Midsummer Blues

Blue spires of salvia “Caradonna”

Blue spires of salvia “Caradonna”

Most of us need more blue in our gardens. This mayseem an odd thing to say but I suspect if you bear this in mind the next time you’re surveying your own garden or indeed someone else's, you might be inclined to agree with me. Pinks and reds, yellows and oranges are inclined to dominate for much of the year and including enough blue to keep a good visual balance can be a challenge. There was a fashion a few years ago for painting anything that didn’t grow in the garden blue, from fences to sheds to benches, and in fact I took it up enthusiastically myself. It can get a little jarring in winter though, so you’re probably better off to stick to subtle greens and neutrals for the furniture and fencing and let the plants add the colour.

Here are a few of my favourite perennials that should flower from midsummer onwards: Agapanthus: Natives of South Africa, agapanthus come in shades of palest blue to deepest indigo (as well as white ) and can be evergreen or deciduous. The narrow strap like leaves appear in spring and are followed by globes of flower from midsummer onwards. “Blue Globe” and “African Skies” are good choices.

Hardy Geraniums: Many of these flower early in the summer and have gone over by now, but the cultivar “Rozanne” can be relied upon to keep flowering for months because it’s sterile and doesn’t set seed. Salvia “Caradonna” – this is one of the darkest salvias with indigo blue spikes of flowers and chocolatey dark stems. You’ll need to deadhead the flowers if you want them to repeat but if you do it will add wonderful form and colour the garden for many months. A word of warning though – slugs love it, so take precautions to protect the young shoots each year from early spring onwards. I’ve found that planting it in pots sized 2 litres or bigger gives better results than smaller plants, which succumb to attack more quickly.

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