Everything trendy these days is green. If we want to clean up our communities, we can "go green" by cleaning up litter and collecting household items for recycling. If we want to "green up" our landscapes, we can start a compost pile and reduce the amount of trash we stuff into plastic bags that get sent to overflowing landfills.
We can do lots of things to help make our world a little cleaner and a little ''greener,'' but I can think of one way to bring green into the garden, and that is with green flowers.
I can hear you now. You're probably thinking, why would you want to put green flowers in the garden when there is so much green out there anyway? I have one answer. Because green is great.
My family and most of my friends already know that green is my favorite color. I like any shade of green from olive drab to mossy forest floor. So you can imagine my delight when I was perusing a recently acquired seed catalog (yes, they are already arriving in my mailbox), and saw lime-green Love Lies Bleeding.
I suppose, unless you are an alien, or a green-blooded skink, you may not feel comfortable planting a green variety of what was primarily an heirloom plant named for its deep red flower spikes, red-veined leaves and blood-red stems. But green-lovers don't care. The ad that accompanied the photo of the lime green flowers that drooped over the dark green leaves immediately caught my attention. Perhaps alone these flowers might not be that impressive, but sow their seeds along with the red variety and what you have are colors that would rival any festive holiday decor. Even pine wreaths with pepper berries couldn't compete.
Love Lies Bleeding, or Amaranthus caudatus, is an old-fashioned plant that probably grew in your grandmother's garden. My first encounter with the plant was of my own doing, however.
It was nearly 30 years ago when I decided to enhance my garden with annuals that I had never grown before. That winter, I bought seeds with wild abandon, not knowing what I would end up with in the end and not caring because what I was going for anyway was the element of surprise. That was the summer I discovered cleome, a blue version of Queen Anne's Lace (the botanical name escapes me) and Amaranth. It doesn't have an impressive common name, like Hydrangea 'Limelight' or the varieties of Zinnia and Coneflower, both called 'Green Envy.' The Amaranth is simply called 'Love Lies Bleeding Green.'
To ensure long-lived blooms in the garden, start seeds indoors about six weeks before they can be set outside. These are annual flowers and will not withstand our winters, but like any other bedding plant, once they burst open their flowers, they bloom continually until the frost takes them out. Amaranth doesn't care if their soil is the greatest, and some varieties don't mind if their feet are wet a little more than usual. This makes them a great plant for putting around garden ponds or in rain gardens, where the water seems to linger a little longer after a hearty rain.
Amaranth love heat. Once the soil in your garden has warmed up in late spring and there is no sign of an upcoming frost, plant the seedlings in a sunny location.
Now that your finished with Christmas lists, it's time to start making out lists for next year's garden. When you do, don't forget to ''go green.''