Monday, June 6, 2011

late May blues

In May we as gardeners get excited because so much begins to come into bloom in the garden. As I have mentioned already in May you have your peonies and roses and foxglove (among others) bursting forth in all their spring glory. ...different colors and sizes and petal counts reminding you of all that is possible in the garden. But I definitely have to put in a plug for some favorite late May blues. These shots I admit I took many weeks ago, and for a while was thinking because of the tardiness that I might as well forget posting them, but I hope that people still enjoy the shots and IDs for present or future reference.

These pictures were shot early morning so some of the colors are not entirely true to reality so I've made notes where applicable.

Iris sibirica is an iris that has slightly smaller, narrower leaves and an overall shorter size compared to the monster German bearded iris that most people have in their gardens. This clump comfortably takes up a few square feet in the garden and is quite easy to keep in check. I'd guess height to be about 1-1 1/2 feet for the foliage and little over 2 feet for the inflorescence of flowers with their graceful upright standards and down-turned falls.

Perennial geraniums I've learned from my various bosses and mentors have great merit in the mixed border. Geranium 'Johnson's Blue' is this guy. Sure enough the way the sun is hitting the flower in the pic above it appears more light and purple, but don't be fooled. The plant with it's finer dissected foliage and delicate blue is a wonderfully soft option for the forefront of a display and a welcome 2-3 foot filler of a plant.
The color below is a little more right-on. Geranium 'Johnson's Blue'...

And ah, yes, the beginnings of the blooming Clematis. Let this slightly woody vine grow in as much sun as possible and keep the roots well protected and moist as best you can. Wonderful for climbing up a structure, whether that be a wire fence or your favorite shrub rose or small tree, when they come into bloom you will undoubtedly be elated. This beautiful lady is Clematis 'Ramona' and her color is really a perfect purplish-blue that you have to have just the right light for in order to properly capture on film, ...or digital memory card as the case may be.
Clematis 'Ramona'
The shot below begins to give a slightly better idea of the purple tones in the sizable 4-5" flowers.

Like geraniums, budding gardeners should know about the value of perennial Salvia cultivars now common throughout the trade. Salvia 'Blue Hill' is this tight, mounded sun lover which blooms well twice a year. Famed public garden designer Lynden Miller in her lectures loves to include this in her plant list, especially for those managing and designing college and university campuses. The reason as Lynden would explain is because they put out their first strong display of upright blue flower spikes in May as school let's out for the year and graduation is celebrated and then they bloom again in fall as the next semester commences and the students return to campus. Very smart.
Easy to deadhead and maintain and another great addition to the late May blues you can also find Salvia 'East Friesland' quite commonly and they are all worth playing with.

Happy shopping.

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