29 November 2007

Rhapsody en bleu....

I promised a few posts back that we'd get to the blue flowers in a little while, and here are a few of my favourite blues. (To cleanse your palate after putting up with magenta, neon-coloured ice plants, and then the great Orange Festival). We grow several different types of sea holly here, with the most reliable and prolific being flat seaholly, Erygium planum. It's much beloved by the bees too, who spend a lot of time bobbing from flower to flower during the weeks the plant is in bloom.

This little annual is Nemophila, or Baby Blueeyes, which grows easily from seed, but which also seems to get chewed up by slugs every year. Nevertheless, I'm partial to its soft blue, very similar to forget-me-nots, so I always have some in spring.

Virginia bluebells naturalize for many gardeners, but I haven't had success in getting them to spread yet. I'm hopeful that they're finally going to take off next year, because they're one of my favourites of the spring. Their salt-loving relative, Mertensia maritima, grows along beaches but apparently will grow in well drained soil above the shoreline too, so I'm going to try moving some of it to the alpine bed next year.

Do you know Starry Eyes? Omphalodes cappadocica is also known as Navelwort, and while this cultivar is probably 'Cherry Ingram', some gardeners refer to all forms as Starry eyes. This is a great shade garden plant, flowering about the same time as forget-me-nots.

One of the easiest of the gentians to grow is Willow Gentian, Gentiana asclepiadea, which also will take some shade. Some forms of this are bluer than others; one in our garden tends more toward purple than blue, but this one is definitely gentian-blue.

Oh, I guess everyone knows what this is! Just remember, I can't grow hollyhocks!

In the spring, much of our property is awash in Myosotis, or forget-me-nots in several different species. While we have some pink and white flowers, it's the china-blue flowers I love the best. I grow them for my Dad and for his sister, and for others stricken with Alzheimers Disease. We will forget-you-not....

Whether you call this by its botanical name (Nigella) or love in a bush, devil in a bush, love in a puff WITH the devil...it's a wonderful hardy annual, selfseeding nicely. It comes in rose and white as well as yellow (in another species, called the Transformer Nigella) but I love the blue most of all.

I raved on about Salvia 'Black and Blue' quite a bit this year, but I've really become a fan of most every salvia, hardy or annual, except maybe the overused red one found in gas station bedding schemes. But this is definitely a star; it doesn't like cold in the spring and it will pout, but once the warmer weather comes, stand back and let it do its thing. It finally succumbed to the chilling cold we've had intermittently over the past couple of weeks.

I know Kate shares a love of pincushion flower, or scabiosa, with me, (and with other gardeners too). Isn't it obvious why? It's a graceful, gentle flower, much loved by butterflies too, and if you deadhead it it keeps on flowering until just a couple of weeks ago.

As much as I love blue, I don't care as much for the mophead hydrangeas as I do for the lacecaps, which I also find to be hardier and more prone to flower properly. I think this is 'Blue Billows' but it might be 'Blue Bird'. I get them mixed up regularly!

Other gardeners have lamented about not being able to grow delphinium. Despite the wind here, they do well for me with a little creative staking, because it's not overwhelmingly hot here. I divide them regularly and so far none of them have dwindled away on me. A favourite is the Chinese Delphinium, which is shorter in stature but covers itself with remarkable, cobalt blue flowers.

I even use a lot of blue planters, and of course you've seen the blue chair, arbour, and other accents around the yard. For those wooden things we use periwinkle-blue paint, because there's not a lot comes in that colour in garden flowers,

...with the exception of chicory, and a few others. Even in the drab fall and winter, the arbour and short fences with their bright blue colour really show up and chase away the dreariness of a cloudy day.

I've left out some other obvious choices; borage, anchusa, pulmonaria, lobelia, false blue indigo, lupins, and probably many others. Do you enjoy a little rhapsody in blue in your garden too?


  1. Such wonderful photos of beautiful flowers. Loved your comments!

    Thanks for the visual treat!

  2. I love blue flowers and have certainly enjoyed looking at all your photos.

  3. What a lovely collection of blue flowers. I wanted to grow a Meconopsis poppy but the exacting growing conditions stopped me from buying some plants. Was it difficult to grow?

  4. Blue is one of those colors that I just can't really get behind in the garden. I don't know why but it just doesn't do it for me.

    Although that first pic is pretty nice-it looks like it is frozen.

  5. love them all!
    I have a 'bunch of leaves' that the lable promised would turn into a blue poppy but it didn't flower this year. hopefully it will do so next year. its in a shrub bed but I though it would be ok withthe shade.

  6. Well, you know how I feel about blue flowers . . . *swoon*
    And you've shown a gorgeous photo of yet another blue flower that eludes me - Nemophila. I've tried twice now to grow it with no luck whatsoever. I've purchased seed from yet another different source to try again next year. I just love the look of it.

  7. Love your blues. I have posted a few too.

    My comment about Loggo and Jenny didn't appear. Did Blogger eat it?

  8. I'm glad I found your webpage again, as there is so much to enjoy here.

    These blue flowers are so dreamy. I'm not sure which one is my favourite.. a toss up between the delphiniums, the forget-me-nots and the scabious, I think...

    Today is my first blogging birthday. Would you like to pop over and see the sweet little creature who came to help me celebrate?

  9. I'll have to look into that Omphalodes, it's quite a charmer. I lost several Gentians (not native 1s), so I think next year is the time to try that Willow Gentian. I don't care if it blooms purple, I love all the Gentians (even the creamy white). If you haven't had the Virginia bluebells that long, it may be that they are still settling in. It was at least 5 years before mine started seeding about. Now they're popping up across the garden from the original clump. As always, I have to vicariously enjoy the blue of the poppy & the Delphiniums. I'd trade them for Hollyhocks any day. Sigh...

  10. Oh! You've stolen my heart with all the blue! I just LOVE blue flowers. And the first photo just made me ache inside, it is so beautiful!!!!! Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

  11. What a wonderful blue post...the blue flowers of course are beautiful too (and I'm also loving them)!! I didn't know that yellow nigellas exist at all.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  12. My favorite color blue. I need to put some of these on my list for next year. They are all so beautiful.

  13. What a gorgeous lot of blue flowers, Jodi! Any chance of getting a full pictures of the whole eryngium plant? I've long wanted some of these, but I can't figure out where to site them.

    I sooo need some nigella this year...

  14. I definitely enjoy blue in the garden - most any blue flower makes me happy. I had luck with Houstonia this year and am curious to see if they come back again. I love Forget-me-nots too.

  15. I enjoy a little Symphony In Blue in my garden. I actually named one of my Russian Blue kittens Symphony In Blue and one of her brothers Rhythm&Blue.

    Love that Baby Blueeyes, such a wonderful blue!

    I know Nigella as Love-in-a-Mist or in Dutch as Juffertje in het groen = little miss in greenery.

    Love Scabioso but so do the slugs unfortunately.

    Lovely blue post Jodi, much easier on my (light sensitive) eyes than the you-know-what. ;-)

  16. Howdy all from a fellow blue-flower fan.

    Strawberry Lane, welcome. Visiting your blog was also a visual treat, and I'll be back.

    Hi Crafty, bet you could do some interesting craft things with dried blue flowers. Some of them hold their colour quite well when dried.

    Ki, I think I'll do a post on growing Meconopsis, rather than answer here.

    MBT, we all have colours that don't do it for us...although don't you have a lot of pink in your garden and aren't a pink fan? :-)

    Claire, be patient with the blue poppy. It's better that it NOT flower the first year you have it, to put its energy into multiplying its crown. Hopefully next year...and shade is good for them.

    Kylee, that's funny about the Nemophila! Try seed from Thompson and Morgan; they always have top quality seed, and it's foil-packaged too so it lasts for several years.

    Lisa, something's up with Blogger, doing something asinine with regards to posting comments, so I'm not sure what happened.

    Wildlife gardener, welcome and happy 'blogging birthday!' Here's to many more posts, though maybe not many more snails...

    MMD, thanks for the advice about the Virginia bluebells. I'll be patient. Gentians can be fussy, but I think they survive here because they're slow to emerge after winter is over, and by the time they get up and going, we're well into spring. Try G. septemfida, which is pretty hardy, but the willow gentian should do it for you too.

    Cindy, blue flowers make me intensely happy too...

    Barbara, I'll look for a photo of yellow nigella; it's Nigella orientalis-or you can do a google Image search for Transformer Nigella.

    Vanilla Lotus, I know, the list of must have plants is ever-growing, isn't it?

    Kim, I'll put up a photo of the entire Eryngium plant shortly (note to self). Ours grows about four feet tall but its a well-established clump (and keeps growing more).

    Kate, I haven't tried transplanting some wild bluets here yet, but next spring, I have the right spot for them so I'm going to try.

    Yolanda Elizabet, I knew you'd love blue...having all those handsome blue cats! What IS it about grey/blue kitties, anyway? We have four, as you know...I've always loved them.

  17. Such, striking and scintillating blues. Makes me feel like lighting a blue candle after viewing these. There is such a serenity in this color.

  18. i read quite a few blogs and have yet to come upon one that gets so many comments. it's no wonder, your pictures are absolutely beautiful! i love the one of the blue flowers with the bee-quite spectacular! and those cat pictures and interview, oh my! being a cat lover i can really appreciate those pictures. you should write a book about cats.

    take care and stay warm.



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