Mo’ Better Blue (Flowers)
Recently I wrote about five favorite blue flowers, limiting myself to natives of the American Midwest. The comments that followed revealed that I am far from alone in having a soft spot for blooms of blue. And so I found myself inspired to do another post on the topic, this time not limiting myself to natives.
Wild blue indigo (Baptisia australis). A plant I really should have included in my first post, as it is a native of this region, and certainly a favorite of mine. It has tall stalks of lupine-like flowers in late spring and early summer. Christopher Lloyd thought that the blue-green rounded foliage complemented the flowers very nicely (I’ve started reading his garden books, so expect me to become an insufferable name-dropper). This plant’s only faults are that it is slow to establish and hates to be transplanted. It’s very long-lived, though.
Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Longwood Blue’). I just planted this one last spring and already I love it. Normally a low shrub, north of zone 7 it dies back to the ground over the winter. I am a bit worried about mine given how harsh the weather has been. The late season blooms are beloved by butterflies.
False forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophylla). This plant really needs a consultant to come up with a new common name. A false forget-me-not sounds like it really intends to forget. It’s other common name is Siberian bugloss, which is not an improvement. How about Siberian forget-me-not? That’s a bit better. Anyhow, this is a very easy perennial for moist shade. It has sky blue flowers in spring very much like forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica). I like the texture of the large, heart-shaped leaves, and prefer the straight species to the variegated cultivars.
Grape hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum). A wonderful small bulb that will create big drifts if allowed to. The racemes have clusters of tiny blue bells that really do look like bunches of grapes. Blooms in May in Chicago, and is very undemanding.
Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii ‘Kit Kat’). An easy, drought tolerant perennial that likes hot sun. ‘Kit Kat’ is a shorter perennial that for me blooms from mid-spring to early summer. The flowers are small but profuse, and covered with bees. The fine grey-green foliage has a minty smell. I also have the cultivar ‘Walker’s Low’ which is much taller (the name is misleading) and blooms later in the season.
That last picture reminds me that blue looks more blue if there is something red, orange, or yellow nearby to set it off. Blue alone can be a bit dull, it needs some contrast to set it off.
Do you like to contrast blue flowers with brighter colors?