Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Pacific Northwest
September, 2011
Regional Report

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Blue poppy anemone begins flowering in August and continues producing new flowers until the first frost. I think they're fantastic!

Shades of Blue

I'll admit I'm spoiled when it comes to having lots of space to grow the plants that really appeal to me. I love the color blue and I've devoted one whole bed to blue flowering annuals and perennials. Over the years I've collected quite a variety of plants in all shades of blue, from the palest sky blue to the deepest, darkest, purple-blue. Some have become my favorites, mostly due to their penchant for producing lots of flowers. Others have gone by the wayside because they fail to perform, regardless of my tender loving care.

Blue is the color of fresh water and clear skies. To me, the color blue creates a feeling of spaciousness and I find it soothing just to be in the garden. I don't think it matters whether your garden is large or small, formal or an eclectic mix like mine. Eye-catching shades of blue are always in style and in my mind, there's no such thing as too much blue!

Notable Blues
If you need a few ideas for your own garden, my collection of distinguished blue-flowering plants includes Caryopteris incana 'Blue Myth'; Iris x germanica 'Clarence'; 'Blue Chiffon' rose-of-Sharon; 'Deep Blue' bellflower; 'Astra Double Blue' balloon flower ; 'Blue Denim' spiderwort; 'Brookside' hardy geranium; wild indigo (Baptisia); blue star (Amsonia); forget-me-not (Myosotis); and blue star creeper (Pratia). I also like 'Blue Globe' globe thistle (Echinops) with its steel-blue flower heads; mountain bluet (Centaurea montana) with its large, fringed flowers of intense blue; and 'True Blue' gentian with its rich, mid-blue blooms.

Towers of Beauty
In the bluest of blue flower category, delphiniums top my list. They are adaptable perennials, growing and multiplying with relative ease in my garden.

Delphiniums can grow from Alaska to the desert Southwest if you meet their basic needs. They require 4 to 6 hours of direct sun to produce the strongest stems and largest flower spikes. For the best performance, I provide rich, well-draining soil, protection from midday sunshine, and shelter from drying winds. Traditionally early-summer bloomers, delphiniums will rebloom later in the season if the main flowering stalk is removed after the flowers have faded.

Just for fun, I've tucked a few blueberry plants into my sunniest garden beds. You can't go wrong with blueberries. Besides producing scrumptious fruit, the plants have a neat, compact growth habit and provide excellent fall color. I know it's almost cheating to include them, but the white, urn-shaped flowers are fleeting -- the bold blue fruit remains for weeks.

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