Garden Frame: Pincushions in Spring

Description:  A bed of pincushion flowers in early spring on a mildly hazy, beautiful April day.

Background:  Pincushion flowers made it into the garden purely on color. They are the exact shade of lavender that I love. The foliage is also interesting because the leaves take on different forms. The first year I planted it, I thought some of the leaves were weeds until I yanked a few. These plants are winter hardy and do NOT like Atlanta sun. They bloom throughout winter, though sparsely, and explode in March and April. Summer is a bad time unless they are watered constantly, but even that doesn’t prevent die-off. I have them planted in full sun, which the tag on the pots suggested. Of course, now I realize that was full sun further north. In their current location, they are in direct sunlight from sun up to sunset. Each year, I have to replace a few because the summer sun kills a few. But such is life— I have nowhere else to move them. Besides, they are a stunning complement to their golden yellow tickseed neighbors.

They are called “Pincushions” because the yellow stamens are said to resemble pins stuck into a pincushion. Seems reasonable.  

Technical: Minolta Alpha 7 (Maxxum 7), Maxxum 100mm f2.8 Macro, Fujicolor Superia X-TRA 400, afternoon sun with a slightly hazy sky. (Commercial lab and scan) 

Comments:  This is one of the few images I’ve captured that looks EXACTLY as I hoped. It is “Spring” in a single frame. Images like this are the reason I wanted a camera—I look at it often. Years from now, when I can no longer putter in my garden, this is one of the images I will look at, remember, and smile. 


  1. Pincushion flowers are beautiful I love the color also. I may try to do a watercolor of lavender Pincushions, your description of the flowers are always on point. Are you going to paint any ? Nice still life would look good in a pot.

    1. My painting skills have a long way to go. So, for now, I’ll only be looking at pincushions.

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