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True Blue
Home Home Gardening
By: Joshua Ellison Email Article
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Continuing from our previous piece concerning the introduction of select colour schemes within the garden, we now bring you a variety of cool, blue cultivars to compliment the fiery shades we talked about last week.

Floral and Hardy’s Top Five Blue Blooms:

1. Aconitum

Aconitum, aka ‘Monkshood’, previously appeared in our poisonous plants section and this is important to note if your blue garden will someday entertain animals or small children, as it can prove a fatal addition in the wrong hands. Fortunately, the Monkshood’s preferred growing site is somewhere in partial shade, so you may be able to conceal the plant sufficiently to neutralize this threat! For best effect, plant towards the back of your borders, behind shorter blooms, this way you’ll take advantage of the long stems and vibrant violet blooms. Aconitum is possessed of fairly durable stems so provided the plant isn’t completely exposed it shouldn’t require staking or extra support, but make sure the soil is water retentive and rich or risk significant damage to your chances of flowering.

2. Agapanthus

As a native of South Africa it is important you tailor to Agapanthus’ need for fertile soil and sunlight and plant in a sunny, exposed position and, depending on your soil type, you may wish to balance it with the addition of sand or humus to ensure this plant has the drainage it needs. It is recommended that you cultivate the soil in this manner up to 12" deep to ensure a strong root foundation. Similar in shape, if not in colour, to a giant snowflake, their vulnerability to wind is a product of their height and the weight of the flowers, having an average growing range of over a metre, it may be necessary to stake all around to ensure good health and flowering.

3. Delphinium

These slender beauties take the form of a vibrant feather duster and produce narrow towers of flowers on a thick, hardy stem, providing your borders with lovely vertical punctuation. However, they are not the easiest customers to please. They prefer full sun but suffer in wind, therefore I would suggest generous implementation of stakes, and make sure you’re happy when you do finally hole them, as they not easily repositioned. One way to guarantee them a strong start is to line the hole, which should be twice the pots size, with bone meal and, beyond, just make sure you water them regularly. Watch out for slugs and snails in the spring too, as they love their juicy, young growth.

4. Iris

The Iris is one of the most versatile cultivars in the world, able to grow in conditions ranging from an arid, dry desert to full water submersion. Fortunately for you, this translates to a very simple customer in terms of positioning and soil quality as you can always choose one to suit your conditions. There is one constant, however, and that is that they all require full sun, the bearded varieties in particular. Depending on the overall quality of your soil, we have three types to recommend, for the less fertile garden you might consider the Siberian Iris, far and away the hardiest cultivar suitable for British weather. The German bearded specimen will accept most soils of average fertility of moisture and the Japanese cultivar thrives in very damp and rich soils and as such may be considered for the bordering of a pond. They are all long stemmed flowers whose foliage depends on whether they are rhizomatous or bulbous, the former will produce symmetrical sword shaped leaves while the latter will have cylindrical leaves.

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Written by Joshua Ellison of Floral & Hardy Gardens, experts for Garden Design Knightsbridge

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