Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Craving for Some Gardening Blues

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Craving for Some Gardening Blues

Article excerpt

WHEN it comes to flower colours, I have to admit to being a bit of a stickler.

The previous owners of my garden had established some lovely plants, but much to my chagrin, almost all the flowers emerged pink.Romantic they may be, in the lovey-dovey sense, but pink flowers simply don't do it for me and I've been on a mission over the past six years to gradually replace every pink plant with something more interesting.

What really floats my floral boat are colours like gutsy, blood red, and during the warmer months of the year, true blue.

The latter is quite rare in the plant kingdom, and highly sought. Many C[pounds sterling]blueC[yen] flowers actually contain traces of red or yellow, giving the appearance of purple or viridian, but definitely not blue.

A classic example is the rose Blue Moon which is about as blue as the language in a convent. Rose breeders have been trying to develop a blue flower for decades, and the best they have been able to come up with is a kind of slatey-mauve.

Perhaps the best blue flowers of the lot are the Himalayan poppy, Meconopsis betonicifolia, and Western Australia's Lechenaultia biloba.

It's possible to grow both on the Downs, but you'll need to be at the top of your game to do so.

The poppy likes a cool, moist, humus-rich position, and the Lechenaultia the opposite Co warm, dry and very free draining.

Beyond these two the list of true blue flowers is quite brief. I've seen some stunning blue-bearded irises around the place, and I have some blue salvias growing in the garden, including CyBlauhugel' (Blue Hills) Salvia guaranitica, and S. azurea.

I've seen some seed-grown echiums that produce truly blue flowers, some beaut rosemaries such as CyBlue Lagoon' and some amazing delphiniums, such as the highly regarded CyVolkerfrieden'. …

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