Friday, June 28, 2019

Summertime Blues

The title of this post has nothing to do with my mental state, even through the month of June has been a turbulent to say the least.  The focus of my post is entirely on the blue-flowered plants in my garden.  I'll try growing just about any plant with blue flowers that has the slightest chance of surviving in my climate.  Of those that I've successfully established in my garden, it seems that the largest number of them flower in summer.  Here's the current line-up:

The Agapanthus (aka Lily of the Nile) came with the garden.  I've never had an accurate count of them and over time I've pulled out some clumps, dividing bulbs and replanting some of them, but I'd guess there are at least 40 clumps spread throughout the property.  Those shown in this photo are a portion of what's in the back garden.

These are in the front garden

I don't have any of the midnight blue varieties of Agapanthus, nor any bi-colors.  Mine range from medium blue to light blue to white.

Catananche caerulea (aka Cupid's dart) has self-seeded freely here

Several years ago I fell in love with the rose-like double-petaled form of Eustoma grandiflorum (aka lisianthus).  It's a short-lived perennial in my climate.  Breeders have recently introduced a broad variety in different colors, many of which I've tried.  Still, the blue cultivar is one of my favorites.  It's the first and thus far the only one to bloom to date this season.

Globularia x indubia (aka globe daisy) hails from the Canary Islands.  I originally bought it for its foliage but I love its flowers too.

I planted this lavender my first year in this garden and I don't have any record of its name but I think it's a Lavandula angustifolia.  I put in just one plant here but it cleverly encircled the birdbath, which is filled with glass marbles rather than water.

Lavandula multifida, a hybrid commonly known as fern lavender or California lavender, is difficult to photograph.  I cut this one back just last week but it's already got lots of bloom spikes. 
Limonium perezii (aka sea lavender) has been blooming for months.  It's in the final stages of its annual bloom cycle now but still has a significant presence in my garden even though I've cut much of it back.  This plant is also a native of the Canary Islands.


This is another plant I have difficulty photographing.  It's Plectranthus neochilus (aka lobster flower) and it stinks, literally.  The foliage smells like a skunk's spray and the warmer it is the more it smells.  But, if you can get past that, it's a great plant.  It flowers nearly continuously, makes a good groundcover, and gets by with very little water.

Salvia clevelandii 'Winnifred Gilman' is also aromatic but not in a bad way.  This is smaller version of the native California sage with deeper blue flowers.

I got Wahlenbergia 'Blue Cloud' from Annie's Annuals & Perennials by mail order several years ago.  I've never seen anything else in this genus offered elsewhere.  It spreads freely and rather boisterously but it's easy enough to pull it out when it gets out of hand.  It creates a meadow-like effect, even when growing among succulents.


But wait, there's more!  These are blooming as well, albeit as bit players in the garden:

Ageratum houstonianum (aka flossflower) has a long bloom season if dead-headed periodically

Until last year, I steered clear of Delphiniums and warned my friends to do the same.  I planted a 6-pack of a 'Pacific Giant' variety in my cutting garden last year on a whim and was shocked and delighted that it flowered.  Treated as an annual, it can't handle our summer heat but I appreciate it in the late spring/early summer.  In my cutting garden it's well-watered.  I don't think it could handle the drier conditions elsewhere in my garden.

I planted Nigella papillosa 'Starry Night Mix' (aka love-in-a-mist) from seed this year in my cutting garden and it did well.  This is the last of it.

I planted several Platycodon grandiflorus (aka balloon flower) in a semi-shaded area of the front garden a couple of years ago.  They didn't handle summer well and I thought I'd pulled all of them but this one returned unexpectedly last year and it's done so again this year.  Despite their reputation for requiring "regular water," I may try adding a few more if I find them in my local garden center.

I photographed this Salvia cacaliifolia (aka Guatemalan sage) from an odd angle, making it look like an alien insect.  Its flowers are a gorgeous shade of blue.

I'd all but forgotten about planting bulbs of Triteleia laxa (aka Ithuriel's spear) last year.  They didn't bloom then but I discovered a few blooms 2 weeks ago.  They're shorter than they should be but welcome nonetheless.


May your weekend proceed under a bright blue sky!


All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

25 comments:

  1. Blue is just about my favorite flower color, and I can imagine how valuable it is as a cooling effect in your summers. Can't stop looking at the top picture, where the Agapanthus echo the color and shape of the harbor beyond.

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    1. The summer stampede of Agapanthus is always a summer highlight here, Nell.

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  2. The aroma of Cleveland sage is wonderful, outdoors. A friend who has a greenhouse business regretfully quit growing it because her husband developed an allergic reaction to it in the enclosed space -- and I have to admit, it was pretty overpowering at times.

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    1. I cut several stems of that Salvia for one of my vases last week and was wary about how my husband would respond as he's complained about various scents that don't bother me and even I noticed how strong it was once I had it in the house. But I put that vase on the dining room table and, as we effectively moved out of that half of the house last week (due to our remodel activity), it apparently never bothered him. I was smart enough not to try bringing the vase into our bedroom ;)

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  3. Blue is supposed to be a calming color, and I have to say, I did feel calmed by your photos. You have some really lovely blue flowers. I was just starting to wonder if you had Nigella, when it showed up in your post. I like Cupid's Dart, but it flops in my garden.

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    1. Catananche holds up well against our winds. Maybe it's the rain you get that causes it to flop in your garden?

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  4. You have a varied collection of blue hue. It must be very calming to see these waves of blue through out the garden.

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    1. I weave blue into the garden whenever and wherever I can but the blues are strongest in late spring/early summer. I need to find some plants that provide blue color in the fall.

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  5. Salvia azure is a great sky blue for fall, that also withstands a lot of heat and drought. There's got to be a catch, I hear you say -- well, there is; it's floppy. People keep bringing out selections they claim are shorter and sturdier, but... It can be cut back in early summer like asters and phlox to reduce flopping (and delay bloom).

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    1. Thanks Nell! I see that High Country Gardens has it. They say it's suitable to zones 4-8 but, interestingly, my Sunset Western Garden Book says has it listed for Sunset zones 1-24. My area is now classified as USDA zone 11a and Sunset zone 23/24. The open question is can it take our combination of hot and dry. It's worth a try.

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  7. Plenty of blues and you'll need to be surrounded by your favorite flower color these next few months!

    Salvia chiquita is a popular blue fall bloomer in Texas. It's apparently hard to find in nurseries though.

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    1. I hope it's just a few months, Shirley. Four months was the best case estimate. We're expecting more like 6 months. I'll be on the look-out for Salvia chiquita.

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  8. Lovely post highlighting all your blue flowers, Kris. I find them all quite desirable! You have so many Agapanthus, you could fill vases of them and would hardly make a dent!

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    1. The only bad thing about that plan, Eliza, is that the majority of my Agapanthus flower on the same schedule!

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  9. Oi Kris, maravilha de post.
    Adoro Agapanthus.
    Boa entrada de mês de julho.

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  10. Beautiful blues Kris! A bigger variety I have never seen in one garden.

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    1. Thanks Cindy. I'm always on the look out for blue flowers!

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  11. I love blue flowers and you have some lovely ones. I've added a few more to the garden this year, including couple of varieties of catmint and salvia - so looking forward to them filling in!

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    1. I would so like to grow catmint, Margaret. I've tried and neighborhood cats (some of which I'd never seen before or since) ate them to the ground nearly overnight. It was as if the plants radiated homing beacons.

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  12. It's taken a while but finally I have enough agapanthus to risk trying to divide it. I have it planted next to south facing walls which results in it tolerating my cold and wet conditions.
    Blue is my favourite colour too, especially the Triteleia which I can also grow. Such a stunning blue.

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    1. Kudos on your success with Agapanthus, Jessica. We all try to push the boundaries of our climates, don't we? ;)

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  13. I'm always ready to swoon over your Agapanthus, but it's fun to see your other blue flowers, too. I had no idea that Platycodon had a reputation for needing lots of water. It does well in my dry, sandy soil -- but I guess "dry" is a relative term.

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    1. I think the Platycodon is described as needing "regular water" here, Jean, but, by my standards, that's usually too much. The survival of this one plant may be a fluke based on our heavier-than-usual winter-spring rain but I like it well enough to try pushing my luck by adding a few more, assuming I can find them.

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