Blue June

By the first week of June our garden has taken on a more tranquil character. The orange, red, and yellow exuberance of the tulips, narcissi, and poppies has spent itself. Now the garden is full of the bulky greens of summer-blooming plants not yet ready to put on their show.

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Blue flowers, tranquil and comforting, seem to predominate right now. Notable among these are the Wild Blue Indigo (Baptisia australis).

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You can see from both the leaves and flowers that this is a member of the Pea Family (Fabaceae). (A friend of mine suggested that in a just world Fabaceae should mean the Fabulous or Fabio Family.) Our Baptisia seems to be shorter than usual this year – I wonder if that is a result of the cold spring weather.

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Last fall I planted two ‘Betty Corning’ Clematis, to provide some color balance while scrambling through the Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) with its intense orange flowers.One of the very first ‘Betty Corning’ flowers is above. They are supposed to bloom through September, so I am looking forward to many more.

A complication with my plan is that ‘Betty Corning’ is already about four feet tall, while the Tithonia and other tall plants that are supposed to provide ‘Betty’ with support won’t catch up for at least another couple of weeks. In the meantime, ‘Betty’ is filling in around tomato cages.

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Speaking of scrambling, I think ‘Rozanne’ would be justified in selling itself as a climbing Geranium. It clambers up and through other plants with apparent ease, then surprises us with these sweet five-petaled flowers in unexpected places.

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Here’s a better picture of ‘Rozanne’s’ flowers. The earlier one has too much light (I took the pictures for this post instead of Judy).

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Here’s our other blue-flowered hardy Geranium, ‘Johnson’s Blue’. Very floriferous, though a much shorter bloom season than ‘Rozanne’.

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This year there are a couple of ‘Six Hills Giant’ Nepeta in the Driveway Border.

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I’m very happy with this plant, which grows over 3′ high. It makes a cloud of tiny blue-violet flowers.

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There are also several Salvias – ‘May Night’, ‘Blue Hill’, and ‘Caradonna’ above. More purple than blue, but close enough.

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Moving on to the Sidewalk Border, we find the Bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana) in flower.

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Like the Baptisia, it seems shorter than usual this year. I’m still happy to see it make its appearance.

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While the Amsonia in the Sidewalk Border is the straight species, in the back we have the hybrid Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’, pictured above in front of our patch of ‘Purple Sensation’ Allium. ‘Blue Ice’ is far more compact than the species. I should confess that this picture was taken on May 29th – by now the purple and blue is pretty much all green.

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Also in the back garden, Clematis ‘Ice Blue’ is not to be confused with ‘Blue Ice’. ‘Ice Blue’ is growing up the arbor opposite the rose ‘Darlow’s Enigma’. In my experience so far, ‘Ice Blue’ flowers with restraint. However, the blooms it does produce are huge (at least 6″) and a wonderful pale blue. ‘Ice Blue’ grows to only about 6′ tall.

Not all the flowers in our garden right now are blue, and we’ll take a look at the other colors (mostly white or close to it) in the next post.

Are any blue flowers growing in your garden right now?

63 Comments on “Blue June

  1. The Clematis is lovely! It is nice to see your blue flowers. I have a blue-mauve Clematis flowering now, and lots of Veronica and a few Nigella flowers. I think one of my blue-mauve Geraniums is the same as your ‘Rozanne’, but since most of the plants I can buy here are not labelled properly I can only guess! The lavenders will be out soon too. 🙂

    • Sadly, I have no lavender. It is not well adapted to this area, though some do grow it. I would love to grow Nigella, perhaps some day.

  2. Your garden has changed character completely, Jason; that’s one of the great pleasures of the garden isn’t it, it can change mood totally in the blink of an eye.

  3. Spiderwort, Kate and a couple of others I can’t think of their names. I also have a blue clematis I forget it’s name. I am terribly forgetful of names.

  4. Beautiful garden views, Jason – I love the blue against green of the Baptisia, wish it was happy enough here to stick around. In addition to the wild tradescantia, the cultivar ‘Sweet Kate’ is in full swing in my garden. Geraniums ‘Nimbus’ (lovely dissected foliage) and ‘Mrs. Kendall Clarke’ (almost denim blue flowers) are making a show too; I love geraniums and the way they fill in around everything else. Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ was covered with bees this morning – it should bloom all summer long. I love this time of year!

  5. Gorgeous! Blue is my favorite color, so I am entranced by your garden right now. We do share a lot of the same plants, though my baptisia was the victim of voles or some kind of critter this year. They didn’t get the whole plant, so I’m hoping for a better show next year. Isn’t Nepeta a great plant? It’s one of the few “blue” plants that bloom all season.

    • I hope your Baptisia makes a comeback! I’m betting it will, it’s pretty tough. Nepeta really makes up part of the foundation of the garden here.

  6. Blue is my favorite color, too. True blue, calming blue. Love all the blue in your garden but especially the wild blue indigo. No blue in my gardens yet, but then my gardens are heavy with yellow and red.

  7. I love this phase Jason and all of the plants you have chosen and nurtured, as much as I love the earlier hotter colours you chose too, I agree with Christina, what a difference and how lovely too.

  8. I also have the species Baptisia flowering right now, as well as a tall blue Campanula flowering for the first time amidst my sea of orange Calif. poppies. That is a stunning combo.

    • It must be! I have not been very successful with either Campanula or CA poppies, sad to say. But I have other ways to combine orange with blue!

  9. If your ‘Betty Corning’ becomes as robust as mine, you will need to provide it a sturdy trellis. Mine keep toppling the new trellises I provided this year. I don’t think the flowers produce nectar, either, as pollinators visit one blossom, then leave. BUT they do bloom almost all summer long.

    • I didn’t realize Betty was not such a good pollinator plant – but I won’t feel guilty because there is no shortage of stuff for pollinators in our garden. Glad to hear she blooms through most of the summer.

  10. I love blue flowers! Your clematis is especially lovely, as well as the Nepeta and the Baptisia. One big disappointment is my Baptisia, which bloomed wonderfully last year but did not appear at all this year. I had only one plant and was thinking of planting several more. Not knowing the cause of its demise, I am not sure now. It is native here and should do well.

    • Huh … I have no idea about your Baptisia. Maybe some critter gnawing at the roots? Give it another year, I bet it will come back strong.

  11. Since blue is my favorite color I’d feel right at home in your yard.
    Other than the Baptisia I can’t think of anything blue blooming here right now.
    I haven’t noticed any plants that are shorter than normal this year.

  12. Very blue, Jason.

    Appropriate for a “blues” city like Chicago 🙂

    Love the Baptisia and the ‘Rozanne’ geranium. Two of my absolute favorites!

  13. The blues in your garden are inspiring, and lovely to see so much blooming while we are nearly in the middle of our winter.

  14. Oh, I think I remember you mentioning planting ‘Betty Corning’ last fall. It must be encouraging to see it making an appearance. All your blues are gorgeous–especially the Baptisia. 🙂

  15. Your blue garden is wonderful, especially those alliums and the Baptista. My Baptista bloomed about a month ago and looked nice for about 2 days before the deer stripped the flower stalks bare.

  16. Your garden looks very lush and happy. Mine also is in its blue phase, with catmint, iris, salvia, and Jacob’s ladder.

  17. Without noticing, mine is also in the blue phase. And with lots of green getting ready for summer blooms. Surprisingly, my alliums that I thought weren’t going to come up, started blooming a week ago. I planted Allium christophii, and they’re in full bloom right now. Not in a good place, since they’re so late they are overshadowed a bit by its neighbors. I’ll try again next and see if any better but may need to move them. Do love them though, might be planting more varieties next year.

  18. Oh, I do love blue flowers and yours are all beautiful and soothing. I have some Baptisia and Amsonia, sent as seed from Wisconsin last year. I haven’t planted them out yet and none have flowers but I have high hopes that they may look like your next year.xxx

  19. my amsonia is shorter this year, too. the bloom seems a little paler blue as well and is not lasting as long as usual. –suz in ohio

  20. June in my garden tends to be both pink and blue. The blue flowers blooming right now include Siberian irises, tradescantia, and amsonia. The blue Baptisia is just starting to show color in its buds, and the blue geraniums have not yet begun to bloom here.

  21. I love blue so there is a lot of it in the garden, even in the art and pottery. Love that clematis! Everything looks wonderful. 🙂

  22. Such a calming colour. I love the way it shines out in the low evening light. I use a lot of blue in my garden here. The Clematis is gorgeous. I can find Ice Blue in the listings, but I can’t find Blue Ice.

  23. Hello Jason, we have a Clematis “Blue River” that I remember buying and planting, I haven’t checked on it in a while, I hope it’s still alive. Aside from that we have lots of Iris Sibirica with a rich deep blue and our young Ceanothus is just starting to flower. I’m going to look into Clematis “Blue Ice” and “Ice Blue” because it looks lovely!

  24. Wonderful blues – the amsonias in particular are a real treat. Sometimes I’ve cut down ‘Johnson’s Blue’ and had another flush of flowers. Worth it.

  25. All the flowers are looking gorgeous. I’ve many of them in my garden but I can’t take as beautiful pictures as you or your wife did :-). Regarding baptisia, I’m finding that some body eating its leaves. Not pests but some kind of animals. I’m suspecting rabbits. Any idea? Also, they flowered too early this year and have started producing seed pods now. Didn’t flower for a longer period also. Not sure what’s wrong.

    • Could be rabbits, though I have rabbits and I’ve never had my Baptisia eaten. Baptisia is a host for a bunch of butterflies, like the orange sulphur and the clouded sulphur – are you sure it’s not caterpillars?

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