BLUE FLOWERS IN THE GARDEN


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Nature

June 6, 2022 by Sue Ercolini - Views: 32

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BLUE FLOWERS IN THE GARDEN

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Blue Daze
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Campanula Bellflower

It was just this weekend we celebrated Memorial Day honoring our military personnel who died while serving our country.  And with the Fourth of July quickly approaching, I think about how many gardeners will celebrate the Stars and Stripes with a flower garden bursting with patriotic pride of red, white, and blue flowers.  But have you ever noticed that gardens always have plenty of white and red but so few blue flowers?  Yet blue is a very prominent color on earth…it’s the color of the sky and the ocean.  But when it comes to nature, blue is very rare with less than 1 in 10 plants having blue flowers.  Part of the reason is that there isn’t really a true-blue color or pigment in nature and that plants have to perform tricks of the light to appear blue or add chemicals to alter the pH such as with hydrangeas.  

But apparently, blue must be dazzling!  At least, research shows that blue appeals to both men and women equally throughout the world.  That popularity carries over into the world of flowers where bees actually see color in the blue spectrum better than other hues.  When light hits the flower, it catches the eye of pollinators in a way that other colors do not.  These blossoms tend to produce higher volumes of nectar making it more attractive and increasing the plant’s likelihood of pollination.   So, planting a garden with some blue flowers helps support these pollinators and benefits all of us. 

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Blue Hydrangea
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Rooguchi Clematis

For many centuries the color blue has long been associated with feelings of peace, serenity, and calm.  Across cultures and time, blue blossoms have been featured in mythology, literature, and art, often standing for desire and love…symbolizing hope and the beauty of all things.  In the story ‘The Land of the Blue Flower’ written by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924) whom you may know as the author of ‘The Secret Garden’, a young, but wise King Amor discovers that a rare, delicate blue flower can transform his querulous, selfish people into happy, compassionate citizens.  And even though this story may be fiction, the author understood the power of the blue flower.  The same thing holds true in our gardens…blue flowers are an emblem of peace and calm and can bring serenity to our landscape.

Blue is probably considered the most popular of all flower colors, maybe because of its rareness or the fact that it can add a feeling of elegance to our gardens.  It also helps balance out other colors in our garden scheme.  Try planting Black Scallop Ajuga with its deep blue flowers combined with Peedee Gold Ingot Liriope…not only do the blue flowers pop in the spring, good for early pollinators, but so do the dark color leaves during the summer.

One of the prettiest blue annuals that I grow every year in pots is Evolvulus…Blue Daze.  It has a true-blue flower about the size of a penny and is considered a ground cover.  It does well in full sun but may need daily watering in a pot.  Blue Daze would be good for that red, white, and blue theme…just add a Red Geranium, White Frost Euphorbia, and a small American flag…God Bless America!

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 Sky Blue Lobelia

A popular but rather dainty in nature flower is the dark or sky-blue lobelia ground cover often planted with other annuals for spring arrangements.  It prefers sun to partial shade but may have difficulty maintaining flowers in our summer where high humidity and warm nights become a huge factor.  More afternoon shade seems to help with late flowering until it finally succumbs to the heat.

There is also the blue-flowered perennial that I have had much success, the Canterbury Bells, Campanula medium.  Its blooms are white, pink, violet or blue and likes full sun, well-drained soil that is kept evenly moist.  The flower stalks are 2 to 3 feet tall and reminds me of Foxgloves but much easier to grow in our climate.  

There are many great blue flowering annuals like ageratum, annual salvia, verbena, angelonia, scaevola and torenia.  And even more perennials that produce blue or purple flowers like aster, agapanthus, clematis, perennial salvia (Black and Blue), balloon flower, catmint, delphinium, hardy geranium, scabiosa and the list goes on! So many of these flowers can be used in both containers or landscapes.

There is no better way to make a garden pop than by introducing a bold splash of blue.  Whether your color scheme is pinks and reds, yellows and oranges, or a mix like mine, the addition of blue wakes up a garden!■

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