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why do we like what we like...and will we always?

Campanula UK Z8
12 years ago

It is winter, so that means a lot of thinking and not so much doing. One of the things I have been thinking about is perfect flower form - why we choose what we choose. Certainly, I have had fads and fancies but throughout, and even before, my entire gardening career, I have been faithful to a particular set of aesthetics. I recall, back in the 80s, when Harkness bred Euphrates, I was not a rose lover particularly, or even a gardener, but the image of that lovely open form, with a mysterious and enticing splotch of deeper crimson at the centre, clearly struck a chord because I have been chasing this ever since. Tree paeonies, potentilla, hardy geraniums, the entire mallow family and, of course, roses, single simple 5 petalled form, open faced, great stamens. This is the distillation of what really moves me. Of course, I am besotted with many other types of plant, flowers, foliage, seedheads and movement but the single hulthemia or halo rose truly is the epitome of floral fabulousness. Oddly enough, these characteristics are fairly fixed in my head - I am completely resistant to roses with a picotee edge or roses which change colour (sorry, all you Mutabilis fans). I like the centre to be darker rather than lighter, cutting out a whole slew of both species and hybrid roses which have pale centres, even though I grow and like many such roses.Do you have a perfect ideal? Does this carry through to other plants? Has it been consistent for you? Why do we like what we like? How are these parameters set? I suspect my concept of beauty is a throwback to our first attempts at drawing - you know, a lollipop tree and flowers with five round petals and a yellow centre, big cottonwool clouds and a round yellow sun. Those of you who love the fluffy, full-petalled abundance of many old roses, a green button eye...or complicated assymetrical forms of iris and salvias - has it ever been so? Do we have a secret essence of pure flower in our hearts?

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