My Purple Rain Garden: Is the Universe Trying to Tell Me Something?

Pansies so purple they appear black -- are they flourishing in honor of Purple Rain by pop singer Prince? Photo by Barbara Newhall

Pansies so purple they appear black — are they flourishing in honor of Prince’s ‘Purple Rain?’ Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Lots of rain this year. And lots of purple out in our front yard. Purple nemesia. Purple irises. Purple salvia. Pansies so purple they read as black. Why so much purple? What gives?

Purple rain blossoms. These purple irises naturalize easily in the San Francisco Bay Area climate. Photo by Barbara Newhall

This iris had naturalized in our back yard and it’s doing great now in our front yard. Photo by Barbara Newhall

The California drought has let up for the time being here in the San Francisco Bay Area. And in my front yard rock garden, along with the rain, has appeared a mysterious phenomenon:  Purple flowers everywhere. Even the sepals on our otherwise orange abutilons are mauvish right now.

I didn’t plan it, and I don’t think the universe planned it. I’m too rational to attribute mysterious coincidences to karma or to personal messages from the spirit world. But I do feel obliged to report, out of respect for that most famous of Minnesotans, the late singer-songwriter Prince Rogers Nelson, that my garden is torquing raucously toward the purple side of the color wheel at the moment.

All this purple is wasted on me. When the news came last week that Prince had died, I had to wrack my brains to recall the tune of his famous “Purple Rain.” I was the mother of two small, obstreperous kids back in the ’80s; Prince and his music were no more than radio background noise at best — on the rare days that I remembered to turn on

Orage abutilon blossom with deep mauve sepals. In honor of Purple Rain and Prince. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Abutilon with deep mauve sepals against our front fence. Photo by Barbara Newhall

violet pansy blossom with green edges. Purple Rain. Photo by Barbara Newhall

More pansies. Photo by Barbara Newhall

the radio. To hear the CNN and NPR newscasters tell it today, however, Prince’s death has hit the pop music world like a tsunami.

You’d think Elvis had died or something.

More celeb stories at “Actor Robert Morse — Sweaty at 36, Sublime at 83.”  Also, “Heather Donahue — How I Got Hooked on a Pothead.”  Your Prince stories welcome — just click the Comments button at the top of this post.

Purple columbine blossom in a california rock garden in April blooms a week after Prince's death. Purple rain. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Columbine reseeded from last year. Photo by Barbara Newhall

In honor of Prince's Purple rain, our salvia "Mystic Spires Blue" came up looking purple this year. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Our salvia “Mystic Spires Blue” came up on the purple side of blue. Photo by Barbara Newhall



  1. Sharie McNamee says:

    I always look forward to ser what you will comment on each week.

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