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Blue is popular in the garden because of the beauty of blue flowers, the emotional effect, and perhaps because it is relatively rare in the plant world. This is true, of course, only of true or pure blue with not the faintest tinge of red or yellow. Pure blue is found in Chinese delphinium, alkanet (anchusa), browallia, leadwort, Salvia patens, lobelia, flax, and some of the cornflowers. Lighter true blues appear in forgetmenots, Delphinium formosum belladonna and coelestinum, and in the silvery blue of Salvia azurea. Most gardeners include all flowers that appear blue, the lavender-blues, gray-blues, and blue-violets. Red-violets, where the red begins to be dominant and the color verges toward magenta, and purple should not be classed as blue.

plate 17
Plate 17. A Group of Blue Flowers
1. Rose Pauls Scarlet5. Clematis recta
2. Anchusa italica Dropmore 6. Coreopsis lanceolata
3. Iris kaempferi Blue Bird7. Delphinium grand. chinensis
4. Baptisia australis8. Dianthus barbatus white

We like Mrs. Wilder's idea for blue in the garden: "And while I should most certainly gather all these blue flowers into one garden or even one border, I should plant them with scarlet and buff tulips, yellow and white iris, patches of Spanish poppies, groups of pale mulleins and fig-leaved hollyhocks, the delicate yellow of meadowrue (Thalictrum glaucum), geums, a few orange and scarlet lilies, gypsophila, valerian, Orange King snapdragon, pale calendulas, torch-lilies (Kniphofia), montbretias, and other plants of brave coloring."

Analogous harmonies based on blue are easy to arrange because dark and light blues provide sufficient contrast. With them use the adjacent hues, violet and turquoise. Blue, contrasted with yellow or orange of the same chroma, is strong and bold, but such combinations must be used sparingly. Yellow is better with blue-violet, whereas orange is better with greenish peacock blues. Soft yellow, creamy white, rose-pink, flame-pink, and soft orange-red are all effective with any blue because they preserve its brilliance and deepen it by contrast. (Plate 17.)


Use deep blue with clear soft yellows or with scarlet. Creamy white in the combination as a rule holds it down and prevents too vivid contrast. Examples: Cornflower, coreopsis, and white Sweet William; Anchusa with Monarda didyma Cambridge Scarlet and Clematis recta mandshurica.

Use clear blues with clear, pale rose-pink; creamy or blue-white, pale yellow, or all together. Example: Forgetmenot, bleedingheart, and one of the clear yellow tulips like Niphetos, or the lily-flowering tulip Fascinating. Delphinium belladonna with evening primrose (Oenothera fruticosa youngi) and Phlox Miss Lingard.

Use gray-blues with pale creamy yellow, pale rose-pink, or flame-pink; cold or creamy white, or clear orange. Example: Salvia azurea with African marigold Prince of Orange, or with snapdragons in the above-mentioned colors. Polemonium reptans, hardy candytuft, with tulip Picotee or Rosabella. Caryopteris Blue Mist with Phlox Columbia.

Avoid clear blues near violet-blue. Example: Viola Jersey Gem is not good with Chinese delphinium.

The following list includes both true blues and closely related reddish and greenish hues.




Ajuga genevensis
Aster alpinus Goliath
Aubretia deltoidea
Iris pumila coerulea
Myosotis alpestris
scorpioides semperflorens
Phlox divaricata canadensis
subulata Blue Hill
Polemonium reptans Blue Pearl
Veronica gentianoides
latifolia prostrata
Viola cornuta floraire
Catherine Sharp
Maggie Mott


Anchusa (see Brunnera)
Aquilegia caerulea
Giant-spurred Blue hybrids
Brunnera macrophylla (Anchusa myosotidiflora)
Iris germanica Blue Peter
Buechleys Giant
Great Lakes
Mountain Sky
Mertensia virginica
Polemonium caeruleum
Pulmonaria angustifolia azurea
Tradescantia virginica James Stratton
James C. Weguelin


Camassia leichtlini
Chionodoxa sardensis
Crocus sieberi
vernus Early Perfection
Queen of Blues
Hyacinthus azureus
Muscari botryoides coeruleum
Heavenly Blue
Scilla bifolia
hispanica&nbspBlue King
Blue Ribbon
Blue Queen
siberica Spring Beauty



Aster subcoeruleus
Campanula carpatica
Lithospermum diffusa Heavenly Blue
Maries Platycodon
Stokesia laevis Azure
Blue Moon
Veronica spuria (amethystina) Royal Blue


Campanula latiloba (grandis) Six Hills Giant
Catananche caerulea
Centaurea montana Coerulea
Clematis heracleaefolia davidiana Azure
Delphinium gran. chinense
Erigeron speciosus
Eryngium amethystinum
Eupatorium coelestinum
Geranium grandiflorum
Hosta caerulea
japonica (lancifolia)
Iris sibirica Caesar's Brother
Perrys Blue
Lavandula officinalis (vera)
Linum narbonnense
Nepeta Blue Beauty
Perovskia atriplicifolia
Platycodon grandiflorum


Baptisia australis
Campanula persicifolia grandiflora
Telham Beauty
Delphinium belladonna
various hybrids
Echinops ritro Taplow Blue
Erigeron elatoir antwerpia
Iris kaempferi Blue Bird
Blue Giant
Iris kaempferi Melpomene
Mt. Hood



Aster Pacific Horizon
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides


Aconitum autumnale
Aster Violetta


Aster Blue Gown
Gay Border Blue
Verbena hastata


Amorpha canescens
Caryopteris incana Blue Mist
Daphne genkwa
Hibiscus syriacus coelestis
Celestial Blue
Hydrangea acuminata
Syringa vulgaris Ami Schott
Blue Hyacinth
Clarks Giant
Pres. Grevy
Vitex macrophylla


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