21 Jan 2013

Blue Monday: I’ll Take It Any Day!

DSC_0381 Stumbled upon the term ‘Blue Monday’ while reading Helen and Sarah’s wonderful weblog Toronto Gardens, and after following a link that they offered for people wanting more information, I made a few startling discoveries of my own. [Go ahead, click the link, I will wait here for you!]

As my most recent post details, I too have been implementing change in my life, in an effort I hope, to discover my true inner self. Throughout all of it, there is one stable and sustainable fact that reassures me that all is not lost – and that is my affinity, my near obsession when it comes to the colour blue in the garden! I don’t think I will look at Monday’s quite the same!

Copy (2) of DSC_0007Copy (2) of DSC_0012 Copy (2) of DSC_0103While Corydalis was not the first blue I added to the gardens, it was definitely a step in the right direction for me. It has a habit of stopping people in their tracks with its mesmerizing icy blue flowers and has been described as such:

…’like a shoal of icy blue nodding sea horses, floating atop a tumultuous sea of frothy blue green, fern like foliage!’

It is precisely this form of oral pontification that hold me spellbound with the colour blue!

DSC_0235Having stumbled upon Lost Horizons, that delightful woodland plant nursery in nearby Acton, Ontario, I soon found myself surrounded with more intoxicating blues than I could have ever imagined. Gentiana is one of my favourite genera, and includes some of the truest example of blue flowers that exist today! Gentiana asclepiadea or willow gentian remains a firm favourite with its shrub-like arching branches, and delightful trumpet shaped, pleated flowers that appear along its branches at the leaf axils.

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Copy (2) of DSC_0258Penstemon is another delightful genus that offers shades of blue within its flower spectrum, and while they tend to lean decidedly towards mauve and pink, there are a few delightful exceptions that I have grown over the years. My biggest downfall is a lack of sunlight which most within this genus tend to demand rather than acquiesce.  

DSC_0627 card stock10 Tricyrtis ‘Blue Wonder’ totally caught this unsuspecting gardener by surprise. The name in and of itself should have been enough, but I was skeptical at best, familiar with the more heavily spotted flowers that entrenched themselves more in the mauve to purple spectrum as opposed to blue!


 Once in a long while, there comes a plant that is simply ‘too good’ to be true! Ceratostigma wilmottianum ‘My Love’ left plant collectors like myself shaken [not stirred] in her wake when she debuted here in North America some five years ago! Those familiar with the genus have come to expect somewhat of a ground hugging plant whose glossy mid to dark green foliage turn wonderful shades of red and purple as the summer wanes and winter’s imminent cold weather approaches. Oh, and those spectacular blue flowers…who could ever forget about them! Imagine then a plant that more closely resembles a small shrub whose branches are adorned with fabulously [and do not underestimate the strength of the term fabulously!] chartreuse foliage, each leaf turning in on itself, creating a glowing orb, whose petioles pulsed a war ruby colour…and oh yes, the same sublime blue flowers! Sadly for me, and other gardeners I have spoken with, it was all too good to be true! Perhaps if we lived in Georgia, or even England where it was originally bred, as opposed to the Great White North that is Canada!


The sumptuous, velvety texture and saturated colour of Iris siberica ‘Regency Buck’ gave for me a moments ponder on what it would be like to design a line of evening wear under the label Hort Couture, which, in the hort industry already exists! Is this not splendidly divine? The only Iris I grow, and for obvious reason!

And then of course we come to this…the penultimate of all blues that we spend our lives chasing after! Truly there is no more perfect blue in the amazing world of plants, but attaining it, capturing it in your garden ever so briefly if you will, comes with a heavy price! No, not monetarily… I have dozens of other, more expensive beauties in the garden, believe you me! The cost that I speak hereof is one that involves selling a piece of your soul. Believe-you-me I have been there, done that, but at the end of the day, I’d do it again and again [My what a large and copious soul you have!] if only to guarantee the return of what I consider to be the holiest of all ‘Holy Grail’ plants – the beloved Meconopsis!

DSC_0030   DSC_0037 DSC_0044 DSC_0053 Isomuch as the contents of this post leading to any form of ‘sadness’ – not so much! Just thought I’d offer my own interpretation of ‘Blue Monday.’ Helen and Sarah – thank you for the inspiration behind this blue journey!



Helen said...

Teza, my dear, you were on my mind when I wrote that post! Glad to see such a beautiful collection here. You had my heart racing for a moment with Ceratostigma. I thought, "Hardy? Here?!?" Then I read to the end. Ah, well. Something to wish for. Thanks for the shout out!

Anna said...

Totally behind with blog reading - was without reading spectacles for a while, so spending a cool and damp afternoon enjoying a catch up. Have you read Eleanor Perényi's essay on 'Blues'? I think that you would enjoy it Barry if you have not already come across it :)