A friend from South Dakota asked about blue flowered perennials that would be hardy for her zone, which happens to be the same as Grand Rapids, Michigan. So this post is for you, Pats!!
This is Brunnera, or Bugloss. It is sometimes referred to as false forget-me-not. It is an early bloomer, coming on in mid-May, but it flowers for at least three weeks. I actually bought it for the foliage thinking that it would be a nice compliment to my hostas. Bugloss likes shade or dappled light. This cultivar happens to be a variegated siberian bugloss called Variegata.
One of my favorite blues is Veronica. I have two varieties planted here. Royal Candles blooms earlier than the Sunny Border Blue, which is taller. It is just beginning to show some color on its velvety flower spikes. In front of the Veronicas is a lovely pink lavender.
And speaking of lavender, this little pathway to the back gate is line with Hidecote laveder. It is a darker blue than Munstead. I’ve decided that I’m going to plant as many lavender varieties as I can. Yesterday I picked up Grosso, and a lovely variegated leafed lavender called Silver Edge. I have a large bed of lavender in a little nook outside my back door. I thought I was planting all Hidecote, but some Munstead or something slipped in there. I find I like the two colors together, and I certainly have enough Hidecote to pick. They maintain their deep color even when dried. And unless the cat eats them, they last for several years.
You can just see the Patriot hostas that add a nice bit of contrast to that bed. And I always put a basket in the bird path that sits in the middle of this little garden. Behind the birdbath is a monster of a Bleeding Heart. It will soon look raggedy and I’ll cut it back. Next to it is a blue lace cap hydrangea. I love its variegated leaves and I’m hoping it will bloom. I understand the variegated hydrangeas are a little persnickety. I planted it last summer.
But the Endless Summer hydrangeas in the back corner and doing beautifully. I obviously put enough acid in the soil this spring. I was tempted to buy a couple of Nikko Blues yesterday, but resisted temptation. We’ll see how long that will power lasts.
One of my favorite perennials is caryopteris. It is doing unbelievably well in my gravely soil. I have two Bluebeards that are huge. In fact, I may have to trim them back just a bit so they don’t crowd a couple of day lilies. It’s a little early yet for caryopteris, but I put two new plants where the old lilac used to be. They are forced in greenhouses and are blooming now. You can get a little taste of the color that will come to the larger plants in a few weeks.
The lovely thing about caryopteris is that they are fragrant, especially if you happen to brush past the leaves. The picture below shows you how big my caryopteris has gotten.
The caryopteris are those feathery plants in front of the old Rose of Sharon.
Another way to incorporate blues into a garden is through blue leafed hostas. This little clump has three Halcyon hostas, an August Moon, which is gold, and my favorite–Lucy Vitals. That’s a pretty little columbine in the middle. It was a volunteer and a previous owner survivor. I decided to let it grow so I could see what color the flowers were. They were a pretty pink and white. It can stay for the time being, but if it misbehaves, it’s gone.