Heavenly Blue Come Down Into The Garden

I was traveling the Highway in an area of the Western United States and looking down below me at a home in the desert (to my Ohioan eyes) on to a patch of shimmering blue shining from a circle in the yard. This oasis of blue sky hue was not the result of a reflecting pool of water, but of what I am convinced was a stand of blue flax. I have grown just such a patch of blue in my own very green June garden. Perhaps my yard did not yield quite so startling an effect as the bare beige, gray, and pale browns of land of that sunny day, as my car whizzed by to the next destination. It reminds me of how gardeners love certain color -and blue is a certain favorite.

There is something about this shade of blue, a clear azure, which fascinates our eye when we see it in flowers. It is certainly not a common bloom color. The gardening world has an imagination stretching way of describing colors, especially the elusive blues. Most of those are more of a violet to violet-blue.

The idea came to me that a short list of such blues might be useful to somebody. There are many Spring flowering plants with sky blue, so I have mostly included plants that flower sometime from June through August.

large group of blue flowers within a garden

large group of blue flowers within a garden

More Color Ideas:

The reason to identify that fleeting scene from my car as a stand of Linum perenne, is due to its singular clear azure blue color, its ability to grow in dry conditions, and something about the impression it’s from made on my eye. The way it riveted my attention, and the picture that remains in my mind has inspired this post.

A Selection Of Blues To Jazz Up Your Garden

Blue Flax

Linum perenne, more commonly called “Blue Flax” is the old European plant once used to make linen fabric and rope. It is a short lived perennial which is hardy in zones 5-8. It is truly short lived and I often had to replace it about every three years. It likes a lighter soil than the clay or (here, clay-loam), in which I grew it.

The flax plants add airy movement to the garden, both the way their delicate forms respond to breezes, and their ephemeral bloom which lasts a day.

There are other forms, L. usitatissimum is annual and the plant now grown for fabric, etc. and L. narbonense which is a perennial form that grows larger and has selected cultivars. Try ‘Heavenly Blue’. The native L. lewisii is available from Botanical Interests, click here

All blue flax varieties look best grown as a group in a small stand. They mix quite well with other perennials for lovely garden pictures.

Blue Flax

Blue Hydrangeas

Now there are varieties for the North, and ‘Endless Summer’ is probably one of the more popular varieties that have arrived on the garden scene. If you love the blue hue they can attain, you can utilize the fact that the hydrangeas are sensitive to soil pH changes. The addition of a acidifying fertilizer or soil amendment will give the flowers their arresting blue color; alkaline soils give an off-blue or pink color.

An unusual garden addition in Central Ohio, this is a a very popular and widely grown, blue blooming, shrub in the South. I tried to coddle variegated leaf varieties, but didn’t give them the moisture they so love, and lost them. Hydrangea means water lover, and your shrubs will really not do well where they are stressed by drought. But they do have a glorious celestial blue color when given conditions they like.


Hydrangea – Nikko Blue

This one my grandfather grew!

Lobelias

Lobelia erinus are the trailing annuals with a myriad of flowers all through the season. while they come in a number of colors (white, pink, shades of blue) in numerous named varieties, look for those with sky blue coloring. ‘Laguna Sky Blue’ is one.

Lobelias are low growing and used in bedding and containers. They like either sun or part-shade, and prefer average moisture in well draining soil. Once started they are very easy to grow. Reliable all summer clear blue color.

blue lobelia

lobelia erinus

Other Annuals With Blue Cultivars

  • Nigella, Love-In-A-Mist
  • Centaurea cyanus, Bachelor Buttons
  • Blue Salvias, Salvia patens

Heavenly Blue Morning Glories

What is a summer scene without these beautiful blue trumpets announcing the morning? I am thrilled when they climb the trellis to open their perfect blooms each morning. I try to always plant them, and the earlier in the spring, the better, since it takes awhile for them to reach bloom stage.
The selection ‘Heavenly Blue’, Ipomea tricolor gives the best results.

morning glory

Morning glories on my trellis

Agapanthus praecox orientalis

This is a plant I don’t grow, but it figures largely in warmer climate gardens. It has an enviable blue color and I’ve seen it added to swimming pool environs.
Summer Skies Agapanthus Plant – Long Summer Blooms – 2×3″ Pot
Morning Glory Heavenly Blue 3000 Seeds Organic Untreated By “Mary Jane”

Forget-Me Nots

Who could forget the forget-me-nots? Their dainty flowers are endearing with porcelain sky blue flowers dotted with golden eyes. Easy to grow from seed, not all “forget-me-nots” are the same botanical plant. The old fashioned ones are Myosotis sylvatica, naturally a woodland plant. An easier plant to grow in heat is the Cynoglossom amabile, or Chinese forget-me-not. You can buy a combination of seeds from Botanical Interest


Photo credit: gracey

Leadwort

Blue Plumbago is one of my favorite plants. I am referring to the perennial groundcover plant, although I like the one grown as an annual, too.

Blue Plumbago gives its blue in the late summer, a time when we get hungry for such cool colors after the hot oranges, reds, and yellows that are common for the dog days of August. The annual type that goes into containers is more of an azure color, but it is tender for Central Ohio gardens. The Leadwort with the lumbering Latin name of Ceratostigma plumbaginoides is a delightful plant that returns again and again and blooms for a very long time in the growing season. In my yard it keeps in reasonable bounds, and I have never found it to be overbearing.

plumbago

plumbago

blue hydrangea
Hydrangea – Big Daddy
This list is most helpful for those who wish to add more blue to their borders or for garden plans of one color.