Saturday, February 11, 2017

Blues in the garden


My mother told me that I should never begin a thank-you note with an apology.  Her reasoning was to force me to write immediately so I would have no need for an apology for being late.

Well, here I go.  I feel so bad that I have not even tried to write something here for so long.  Sorry, Mama, but I just had to say it.  The more days I skipped, the harder it was to take it back up.

As usual, I let Thanksgiving and Christmas overwhelm me.  My daughter and her family (husband and girls - 2  1/2 and five months) were here for 10 days.  Before they arrived, I was like a whirling dervish trying to dispose of all the clutter I'd accumulated all over the house.  At the end,  I was doing things like throwing stacks of mail into the spare room and not caring where they landed.

And, every year, I try to do too much, decorating-wise.  I want everything to look magical, and it never does.  I did have a really pretty tree, and I got the wreathes and bows made for the windows, but two pine garlands I bought never got put up.  I hung on to them for two weeks after Christmas, thinking I could at least suspend them in my arch garden.  I never quite got around to that either, so I finally tossed them onto the brush pile.  A waste of my money and someone's labor.

So that's it.  I have no excuse for January, so I'm making a fresh start now (speaking of waste - so many wasted paragraphs above making all these excuses).

The photograph above I took last April in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, N.C.  I hit at a good time, when so many of the perennials and bulbs were at their freshest.  These lovely blue anemones were in the semi-circular, terraced part of the garden, which consists of 55 acres with many trails and tons of ornamental trees and shrubs.

In this particular, thickly planted "Historic Terrace Garden" (listed that way on the map), the shrubs and flowers were arranged by color.  I never could get an overall view because there were too many people, so I had to settle for close-ups.

I love blue in the garden.  Yesterday, as Wendie Britt and I were putting out flags for some plantings at the Flower Guild garden at the church, she said the same thing.  Afterwards, I went to a big box store to pick up a prescription (they are the only ones who carry this particular one), and I bought a few additional items.

As I checked out, there was a stand loaded down with spring and summer bulbs.  I spied what looked like a French blue bearded iris.  It's call 'Full Tide.'  I had already succumbed to this stand a few days earlier, buying two deep purple bearded iris, two packages of Oriental lilies and some purple coneflowers.

This is not a good time to plant iris - it should have been done last August.  And, the rhizomes aren't very big, except the 'Full Tide' one is pretty decent.  I'm planting all this at the church garden since the deer not only eat the fans at my house but pull the whole plant - roots and all - out of the ground.

We have only two and a half months before the bearded iris should be in bloom.  I think the best I can hope for this year will be a few fans.  I will update you on the progress.

Meanwhile, my mind is whirling, trying to think of all the blues we Southerners can count on in the garden (how many times through the years did I plant delphiniums?  Only once did a few come back.  And mecanopsis - one can only dream).

I have a friend I e-mail with, and we are always having contests.  The most recent one was song titles with the word "moon".  So, here's a challenge:  Blue flowers you've actually seen in area gardens (not counting bedding plants or tropicals).  I'll start off - this is off the top of my head, as I must get this finished:  Hydrangeas, of course;  blue bachelor's buttons, blue platycodons, some caryopteris are bluish; 'Heavenly Blue' morning glories; Phlox divaricata (usually the blue is a bit pale); Veronica 'Georgia Blue'; blue grape hyacinths; Forget-me-nots; Ceratostigma plumbaginoides; Delft Blue hyacinths; Cantaurea montana; Clematis integrifolia (isn't there a blue one, Lindy?), Clematis 'Will Goodwin', 'Ramona' (more blue than purple, I think), 'Arabella' and I'm sure many many more blue clematis (Lindy Broder will know them).

So, you take it from here.  There are some blue Louisiana and Japanese iris.  In fact, I had 'Arcadian Blue' at one point (Louisiana).  Okay.  Finish the list, please.  Oops.  There's a blue wild aster I see in the fall - other fall asters, but I don't know the names.  Elizabeth Dean will. Did I say dutch iris?

Meanwhile, every day I've been watching something else blue in my arch garden....