Did you know that blue flowers can effect our emotional well-being? It’s true. According to color-therapists, when we view such hues of sea and sky our bodies release certain calming chemicals. Here at A Garden for the House, blue flowers rule:
Bachelor Button. Eight weeks after planting, the Bachelor Button, or Centaurea cyanis, produces dozens of deep-blue blossoms on willowy, gray-green stems. The flowers are ideal for cutting. Full sun, average-to-dry soil and regular deadheading are the three requirements that guarantee a parade of blue from late June through frost. Bees and butterflies love Bachelor Buttons, too.
Delphinium. You can count on the blue spires of delphinium to bring sheer elegance to even the simplest of gardens. They are particularly effective in front of yellow ‘Graham Thomas’ roses, or in a border, placed behind pink asiatic lilies. A formal bouquet of fragrant pink ‘Star Gazer’ lilies, white astilbe and blue dephinium is nothing short of divine. ‘Blue Mirror’ delphiniums grow in the back of my cutting garden, in a raised-bed that receives afternoon shade. The plants do not last long in my hot and humid northeastern garden, but I don’t mind. I treat them as annuals, and buy new ones every year. Moist, well-draining soil is vital to success, and the plants must be staked early on.
Potatoes. Even my kitchen garden features blue flowers when the potatoes are in bloom. The pale burdens pictured above are from a crop of Yukon Golds. I wonder if Constance Spry, the great, early 20th-century flower-arranger, ever used potato blossoms in her opulent displays? (If you can answer this question, I’d love to hear from you.)
Cranesbill Geranium. A more traditional plant with violet-blue flowers is the lovely cranesbill geranium, ‘Roseanne.’ Years ago, this geranium hybrid made a stunning groundcover for one of my rose-beds. Now, it sprawls merrily beside the dwarf lilacs in the Serpentine Garden. The plant is perennial at least to zone 5. Cranesbill flourishes in any well-drained soil. Cut old flowering stems back to the ground for continued bloom from June through frost.
Blue Pimpernel. Anagallis monelli “Blue Light’ is currently under experiment here; I have it in a sunny corner of the Serpentine Garden. Its flowers are tiny, but of the truest blue. In warmer climates (zones 7-10), pimpernel is commonly used as a perennial groundcover. Here in zone 5 it can only be a temporary friend, outdoors at least. I have every intention of trying this pint-sized in the winter window garden, for I think it will harmonize nicely with purple, pink and blue African violets.
Platycodon . This, the “Balloon Flower,” dazzles in both bud and bloom. In bud, it resembles an inflated pillow. When the pillow bursts, a five-petalled star in the most ravishing shade of heaven is revealed. ‘Sentimental Blue’ grows no taller than 8 inches, and is perfect for massing in a cottage garden, or as I have it, atop a stone wall, between flowering quinces. This is a must-have plant for all lovers of blue things. Platycodon prefers moist, well-drained soil and full sun. It reseeds itself freely in zones 3-8.
What are the blues that bring peaceful tranquility to your own beds and borders? Hostas? Forget-Me-Nots? Something else? Drop me a line in the comments section below.
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