Georgia Gardener Newsletter Design Tip: June 28, 2007

Blue Gardens

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Grace Ward Lithodora has some of the bluest flowers

From a design aspect, blue is considered one of the cool colors and it often conveys a soothing feeling of calm. For gardens, it can make the hottest summer day feel just a bit more tolerable. Perhaps that's why so many people like the ocean or lakes. In nature, true blue flowers are somewhat hard to find. Most "blue" flowers tend to stray towards purple. I have made an effort to select some of the bluest flowers that I know. However, variations in plants and environments may make the colors of your plants a bit different. If you're willing to accept a bit of purple with your blue, then the number of plant possibilities increases greatly.

To accentuate the blue in your garden, you may want to add a splash of plants with white or silver flowers or foliage. Also, don't forget that the complementary color to blue is orange and the complementary color to purple is yellow. A dash of these colors tends to heighten the intensity of both.

Note: Blue is also a difficult color to photgraph accurately. Although some of the pictures below look a bit purple/violet, the flowers are much closer to blue than captured.

Blue Perennials for Sun

Georgia Blue SpeedwellCaesar's Brother Siberian Iris
Black and Blue SalviaBlue Columbine
Balloon FlowerHardy Plumbago
Virginia Spiderwort (for shade, too)False Indigo (Baptisia)

Other blue perennials for sun include: Caryopteris and Asters.

Blue Bulbs for Sun

HyacinthGrape Hyacinth (Muscari)
Camas (Camassia)Cluster Lily (Brodiaea)

Blue Flowers for Shade

Woodland PhloxVirginia Bluebell
English BluebellBlue Lobelia

I've got the Blues for These...

Because blue is my favorite color, I've tried some plants with blue flowers that just didn't make it. Perhaps you will have better luck: Meconopsis Poppy (hates our hot summers and wet winters), Agapanthus Lily (marginal winter hardiness here) and Ceanothus shrub (hates both our wet climate and cold winters). And as for the Grace Ward Lithodora pictured at the top - although it's listed as a low-growing evergreen shrub hardy in our climate, it too hates our wet winters. I've only been able to get one to survive for about two years in a container in morning sun.

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