Bluebeard and Red Poppies, Plus Other Plant Combinations from the Chicago Botanic Garden

Looking at photos from a summer outing to the Chicago Botanic Garden, I was particularly struck by three of the plant combinations Judy took pictures of. (UPDATE: As Alison and Alberto point out in comments, the blue flower below is a tall variety of Nepeta, not Bluebeard. Sorry for the error!) First, Bluebeard (Caryopteris) and Poppies (Papaver). (Sorry, I don’t know the exact variety of any of the plants in this post.) I love mixing blue with hot colors like red or yellow.

Caryopteris, Red Poppy
Nepeta with Red Poppy

Second, Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) and Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea).

Russian Sage and Purple Coneflower
Russian Sage and Purple Coneflower

And finally, Allium (looks like ‘Purple Sensation’) and White False Indigo (Baptisia alba L.) What I really like here is the contrast in shape between the Allium lollipops and the softly serrated spikes of the Baptisia.

Allium and White False Indigo
Allium and White False Indigo

Have you been thinking about trying any new plant combinations this year?

41 Comments on “Bluebeard and Red Poppies, Plus Other Plant Combinations from the Chicago Botanic Garden

  1. Gorgeous!!! I like the sage and the purple cone flowers!!! But they are all stunning!!! I feel like I am up for anything this year!!!

  2. Enjoy your posts. I am thinking the blue plant blooming with the poppies is some variety of catmint (nepeta). I volunteer in the garden all summer and I think the caryopteris blooms later in the year(aug) and nepeta starts earlier in the year. We also deadhead nepeta write a bit thru the summer to keep it in bloom continuously (and to cut back on flopping). What do you think?

  3. I have been been thinking alot about mixing blue, yellow and orange. Its been a struggle with the other bossy gardener in the house aka my hubby as keeps sticking rose cuttings in the ground where I had intended to manifest these other grand ideas. So I decided to rip out the sweeping myopia on the hillside the previous homeowner planted (which I absolutely can NOT understand) and experiment to my heart’s content. That last picture is enticing.

      • Ah, that makes sense. Although Myopia would be a funny name for a plant. After all, there’s forget-me-not. Myopia could have the common name see-me-not. Or more accurately, see-me-kind-of-fuzzy. Joking aside, I hope it was nothing serious with you little one.

  4. Nice combos. I have a strip alongside the house facing west. This year i´m thinking about planting pink sedum and white anaphalis together, mixing it with some echinops.

  5. I love watching pics of that garden! I have to agree with Alison about the caryopteris being a nepeta. I love nepeta with its light blue/purplish glow it makes other bold colours stand out.
    I’m not lucky with baptisia, although I only tried b. australis so far.
    Thanks for giving me a glimpse of summer with your post!

    • I agree, it’s Nepeta. Nepeta is a great plant, I have a lot of it in my garden, though shorter varieties than what is shown in the picture.

  6. Lovely photos, I liked the Bluebeard with Red Poppy most, but I have a special thing for poppies 🙂

    This year I intend to plant sunflower seeds in between my roses, making them towering above them by the end of the summer. I have some unusual colours like almost white and dark red sunflowers, and they are not the 5 metres ones, they will be max 2 meters. Hopefully it will look great, if not I won’t repeat it next year!

  7. I have been admiring this Botanic garden from afar and oh my this is just gorgeous. I love the colors and the flowers poking up through the sea of other blooms…each one as beautiful as the other. A must see on my list.

    • CBG really does an amazing job both with plant combinations and with creating breathtaking views almost everywhere you look.

    • As Allison and Alberto point out, it’s Nepeta, not Bluebeard (Caryopteris). The Bluebeard would be blooming later in the season.

  8. Beautiful photos. The coneflowers are great with Russian sage – I’m going to attempt coneflowers and white liatris again this year. Last year my liatris quit on me, but I’m determined to get that White Flower Farm look.

  9. These pinks, red, and moody blue tones work so well together. I love the last shot of the big pom pom alliums!

  10. This year I’m trying orange California poppies with dark purple bachelor buttons… fingers crossed it works!

  11. Fabulous combinations. I like them all! Botanical gardens are a great place to go to get inspiration. The design professionals there know what they are doing. I really enjoyed the Lurie gardens for mass plantings. It has been years since I have visited the Chicago Botanic gardens. Will have to put it on my list for next time I am in Chicago.

  12. All the combos are beautiful, but one cannot go wrong with red poppies. Fields of the are stunning but they really ‘pop’ when combined with any purple flower.

  13. Wow, those planting schemes are gorgeous! I have been thinking about changing my ‘long border’ this year and mixing in some wild flowers. The red poppy looks great with the blue. I also have my fruit bushes in my border, which should add some extra interest. I’m hoping to add some Asters and really make my ‘long border’ a lot better this year. I love the Allium display you’ve posted. They’re one of my favourite bulbs and look great with the ‘White False Indigo’. Very inspirational Jason! You’re giving me lots of ideas : )

    • Sounds like you’ve got some good plans. Asters are wonderful for adding fall color. Goldenrod with asters are a classic combination.

  14. I love all three combinations you featured. If I had the space, one cottage-y combination I saw in Better Homes and Gardens that looked wonderful was dark maroon barberry and miscanthus grass background, gorgeous salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’ in the midground, and a single (they said pink, I’d say red’) dahlia in the foreground. Instead, I will settle on ordering some Drumstick Alliums for our Aussie spring and see how they fare in the sub-tropics.

  15. I rearranged/redesigned several garden beds last fall and am really looking forward to seeing how it all turns out. I added about 50 drumstick alliums, filled a trouble spot with tall lilies, as well as added more monarda, a hardy ruellia, and a ton more ‘Blue Ice’ amsonia. Plus, I redesigned a large chunk of my container gardens, which are full of perennials. I’m excited about several groupings that include purple liatris, ‘Tiki Torch’ coneflowers, and red silene ‘Prairie Fire’, as well as the new butterfly garden I added to the front. I love the last pic of the alliums and baptisia.

  16. Of course this post speaks to me… those colors are all my favorite. If you get a chance check out last month’s issue of Gardens Illustrated – Piet Oudolf has singled out 100 plants he fancies most. Lots of the same colors going on.

  17. Wow! This is giving me inspiration for my newly tackled rooftop garden. I’m planting a combination of plants/flowers and vegetables (mainly container friendly veggies like tomatoes, strawberries, and zucchini). I look forward to keeping up with your blog in the future. Keep up the good work!

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