Thursday, June 21, 2012

Blue (?) Flowers for Vermont Gardens

Many flowers are called “blue” when in fact they are usually more purple than blue.  In nature you rarely find a true blue flower, and breeders find it difficult to come up with this color for the buying public.  But ... when naming a new plant, putting the word “blue” in the title will certainly help sell the product.

There are several perennial blue salvias.

'Rhapsody in Blue' Salvia

'Blue Hill' Salvia

And my customers love the “Black and Blue salvia, which is an invasive perennial in places like Texas, but in Vermont it is strictly an annual.

'Black and Blue' Salvia

The  blue tradescantia does not spread and take over like other spiderworts.

'Zwanenburg Blue' Tradescantia

'Blue Ice' Amsonia is taller than the species ( amsonia tabernaemontana) and much showier, but I like both of these plants.

'Blue Ice' Amsonia

‘Summer Skies’ siberian iris is a nice light blue.

'Summer Skies' Siberian Iris

The popular ‘Blue Wave’ petunia is definitely purple from my perspective.

But, when combined with other colors, you can get away with calling it 'blue.'

I plant various “blue” flowers as “cuts” because the darker color compliments just about every other color in a bouquet.  Among my favorites are 'Victoria' blue salvia and and any of the tall cutting ageratums.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

June Blooms in Vermont

Mama Mia - We have had three weekends in a row with great weather and the greenhouses have been emptying out at quite a pace. The geraniums I started from seed are all looking nice. 'Pinto Salmon Splash' (looks pink from a distance) is a new variety for this year.


Outside the earlier lilacs got zapped by a hard cold snap, but the later varieties, like 'Miss Canada' are just starting to open and they all look fabulous.


Peonies are budding up and the ants are happy. They are attracted to a small amount of nectar and they do no harm to the flowers or plants and will disappear once the buds open up.

A Peony bud - 'CORAL CHARM'

The fern-leaved peonies have bloomed and done their thing, but here's a pretty tree peony in one of my gardens. These plants have woody stems and should never be cut down. Here in northern Vermont they overwinter, but are not particularly vigorous.


Amsonia tabernaemontana is blooming now and is one of those trouble-free perennials with no insect of disease problems whatsoever. The flowers are pleasant, but it is the habit of the plant itself which makes it desirable. It is full and upright and needs no support. Throughout the summer I cut the foliage for filler for bouquets.

AMSONIA tabernaemontana

Now that things are finally slowing down I hope to be able to post in my blog more often. And maybe I can figure out why this type suddenly turned blue!