At the base of my Serpentine Garden is Buddleja davidii. In mid-July, this majestic grower flaunts fat panicles of lavender-blue. The panicles are so utterly fragrant that I can’t help but linger near the shrub just to inhale the strong, honeyed air. And I’m not the only one who swoons over the plant — hummingbirds and all kinds of colorful insects have “Buddja Bash” every day. To insure continuous bloom, I regularly deadhead the spent flowers.
Also in the Serpentine Garden is Platycodon ‘Sentimental Blue.’ Several years ago, I winter-sowed the seeds of this perennial “Balloon Flower.” I can tell you the plant flourishes even in fairly dense shade.
The balloons open into 5-petalled stars of violet-blue. The petals are richly veined in dark purple. The pistol, which is cloaked in creamy white, has a true-blue tip. Now that’s what I call sex-appeal! As with buddleja, be sure to deadhead departed blossoms if you want a summer-long Platycodon display.
No flower offers more tranquility than Centaurea cyanus. I winter-sowed these “Bachelor Buttons” last January, and then planted the young seedlings at the end of a raised bed in my Kitchen Garden. They have been flowering steadily since mid-June. Only during periods of intense heat do they slow down.
I slow down during periods of high heat, too.
If you have ageratum in your garden, consider, in July, layering one of its stems . The stem if kept moist will form roots in about 2 weeks’ time. Cut from the parent plant, and set in a 4-inch pot of good soil, the rooted youngster can be brought indoors before frost. In a cool south or east window, the plant will send up blue-grotto tufts all winter long. I’m speaking from experience here.
‘Rozanne,’ a violet-blue cranesbill-geranium, is a constant delight. Located next the hedge of dwarf lilacs in the Serpentine Garden, and planted in rather poor, dry soil, it somehow manages to increase in size and beauty with every passing summer. Should the flowers cease in mid-summer, I encourage a new crop by simply cutting the plants back to 3 inches of growth.
The dark blue, large-flowered Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ brings architectural interest to my otherwise plain white potting shed. I used 2-inch staples to train the vines up the clapboard wall. There, in the mostly sunless northern location, it blooms to my surprise with utter exuberance. It makes an attractive backdrop, too, for a group of pink ‘Star Gazer’ lilies.
Meanwhile, Clematis ‘Anna Louise’ offers violet-blue exuberance from her trellis in the Rose Garden. While the Japanese beetles are busy making mince meat out of my roses, they have left the clematis alone. I’m seriously considering giving my rose beds over to a clan of clematis.
Don’t breathe a word of this to my roses.
A denim-colored Calibrachoa (whose name escapes me) brings both cool comfort and sweet perfume to an urn in my Kitchen Garden. Calibrachoas, like all container-grown plants, require water at least once each day, and food — without fail! — every day. I feed mine with a high phosphorous blossom-booster.
And finally, who can resist the old-fashioned morning glory? I certainly can’t. Moving with the speed of Jack’s beanstalk, this Ipomoea purpurea is turning the fence in my Herb Garden into a wall of ‘Heavenly Blue.’ Although the flowers close up during the daytime heat of July and August, by late September they remain open all day (they prefer cool weather just as I do). I sometimes float the flowers in a crystal bowl for an indoor table “bouquet.”
Are you a fan of blue flowers, too? You can let me know by leaving a comment.
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