Blue is my favorite flower color, so it seemed like a stroke of genius when I ripped out a hodge-podge border garden and replanted it as an all-blue garden.
In less than one year’s time, I turned the space from cluttered mess to disjointed mess.
That’s right. It stunk.
Part of the problem was blue overload… too much of a good thing, like eating Peppermint Patties until your stomach turns.
But a bigger problem is that blue flowers usually aren’t really blue… or as University of Kentucky horticulture professor Robert Geneve puts it in “A Book of Blue Flowers”, “Blue can be in the eye of the beholder.”
Most plants that supposedly are blue are actually blue wannabes.
They’re purple or lavender or violet or some kind blue/green, blue/purple or blue/whatever. When you mix a bunch of these together, you get a motley collection of cousins that really don’t get along all that well.
With colors, you either have to stay close enough that two colors complement one another, or you go the other direction and pick a color that’s a direct opposite. It’s when you get stuck somewhere close but not close enough that things fall apart.
That’s why my revamped garden gave me a case of the blues.
Some of my “blue” flowers were on the red side of blue and would’ve paired better with bright-red, yellow or gold flowers. Others were a soft, powdery blue or a light lavender that would’ve paired better with something white or pink.
- Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Forever and Ever Blue Heaven.’
- Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis) ‘Dark Knight,’ ‘First Choice, ‘Petit Bleu’ or ‘Grand Bleu.’
- Catmint ‘Walker’s Low,’ ‘Kit Cat’ or ‘Blue Ice’ (Nepeta).
- Siberian squill (Scilla siberica). Short, April-blooming bulb with hanging, bell-shaped, cobalt-blue flowers.
- Veronica ‘Goodness Grows’ or ‘Royal Candles.’
- Creeping veronica ‘Georgia Blue’ or ‘Waterperry Blue.’
- Leadwort (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides or “plumbago”).
- Larkspur (Delphinium grandiflorum).
- Salvia ‘Black and Blue’ (Salvia guaranitica).
- Balloon flowers (Platycodon).
- Siberian bugloss ‘Jack Frost’ (Brunnera macrophylla).
- Carpathian harebell ‘Blue Clips’ or ‘Blue Waterfall.’ (Campanula carpatica).
- Dutch hyacinth (Hyacinthus).
- Bluestar ‘Blue Ice’ (Amsonia cultivar).
- Threadleaf bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii).
- Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginiana).
- Lungwort (Pulmonaria).
- Anise hyssop ‘Blue Fortune’ (Agastache foeniculum).
- And for good measure, here are 15 plants with blue, gray or silvery leaves that pair well with blue-flowered plants:
- Switchgrass ‘Dallas Blues’ or ‘Heavy Metal’
- Blue-leaved hosta
- Blue fescue ‘Elijah Blue’
- Concolor and Korean firs