10 Aug 2014

The Blues of August

 Gentiana dauhrica

By this time of year many gardeners and their gardens are taking a well deserved break - in some cases from one another, but for many its the time within the garden season when not a lot is happening. Spring is without a doubt my favourite season here at Teza's Garden, for it is during those first warm weeks when many of my most treasured and regaled beauties are unfurling their stunning, albeit fleeting beauty. Such is the life of an ephemeral. In recent years I have come to realize that second only to Spring, late Summer and early Fall bring me untold joy and exuberance! Could it have anything to do with the intoxicating blues that permeate the Border of Unusual Treasures at this time of year? Methinks it might!

 Gentiana scabra 'True Blue' buds on the verge of unfurling!

Gentians have long been a favourite perennial, most evidently because of their mesmerizing shades of blue, but also because they seem to sit back and wait for their siblings to strut their stuff, and then, just when you think the garden is looking a wee bit 'too' green [if such a sentiment exists, please ignore it!] you wake one morning to a sea of blues! [Shortly thereafter you hear the high pitched squeals of delight coming from the general direction of Teza's Garden!] 

 I have 'played' around with this genus over the past seven years, and while a couple of selections pouted and finally took leave of their own volition, [namely G.asclepidea] I have, for the most part, been blessed with a collection that never fails to bring a goofy smile to my face. Today was one of those days. I had noticed the swollen buds on my G. septemfida var. 'Lagodochiana Select' only days before and was looking forward to its shimmering almost silvery blue trumpet shaped flowers. This year I have more bloom than ever before and have also noticed that its stems are decidedly more upright than in previous years when I would have to be down on hand and knees in order to capture their beauty. [Ok, so I was down on hand and knees today as well, but seriously people, when you're this gorgeous its easy to knock the feet out from beneath passers by!]

One of my favourite garden compositions includes the fabulously chartreuse foliage of Pinellia tripartita 'Golden Dragons' along with the mesmerizing blues of Corydalis 'Wildside Blue' [who is graciously gracing me with a second flush of icy blue sea horse shaped flowers] and in the background, the darker blue of Gentiana scabra 'True Blue.' He is a more recent introduction thanks to Darrell Probst of Epimedium fame. Taller, with sturdier stems, his exceptionally large for the genus flowers appear as a cache of precious Amethysts in the days leading to their unfurling. 

 For me the genus is rather care free - aside of the temperamental asclepidea species which seems to be more common in the UK than it is here - and the ones I have pictured here all tend to prefer a more acidic soil composition. There are many others that do not share this same tolerance. Mine have all adapted to a partially shaded garden, and with time have all rewarded me with expanding sized clumps. 'Lago' is by far my favourite, and as the photo below can attest to, he makes for a stunning photographic subject!

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