Scabiosa atropurpurea flowers (scabious 'Chile Black')

Small but Beautiful

The flowers in the garden are getting fewer as autumn progresses. Finding something to photograph is more difficult now, but there are a few flowers left and some are still looking good.

Amongst these is this very long-flowering Scabious atropurpurea. It’s a lovely little thing, but you do need to look at it closely to see the detail. I’ve also had to use plenty of light because the flowers are very dark. Here it’s a tricky balance between being able to see anything in the centre of the flowers and keeping the colour as true to life as possible.

And talking about the true colour – this is one of the supposedly ‘black’ flowered scabious varieties. (I’m not sure which. I’ve had both ‘Ace of Spades’ and ‘Chile Black’ and they look very similar to me.) As you can see, the flowers really aren’t black at all, but a very deep burgundy red, as are many other flowers that have black in their name. (Like Black Parrot tulips, photographed here: https://annmackay.blog/2020/05/03/tulips-flamboyant-and-fun/ )

I love having the deep, dark purplish-reds of these flowers in the garden. They look dramatic as they sway on their tall, delicate stems and can take the overly sweet edge off a bed that has a lot of softer pinks. Because they also self-seed freely around our garden, they help to give a more cohesive look to the borders.

(A problem of growing flowers to photograph is that it’s easy to end up with lots of ‘one-offs’ that give a very bitty effect. Repetition helps to hold the garden together. It’s good to have plants that are easy to propagate and can be sprinkled through the borders or grown in massed groups. )

Like other scabious flowers, these are great for bees and other pollinators. That gives me another reason for growing them and makes me want try other varieties of scabious too. (I do already have a small blue scabious – no idea of the name – and the related Knautia macedonica which is an absolute magnet for bees and hoverflies.)

It’s great that these flowers are happy to sow themselves everywhere because they are short-lived as perennials. (They’re often treated as annuals.) These have been in flower for a very long time and look set to flower for a few weeks yet. I do dead-head them but always leave the last seed heads, so there are usually lots of new seedlings the next year.

Hopefully I’ll never be without a few of these pretty little flowers around the garden – it will make the bees happy too!

Scabiosa atropurpurea flowers (scabious 'Chile Black')

14 thoughts on “Small but Beautiful

    1. Thanks Jude – I’m glad you like my photos! πŸ™‚ It’s wonderful how the scabious keeps on flowering – they really earn their space in the garden! I’ll definitely be planting more next year…

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      1. I like the tiny glasses – shot glasses work well, old inkwells, nightlight holders and that sort of thing – for when I have small flowers that I want to get very close to. Handy if I’ve only got a few flowers that are in perfect condition too! The blue scabious is really lovely and there’s a similar pale pink one. There’s white and there’s a gorgeous deep pink/wine-coloured on that I really want to photograph. Maybe next year… πŸ™‚

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    1. It would be wonderful if they could last that long – maybe potting a young plant up and bringing it into the conservatory would keep it going a while longer… πŸ™‚

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  1. I’ve never heard of Scabious. When I looked them up, I found that “They are native to temperate Eurasia, the Mediterranean region, and the mountains of eastern Africa. Some are important garden plants.” So, that explains that!

    They certainly are gorgeous little plants, and I especially like the color of this one. I like your green glass vase, too. I’m a sucker for green glass, and have a few antique green glass miniature oil lamps. I’m so eager for real winter to come — I never light them when it’s hot and summer-sunny!

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    1. Thank you – I’m glad you liked these little flowers! πŸ™‚ The green glass is actually a very old bottle that must have come from a chemist or something similar – it has ‘Not to be taken’ embossed into it, so clearly for something toxic! (I love collecting old glass bottles etc for photographing flowers in.)

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