. Each has been shown how to run the punnet under a brief stream of water to make this task easier. Each has helped me over the years and each has enjoyed the startling results.

One of the joys of petunias is the mass of colour they produce, as well as their height and the rich variety of shades. But there's a funny story from the first time I planted them, almost 20 years ago. I bought six or seven punnets and simply planted them as they were, in a broad garden bed.

A couple of days later a relative blessed with green thumbs came to visit and, after he had recovered from several fits of laughter, he told me that one did not plant the entire punnet - the various seedlings had to be prised apart and planted singly.

Here's an interesting tip for gardeners. Some years ago, a friend of ours swore she would never grow petunias again because they used to grow leggy and spindly. So I passed on a tip that someone else once shared with me.

When the first few petunias bloom, remove them simply by pinching them out between your thumb and forefinger. This in turn ensures the plant grows outwards rather than upwards and ends up dense and bushy, ensuring more colour.

I guess you could say that's handy advice - at a pinch.

These petunias near our front door were bathed in full afternoon sun a few days ago, when I took these shots. Because I tend to intersperse darker colours with white petunias - purely for contrast - I thought the whites would be hard to shoot.

That's precisely why I took the first shot, with my camera among the high, wide clump of dark purple blooms. I concentrated on the outer edge of this trumpet-shaped blossom and kept it in mid-frame, just to create a "different" feel to the shot.

I then took about six or seven more shots, but I had a feeling they would not be as striking as the first frame. Do you agree?


Visit Luiz Santilli Jr for the home of Today's Flowers.

59 comments:

Maria said...

All your shots are beautiful but the first one is artistic! I agree with you that petunias are special flowers. I grow them on my windows because I love their abundance of blossoms and colours very much!

Luiz Santilli Jr said...

David

Marvelous post!
Thanks for posting!

Luiz

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

Just lovely!!

Laerte Pupo said...

Petunia is a special flower, many color and many surprise, every day.

Congratulations and thanks for the posting.

Maggie May said...

Yes, I think the first shot is the most artistic but I can't fault any of them really!
I do love petunias myself.

marina said...

I like these flowers a lot, but everytime I plant them they die! I think I water them a lot(?)!

Jeni said...

Awesome flower pictures, David! I love petunias and the wide range of colors available with them too.

Katney said...

It is also necessary to pinch off the "deadheads"--the blossoms which have gone past their peak and are ready to wilt away and dry up. If you do this, the plant will replace the bloom with another. If you don't, well, they slow down considerably.

Years ago a friend lived in a duplex with her landlady in the other unit. The landlady had planted petunias in the beds by the doorsteps of both units. I would sometimes come by to pick my friend up for grocery shopping or visit for a bit and arrive before she was back from work. I would sit on the doorstep and deadhead her petunias. After a few times of this, the landlady was just beside herself because the petunias bloomed so much more by my friend's door than by hers.

Leora said...

Love all the variety in your shots. Also, I like how you are not afraid of blur and use it to advantage.

I've heard that, about pinching the petunias early on, but do I remember? Maybe next spring.

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Photography tips I have come to expect, and I deeply appreciate them. Now gardening tips!? Way to go, David "Greenthumbs" McMahon!

It seems to me that deep purple petunias, at least the variety we can purchase here, have a deep, heady perfume, which I greatly enjoy.

Lovely post.

Titania said...

Petunias with their rich and soft colours are wonderful. I plant always a container full. A lovely series of a beloved flower.
MyTDF is up on "Three Monkeys".

fishing guy said...

David: Beautiful flowers and a neat post of the Petunia. I enjoyed the purple one best. Congrats on the opening page.

Mrs. Organic said...

That bit of color considerably improved my gray afternoon. Thanks also for gardening tip.

Lee said...

That's an exquisite purple, David! You can almost feel its rich velvety texture. They are all good but the richness of some of the colors is just sublime. I liked the deep red of the second shot and the white in the third seems to glow with reflected sunlight. Very nice!

Joy!

ChrissyM said...

All of your photos are lovely and beautiful but that first one is stunning and out of this world!! Excellent post !

ilanadavita said...

Petunias are always beautiful. I love how you have photographed them.

Queen-Size funny bone said...

Gee, they make me miss spring time already. I do love the first one the most.

Reader Wil said...

Petunias are lovely flowers, but I am often away abroad so I have to put plants in my garden which don't have to be watered so often. My neighbours look after my flowers and found out that geraniums are the easiest to look after.

Gmj said...

Love your love of the colour purple!

Sara Chapman said...

Actually, I prefer the last three, as they have the sharp focus I love in flower shots. But the first one is lovely, too.

My mother taught me that to separate tiny seedlings, use the point of a dull pencil to tease their roots gently apart. A great seedling tool! She had a big garden space to fill so seeds were essential. I just moved to a big place so looks like I will be doing more seeds soon!

Denise said...

Gorgeous flowers!

joan said...

So pretty. I love pretty flower shots.

aims said...

Hey David -

Seems Stinking Billy has done a post on you and has some questions for you.

http://stinkingbilly.blogspot.com/

Bintang said...

A great flower photography...
And you know your flower very well.
Unlike me, I just take a flower photo without knowing anything about it.

Melissa said...

Beautiful shots u got there. Petunias are so pretty.

mine is here
http://abay-melissa.blogspot.com/

Lizete Vicari said...

Parabéns pelas suas
Petúnias!
Um beijo. lili

April said...

Pretty petunias! I plant them every summer too - there are so many varieties to choose from. Beautiful photos! I like the blurring effect in the 1st one and also in the background of the last one. Very nice post.

arleena said...

Beautiful flowers.
I had in summer petunias.

i must confess said...

these are beautiful collection. I only have the one...what do you think of it?

Darla said...

Great Petunias, one of my favorites.

Paz said...

Lovely flower shots. I love the colors.

Paz

Norm said...

gorgeous set of flowers, very pretty...

arlene said...

hi david, these are great flower shots!

thanks for sharing. :)

got a yellow one as my entry. see ya there!

CrazyCath said...

My favourites are actually the last and second to last. Great shots though, all of them.

Just wish I had that colour in my garden at the moment!

ellen b said...

These shots make me long for Spring. I love the top photograph...

Bee Repartee said...

I agree with Maria, the first one is artistic, a bit whimsical, as it makes you feel tiny...

I love the colors.

PS. I've linky-loved you. :)

Mega said...

Awesome shots David. Simply awesome.

dulce said...

Beautiful petunias. I love the last one the most.
Have a nice week.

napaboaniya said...

All gorgeous and I'm loving the white ones :) Pure and delicate.

Greyscale Territory said...

A brilliant reange of shots! The colours of petunias are so delightfully enchanting!

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

Wonderful colours!
I too love petunias and used to have hanging baskets and patio-pots overflowing with them in England...
So thanks for reminding me, I must start planting beautiful petunias here in Brasil!

Arija said...

Petunias do produce a lovely splach of colour in the summer garden and neatly fill the occasional gap or two. I love them for their scent at dusk, especially the purple ones. Since direct sunlight tends to reflect from their silky petals, I prefer to photograph them on a rather more dull day.
Is there no end to your talents? Cooking, baking, garening, photograpy and writing, do you do the laundry and vacuuming as well? You must be close to the perfect husband.

Jan said...

Wonderful series. I love petunias, too. I really like your 3rd shot.

just jamie said...

I have no idea what a garden is. Nope. My thumb is the opposite of green.

The first time I planted bulbs, I was informed that I planted them upside-down. Yup. Thank goodness we have no yards in San Diego. :)

Vic Grace said...

I find petunia's to be my best bet here. They carry on blooming when most of the other flowers have given up. I have several flower boxes full of them every summer.

Day4plus said...

Excellent purple. Petunias are hard workers who reward us with beautiful piles of color. MB

ayamlin said...

This flower is familiar in Japan, too!
it's very beautiful!

Indrani said...

Nice one, David.
So much of info in this post!

Tere said...

Such beautiful flowers!

Luiz Ramos said...

Beautiful flower and colors.

Inkivääri said...

Your petunias are beautiful - I share that every year must bee petunias in garden:)

Rosamaria said...

I don't know if there is time to join the TODAY'S FOWERS' now. I'll post, than I hope to hear from you. thanks.

Your petunias are wonderful!

RiverPoet said...

Well, I certainly learned something today. I normally just plant the blocks straight from the little plastic tray. I guess your advice applies to any annual? My geraniums are the best performers in my garden (in containers), and they required zero effort on my part. Maybe next year it will be all geraniums!

But I love your petunias!

Peace - D

Connie said...

The flowers are very nice. I put two up for Today's Flowers.

Sandi McBride said...

Believe it or not David, but even though we have had a couple of freezes, my Petunias are still vibrant and fullsome as ever. Their colours are still fresh and full and they seem to come up on their own, these days! Yours are beautiful...I love that deep purple...I learned "pinching back" from my mother, a Master Gardener...all sorts like that little pinch!
Sandi

Ladynred said...

Beautiful Petunias.

A Cuban In London said...

The first picture is something out of this world, Dave, man. It really is.

Greetings from London.

Denise BC said...

Hello, a sequence of stunning images, like the colors and shapes of these flowers. I appreciate your participation in TF
Denise & Santilli - Team TF

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

So ruffle-y....and delicate!