Blue Blooms Smiling At Me

We are now in that transitional stage between the spring and summer flowers. Lots and lots of foliage and buds, and lots of green. Beyond green, it seems that the dominant color right now is blue. This is not due to any planning on my part, it just worked out that way.

Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis).
Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis).

The King of Blue right now in my garden is wild indigo (Baptisia australis). This native member of the pea family is long-lived and gets quite substantial. It’s another plant that seems to be smaller this year than normal, and I’ve only had to do very light staking to keep it from flopping.

Bumblebees at the Baptisia: pollen - yum!
Bumblebees at the Baptisia: pollen – yum!

It’s also a huge favorite of the bumble bees. There are definitely more bees this year than last, and sometimes I think they are all hanging around the wild indigo.

Off to the next flower
Off to the next flower

As always, they are lots of fun to watch. I’m always fascinated by the yellow clumps of pollen in the pollen baskets.

Blue Star.
Blue Star.

The blue star in the back garden is just about done blooming, but the blue star in the front (Amsonia tabernaemontana) is still going. The blue star has also been more compact than usual this year and has not needed any staking.

Geranium 'Johnson's Blue' billowing out onto the sidewalk.
Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’ billowing out onto the sidewalk.

Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’ is floriferous as usual in June. I’ve got it repeated in several spots around the front garden. You can have your fancy ‘Rozanne’, I say, just give me good old ‘Johnson’s Blue’, even if it does get a bit sprawly.

'Johnson's Blue' with columbine
‘Johnson’s Blue’ with columbine

Here’s JB in the front Island Bed with some wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis).

'Johnson's Blue' close up.
‘Johnson’s Blue’ close up.

And here’s a close up of the flowers.

Geranium 'Tschelda'
Geranium ‘Tschelda’

Geranium renardii ‘Tschelda’ is another blue hardy geranium in my front garden. This year it is looking healthy enough (I love the felty foliage), but there is only one cluster of flowers. They’re nice flowers, but even so.

Salvia along sidewalk.
Salvia along sidewalk.

Salvias are also adding a lot of blue to the garden. Along the sidewalk border there are a mix of Salvias – ‘May Night’, ‘Blue Hill’, and ‘East Friesland’. The Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea) is still blooming at the far end, providing a nice contrast.

2014-06-07 10.28.11Salvia


Salvia 'Caradonna'
Salvia ‘Caradonna’

In the parkway bed there are clumps of Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’, which is maybe more purple than blue but still a very good Salvia that stays upright.

Mexican petunia in the driveway border with Tithonia.
Mexican petunia in the driveway border with Tithonia.

Finally, I should mention the Mexican petunia (Ruellia simplex), which I am growing this year in both borders and containers. If Florida and such places this is a terrible invasive, but in Chicago it can only survive as an annual. I like thd blue/purple petunia-like flowers combined with the upright habit (this plant is not actually related to petunias).

Close up of Mexican sunflower.
Close up of Mexican sunflower.

Thanks to all these plants, the front garden is full of blue dots and dashes. (Oh, and I forgot to mention the Nepeta!)

Blue dots and dashes in the front garden.
Blue dots and dashes in the front garden.

Do you have blue flowers blooming in your garden right now?

66 Comments on “Blue Blooms Smiling At Me

  1. You didn’t mention Ohio Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis). I know it only blooms from dawn until noon, but the blossoms are an iridescent sapphire blue unmatched by any other flower.

  2. Beautiful photographs. I adore blue in the garden. Nepeta is my favourite blue at the moment. I am growing Sixhills Giant and thankfully the cats just want to sit next to it not roll around in it and destroy it! Oh, and of course delphiniums, can’t forget those.

    • I grow a lot of nepeta, mainly ‘kit kat’ and ‘Walker’s Low’. We don’t have a cat any more, so that’s not a problem.

  3. Not so much blue in my garden at the moment, there is Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ and I also have nepeta.

  4. I DO have a little bit of blue – spiderwort and one other whose name i always forget. I’m curious. What is that little yellow bloom in the photo of the Salvia ‘Caradonna? It’s ANOTHER one that I have. I can never remember if it’s a “weed’ or not. Sometimes I pull it out; other times I let it show off 🙂 Right now I have a few myself growing into a Bleeding Heart…

    • That yellow bloom is celandine poppy, Stylophorum diphyllum. I mostly let it spread in my garden and you can buy it from nurseries. Some people do think of it as a weed, though.

  5. I have lots of blue plants. Last year I sowed and planted the baptisia. The plants went black and I thought they had died. But they came back this spring, and look nice and hopefully they will flower. Lots of different salvias are blooming along with Geranium Johnsons Blue and I also have a Renardii which bloomed for the first time this year. I don´t think it will ever be a large plant. My nepeta Walkers Low is a favourite with the bees, and although it flops all over the place I still love it.

    • Baptisia is a tough plant though slow to establish. My renardii looks vigorous and has great foliage. It bloomed well last year so I am puzzled about the lack of flowers this year.

  6. Ruellia simplex in my garden is a single root-hardy perennial plant that rarely blooms and never gets bigger. I am still waiting for reseeding and invasiveness.

    We have moved into Hydrangea mode and blue is everywhere.

    • No blue hydrangeas here – too much lime in the soil. I guess I should be really happy that this Ruellia blooms nicely and obligingly dies in winter.

  7. Thanks for alerting us to all the beautiful blue flowers. But as George Carlin asked, Where are all the blue foods? Do you know?

  8. Me encantan las fotografías son geniales. Ha estado un regalo el visitar tu bloc, te invito a visitar el mío y espero que disfrutes del post de esta semana, la decoración hindú de jardines y si no eres seguidora me encantaría que lo fueras, te espero en mi bloc

  9. Like you I have lots of buds, full of lots of promise, and lots of foliage. Our summer has been wet and warm so far, so growth has been incredible! I have some blue – Nepeta ‘Sixhills Giant’, Salvia and Tradescantia, but pink predominates due to the peonies and roses.

  10. For my garden here in the Charlotte area, the answer depends a bit on how much lavender you allow in your definition of blue. Taking the liberty that is mine to exercise in calling out the visible blue now: an unknown Hydrandgea macrophylla, hydrangea ‘Twist and Shout,’ Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue,’ and ‘General Sikorski’ clematis. My two vitex trees are just beginning to open and should be blue, blue, blue in a week.

    • Oh, yes, scabiosa is a lovely blue. As to definition, I take a very tolerant view that includes shadings to lilac, lavender, and purple. If you are blue-ish, in my view, that is close enough.

  11. Yes, I love blue flowers, huge patches of Johnsons blue in shade and sun, in borders intermingled and on their own. They do not repeat flower for me though when I cut them back, so I enjoy this time. The Iris are all nearly over now, except a few pale blue Jane Phillips, lots of Salvias, and a swathe of Phacelia tanacetifolia. I very much like the wild Indigo, the flower and leaf are a wonderful colour combination.

    • The wild indigo may grow well for you, plus there are many cultivars now. Just be aware that it gets pretty big and, once established, cannot be moved.

  12. Stunning shots of the front garden Jason! I love all of the blue! So much beauty happening by you! Here is to a great week! Nicole

  13. You are lucky to see so many bees. I have definitely noticed a decline here. I see some but not nearly as many as normal.

  14. I’m very envious of your lovely Baptisa. I planted one 3 springs ago and it produced one flower last year… none this year so far, although it looks happy enough otherwise! I’ve had loads of Veronica flowering and now the lavender, some Nepeta too and a hardy borage. Oh and Geranium “Rozanne”! 😉 (Don’t know Johnson’s Blue but will have to look out for it).

    • I wonder why it isn’t growing for you? Do you have very acid soil? Did you place it in sun? After three years they would normally be pretty big. Sorry to hear it hasn’t thrived in your garden. It is native to this area so it does grow well here.

      • Chalky soil… maybe too much sun? Or perhaps it’s just too dry? I’ve been told it takes a while to get established so I’ll wait and see what it does next year. The foliage is nice anyway!

  15. The Baptisia is blooming at the UW-Arboretum now, too. What a beautiful plant! Geraniums and Salvias are in their full glory here, too. And the pollinators are very happy!

  16. First, love the Baptisia! I forgot I used to have some, and have been admiring it lately. I may need to try it again (that goes to our conversation on what to do when a plant species doesn’t survive in your garden). Second, your Johnson’s Blue are so big. Mine seem to be the same size they were when I planted them ages ago. Lastly, love the overview shot of the front garden. I’m enjoying seeing the “big pictures”.

    • When a plant dies on me I usually want to try something else (there are so many plants to try, after all), unless I have a different sort of site to put it in that might suit it better.

  17. I love blue too and wild indigo is one of my favorite flowers. (And it does grow wild in SC.) Do you have salvia Mystic Spires? It’s especially great for its long season of bloom.

    • They do sell Mystic Spires at some of the nurseries around here. I did buy one and also some Black and Blue to grow with the perennials in the driveway border.

  18. Love blue color in a garden as well, Jason. Geraniums always look nice and the photos with bumblebees are cute.

  19. I just feel there can never be too much blue in a garden. Everything looks wonderful. Enjoy

  20. I do love blue flowers and you have some delightful ones here. My garden is very pink and purple at the moment but I do have some star of Bethlehem blooming, a lovely

  21. I love blue flowers too. At this time of the year, geraniums, campanulas and salvias. For a true blue you can’ t beat delphiniums and blue flax: Linum perenne. I grow Baptisia but it doesn’t do too well. It is perhaps a plant that does better over there than it does here.

  22. Blue and bees here too. Once the native bees arrived the activity picked up. I see you have catmint.That was the plant next to the Evening Primrose you asked about. I did not show my Amsonia, but I do have it in four places. It was smaller and tighter too for some reason. Late also but mine still is blooming strong. Your garden looks great.

  23. Your Baptisia and Geranium are so far ahead of mine here on the shores of Lake Michigan. I wait patiently for my spring blooms. Thanks for the photos. Jack

    • We always used to love taking vacations in western Michigan, all the way from Warren Dunes to Beaver Island. How far north are you?

  24. Hi Jason, I’m trying to think if we have any blue and the only thing that comes to mind if blue lobelia. Give the stage I’m at in the new garden I guess it’s understandable. In the old garden, there should be the blue of delphiniums and salvias, if that counts.

  25. Blues dominate in my garden at this time of year, too. My blue geranium and baptisia haven’t begun to bloom yet, but I have amsonia, blue siberian irises, and blue tradescantia.

  26. Pingback: The Scarlet Flower – gardeninacity

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