Serendipity Gardens: What is your favorite color to have in the garden?

Published 9:00 am Saturday, April 28, 2018

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears biweekly. Email her at

My Merriam-Webster Dictionary states the color blue is a color between green and violet in the color spectrum: the color of the clear daytime sky. It is amazing all the different hues or shades of blue that exist in the flower world and yet finding true blue in a flower is very difficult. The closest thing to true blue to me is the Himalayan poppy. Yet when I read the descriptions in catalogs of blue flowers, it just doesn’t always agree with my perception of what blue should be. In the most recent issue of Minnesota Gardener, May/June 2018, one of the articles was called “Summertime Blue” and they listed several blue flowers. One of the plants mentioned that I also grow in my garden is Betty Corning clematis. I would list this as being in the lavender family of blue.

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Throughout my gardens starting in early spring when the ephemeral Virginia bluebells bloom I have a succession of blue-colored plants. Blue is one of my favorite colors of flowers, and I am always looking for new plants to add to the color scheme. In hanging baskets or containers I will add violas and petunias in shades of blue to give a punch of color where I have yellow flowers planted. In the cutting garden, larkspur and bachelor buttons add yet another shade of blue. Morning glories in the heavenly blue variety clamber up trellises, adding such a wonderful pop of color against my gray privacy fence. Perennials of globe thistle, catmint, May night salvia and delphinium stand out against the pink, red and orange of other flowers blooming in the gardens.

My sister living in Texas can grow agapanthus and plumbago, two blue flowers I covet but are not hardy in our Zone 4 gardens, although a garden center in the area does offer plumbago, and I am so tempted to buy one because of the delicate shade of blue one of these years.

To add cobalt blue to the gardens I have added containers, gazing balls and other ornaments, and I am planning to do a cobalt glass bottle tree as soon as I find enough blue wine bottles. In my house I have many cobalt glass bottles that when daylight shines through them it is exquisite to see the color. It is such a shame that more flowers are not available in what I call true blue, but until there are I will use as many shades of blue as I can find.

One of my favorite iris is a delicate pale blue that should be on a wall in my house because it is such a soothing color. Do you like blue? If so, what shade of blue is your favorite?

As I was viewing garden photos on my computer I was amazed at how many blues I do have in the garden or what the dictionary declares blue to be. Each of us has our own favorite color that we use in our gardens, and why blue became mine I will never know because if you asked me what my favorite color is I would tell you it is brown so go figure out where I fell in love with blue flowers. Perhaps it was the blue cornflowers that were in my mother’s garden that drew my attention to the color. A former neighbor always grew morning glories on a trellis under our bedroom window, and oh, how I loved to wake up and see them blooming it just made my whole day better, thank you Nancy.

Robert Francis said it so well in this quote: Her flowers were exclusive blue. No other color scheme would do…all blues, she found do not agree. Blue riots in variety.” And so I will keep adding as many shades of blue to my gardens as possible to give me the coolness and tranquility that comes with this lovely color.

“With the long blue days of summer comes a tide of colour to the garden, blue in feeling and in effect and grateful to the eyes because of its coolness.” — Louise Beebe Wilder