Singing the Blues

Hyacynthoides non-scripta, the English Bluebell

Native Bluebells in Wanstead Park

Now is the season of the colour blue.  It is easy to be spell-bound by this colour particularly the deep blue of our native bluebell which en mass seems to shimmer and transport us to another world.. Wanstead Park in east London has been excelling itself. Here the native bluebell still thrives but around the edges and especially in nearby gardens are signs of the encroaching Spanish Bluebell. To find out more about why the Spanish Bluebell threatens the native one and how to distinguish between the 2 species follow this link:

http://www.plantlife.org.uk/about_us/faq/bluebells/

Then get out the glyphosate and seek and destroy the Spanish one!..I love almost all things Spanish, honest, just not the Spanish Bluebell which looks, and is, thuggish in comparison.

Now I’ve had my rant..back to seasonal blues: An early spring blue which is now just about over is the brilliant ground cover, front of border, Pulmonaria ‘Blue Ensign’. It is a lungwort but unusually does not have the spotted leaves of the wild one. The flowers are an intense electric blue, wonderful with yellow daffodils.

Pulmonaria Blue Ensign: A great early spring plant for the front of the border

Pulmonaria Blue Ensign: A great early spring plant for the front of the border

Pulmonaria Blue Ensign 2

The electric blue of Pulmonaria ‘Blue Ensign’

Ceanothus is now having its moment. In particular the deep rich blue of Ceanothus concha and the huge C. arboreus ‘Trewithen Blue’ which rapidly grows into a tree if you turn your back (the word ‘arboreus ‘ in its name is the key) and  C.thysiflorus ‘Skylark’ . They hang over the walls of front gardens grabbing attention for a few, all too brief, weeks. People stop and stare almost in disbelief that nature can produce such an intense colour blue!

Ceanothus concha, Nadina domestica, Cistus x purpureus

Ceanothus concha, Nadina domestica, Cistus x purpureus

Ceanothus concha with Cistus x purpureus

Ceanothus concha with Cistus x purpureus

For more on Ceanothus varieties: http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?pid=354

Blue and deep pink are a great combination. Other favorite combinations: blue with orange tulips (eg. Tulipa Ballerina) , blue with limey green (eg Euphorbia  x martinii)

Orange Tulips ( a T.Ballerina cross)

Orange Tulips ( a T.Ballerina cross?)

This is what Tulipa Ballerina should look like here shown with Euphorbia x martinii

This is what Tulipa Ballerina should look like here shown with Euphorbia x martinii

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About Kathy Taylor

I design gardens of all sizes, from small town courtyards to large country estates. I am happy to be involved in simple planting plans through to complete redesigns. Colour, texture and form are essential in my designs, which blend contemporary and traditional elements. I believe that the smaller details make a garden what it is. The garden is now regarded as an outside room to be enjoyed as an extension of your house.
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