Homes

The world of blue blooms.

For overall effect, I prefer hot borders full of rich reds, oranges and yellows. But if there's one colour I find absolutely captivating, it's got to be blue and its many different shades. Blue is not only beautiful but also useful in the summer garden, and there's an abundance of different types of plants - from ground covers to large trees - to choose from. Be warned though, colour experts frown upon planting "warm" blues alongside "cool" blues - if you can tell the difference!

Phacelia

A fantastic companion plant for the vege garden, phacelia attracts hordes of really beneficial insects. Hover flies and parasitic wasps will come to gorge on the baddies, reducing the need for you to spray any nasty chemicals.

Chives

This is one of the prettiest herbs when its pinky-blue globes appear in early-to-mid summer. Plant as an edging to a sunny border and use the edible flowers for decorating summer salads.

Clematis hybrids

A well-behaved climber, clematis hybrids are tricky to grow. Plant in shade in well- composted soil with the crown (junction of stems and roots) buried slightly. Train the stems up a tree or trellis towards the sun.

Heliotrope

Also known as cherry pie, Heliotrope produces a strong, heady vanilla scent, which intensifies in warm, still air. ‘oarine’ is my favourite variety of these for its intense violet flowers.

Salvia ‘Victoria Blue’

This is excellent value, as it flowers right through until the first frosts. ‘Victoria Blue’ looks stunning planted en masse or in containers and is quite resilient to weather that’s hot and dry.

Jacaranda

Frost-tender when young, jacaranda hardens up as it matures. It forms a wide spreading canopy of elegant fern-like foliage and casts a beautiful light-dappled shade, which is perfect for sitting under in the height of summer.

Hydrangeas

The popular flower is renowned for being tough, handsome and producing long- lasting flowers. It will, however, respond to regular feeding and watering. Blue hydrangeas will give better colour with aluminium sulphate sprinkled on the soil.

Plumbago

A personal favourite of mine for its abundance of blue flowers over several months, plumbago makes a wonderful filler for the rear of borders or an informal screen or divider plant. ‘Royal Cape’ is a great superior cultivar.

Water lilies

Utterly divine with their strikingly perfect symmetrical blooms, hardy water lilies float on top of the water, whereas tropical water lilies grow on long stems, making them perfect for picking. They can be planted now in a pond or suitable container.

Japanese water iris

Constantly moist soil or shallow water (up to 50mm deep) is needed for this flower to prosper. Colours range from white to pink and magenta to purple, but deepest violet gets my vote.

Sisyrinchium ‘Devon Skies’

A delightful little border plant, sisyrinchium ‘Devon Skies’ smothers itself in sky-blue flowers from early spring to late summer. Plant it in free-draining soil and keep it constantly moist to prolong flowering.

Statice

Also known as sea lavender or marsh rosemary, statice produces long-lasting “straw” flowers that are suitable for picking and drying. It prefers a frost-free, sunny spot with well-drained but moist soil.

Using blue in the garden

  • oass-planted pale shades of blue visually enlarge a small space.

  • Dark blue flowers draw in a space, creating a relaxing ambience – but overuse can become sombre.

  • Pale blues, pastels, white, and silver foliage used at the end of a garden causes it to visually recede.

  • Blue-flowering ground covers work well to soften hard edges.

  • White and blue flowers with silver foliage effectively cool down a hot- coloured border.

  • Pastel blues are good reflective colours for outdoor entertainment areas at night.

  • Blue flowers and foliage juxtaposed with yellow or chartreuse create a very striking contrast.

  • Carry blue through to garden furniture, trellising or a feature wall to enhance a blue theme.

  • Warm blue has tinges of red and includes hues in the vibrant indigo range.

  • Cold blue includes tinges of green, with shades spanning cobalt to turquoise.

Related stories


Get The Australian Woman’s Weekly NZ home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 38% on a magazine subscription.