January blues

Published on January 19th 2019
A colour we find so rarely occurring in the natural world, blue flowers have a pervasive charm.
For summer flowers, you can sow easy-to-grow annuals, such as cornflowers, baby-blue-eyes, morning glory, larkspur and California bluebell in-situ.
Bedding and container blues, like lobelia, blue pimpernel and Felicia should be started in the greenhouse.
In the herbaceous border sea holly, delphiniums, monkshood and Columbine will give colour from May to September, though spring sees the greatest flourish of blue flowers. Forget-me-not, Siberian bugloss and lungwort bloom alongside bulbs, including hyacinths, irises, grape-hyacinths, anemones and glory-of the-snow, not to mention the squills and our native bluebell.
Want to explore blues beyond hydrangeas and Californian lilacs? Here are a few interesting species to try. The list runs roughly from easiest to most demanding and – some might say – the most beautiful!
1. Agapanthus ‘Liliput’: a reliable, miniature form of the African lily.
2. Navelwort (Omphalodes cappadocica): a fragile spring beauty.
3. Tender and hardy plumbago (Plumbago capensis & Ceratostigma spp.): for conservatory or border.
4. Himalayan blue poppies (Meconopsis spp.): luminous blue flowers.
5. Gentians: I’ve heard the word ‘finicky’ used about gentians, but they’re worth it.
6. Chilean blue crocus (Tecophilaea cyanocrocus): arguably the most intense true blue in the plant kingdom.
7. Chatham Island forget-me-not (Myosotidium hortensia): Like a forget-me-not married a hosta, very unusual.
8. Blue vanda (Vanda coerulea): the closest of all (natural) orchids to a true blue.
9. Blue amaryllis (Worsleya procera): also known as the Empress of Brazil and a real challenge, not only to cultivate but also to find a supplier!
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