Cosmos bipinnatus flower

Not as Expected: Variations

Sometimes the flowers you plant come up a bit different from the image on the seed packet. That’s the case with this Cosmos ‘Candy Stripe’. Most of the seed companies advertise this plant with images of white flowers with a rich raspberry-coloured stripe all the way round the edge of each petal.

One or two of the companies, though, show you what will actually grow – flowers with a very varied mix of colourations. Some will be almost pure white with just a few traces of pink here and there along the petal edges (as in my photo above). Others may have petals that are partly edged in pink (below). Or the flowers may be mostly blushed with a soft pink but with a darker pink around the outside of the petal.

For me, this is part of the appeal of growing plants like these. Every year I try to grow one or two annuals to give me something new to photograph. So when the result is a little unpredictable, and as beautifully varied as these cosmos flowers, it becomes far more interesting. Having all the different colourations gives me more to photograph and makes it fun to see what new flowers each day brings. I had hoped to photograph one of the flowers with the full markings on the petals, but left it too late. When I went back out to photograph it, the wind had stripped all but two petals off the flower I wanted. (The weather is a bit rough at the moment!)

Happily for me, I can see that there are some darker flowers opening so I’ll soon be able to take some quite different photographs. That’s the joy of growing a flower that is variable and has the capacity to both surprise and delight. (I just hope the wild winds and rain aren’t too unkind to them!)

Cosmos bipinnatus flower

13 thoughts on “Not as Expected: Variations

  1. Sometimes a customer will complain that replaced wood doesn’t exactly match the wood already on their boat. I always tell them, “If you want absolute uniformity, choose plastic.” One of my great pleasures is finding variations in nature, and of course planted flowers are part of nature, too — even if not quite so “wild.” It makes sense that their variations would please you — and us, as well!

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    1. Variations make life interesting! Especially if you come across something unexpected. Foxgloves had seeded themselves in my garden and for years they came up as the normal wild purply-pink. Then last year we had some pale yellow ones, so obviously the bees had crossed them for us. Hope we get some more of those – they were very pretty. (I did sprinkle the seed around.)

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    1. Cosmos seems to last until very late in the year, so hopefully they’ll still have plenty of time to put on a good show. The way that flowers last much later in the year here is something I notice after gardening in Scotland. Winter seemed to come much earlier there!

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  2. WHile most of the flowers I shoot are native wildflowers which are relatively stable in their appearance, every once in awhile I come across something not as expected and it’s a delight. Variety adds excitement.

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