Although the white garden at Britain’s Sissinghurst Castle may be famous, I have always wanted a blue garden. Although there is a certain romantic appeal to a vista of pale white flowers glowing in the moonlight, white simply does not make a statement to me. I need color in my garden – pinks and purples and blues, perhaps a dash of yellow or red. White is an accent color, seen only in a few daisies which came up from last years toss of a wildflower mix into a back corner. My grandmother had a white snowball bush, and my mother had white spirea bushes along the front of the house – I cared for neither. I did like the white apple blossoms on the crab-apple trees in our old orchard, tinged with a blush of pink and heady with fragrance, but their show was brief, one glorious week in spring. No, it is color I crave and blue is my favorite color. Although my garden is predominantly pink and purple (see last years The Color Purple and the upcoming Rose Cottage), my attempts at introducing blue into my garden have not been very successful. Blue flowers may be a rarity in nature for a reason.
These are delphiniums from a Nova Scotia vacation so long ago that I’ve forgotten the name of the small sleepy town where we stayed, other than there was nothing to do after supper so we toured the local botanical garden. Certainly I was not into gardening back then, but the image of delphiniums against a picket fence was striking enough to warrant a picture, although my memory of the rest of the place is vague – I think there were roses past their prime?
And this is my one solitary blue delphinium, which bloomed one year and was never seen again, nor were it’s pink and purple cousins. The same thing happened with the lupines.
A neighbor of my mother’s had a beautiful display of delphiniums a few years ago, five feet tall and waving look-at-me, but he is a wonderful gardener. I suppose I can’t expect a scene out of Downton Abbey, if I don’t put much effort into it.
Then there was the blue rose, which came up a pale lavender/lilac at best. What a marketing scheme that nursery tag was, a scrawny thing, it bloomed for a few seasons, producing exactly one rose every year. I was so annoyed with it, that this year I tore it out when I was removing the dead Rose of Sharon beside it which hadn’t survived the winter.
Those pretty blue lobelia flowers in garden baskets look nice for a month or two at most, but do not survive the heat and neglect of July/August. I’ve given up on them too.
I love the first sign of Siberian Squill in early spring, especially vibrant with the contrasting yellow of daffodils.
There is a large swath of them growing wild along the river road and another neighbor has a lovely patch in her backyard, but I have never been able to find them in a nursery. Maybe next year I will remember to ask if I can dig some up. It’s another invasive species I wish would invade my back yard.
Blue Hydrangeas are always lovely, but how many bags of aluminum sulfate have I bought trying to get them to go true blue. I’ve had some some success with this bush near the side arbor, but only because the neighbor’s overhanging cedars make the ground naturally acidic. Last year it was covered with blooms, this year there isn’t a single one and yet all the other bushes have plenty. How do they decide which one is going to take a vacation?
Last week I dumped some more AlSo4 on the rest, hoping all the forecast rain would wash it magically into the soil, and had some success. At least they weren’t all lilac.
I had some luck with forget-me-nots this year, which a fellow gardener shared, somehow it hurts less when things don’t survive if they are free. Of the donated bunches I planted last spring, one came up at the front of the house, and two small patches on the side bed. This year I transplanted some more, hoping they will become invasive. They reseed themselves once past blooming.
My Heavenly Blue morning glories are the good old dependables, except one year when they didn’t come up at all. They are hardy souls and thrive on neglect once they get started, growing a foot a day in late summer. I blogged about them here – link – A Glorious September Morning.
This year I planted them in front of two recycled trellises, hoping they will be more contained so I don’t have to spend three hours tearing them off the neighbor’s fences in the fall.
I’m planning on checking out a blue clematis the next time I visit a nursery, but it must be blooming, so there are no surprises like the one I planted last fall which turned out a dark purple not the vibrant Jackmani I was expecting. All future flowers must show their true colors before they are purchased!
A few years ago a local garden tour brochure described one of the entries as the Blue Garden. I was so excited to see it – and so disappointed to find there were no blue flowers at all, except blue planters, painted rocks and bits of blue ceramic garden kitsch. I have a limited tolerance for most garden kitsch, no cutesy signs, rusty iron figures or painted trolls are allowed on my castle grounds. However I would like a cobalt blue garden cat to preside over my garden like Linda discovered at Walking Writing Wit and Whimsy. It would provide the blue color I desire, a dose of whimsy and it wouldn’t need watering. Forget the blue flowers, better to get a cat!
Have I missed any blue flowers? What is your favorite blue flower?