Like my mother, gardener supreme here for 25 years, I’m a sucker for blue.
In spring we have Spanish bluebells and Dutch and Siberian iris, plus a brilliant bearded iris my mother said was the same shade as our Roland Park Country School uniforms. Occasionally, we’d have a strand or two of blue-flowered vinca vine and some blue larkspurs.
Only blue larkspur, please. None of that white and pink, although I love them in others’ gardens. This year I had a bumper crop of larkspur as well as forget-me-knots and the vinca groundcover I planted at the back of the garden years ago.
The day of my father’s funeral, a friend gave me a blue dish filled with pansies. Since that day blue ceramic has been on the increase here. A tree pruner dropped a limb on that favorite dish, which had morphed into a bird bath. I sought another the same shade. It took a navy one the same size and a smaller one the same color before I found one almost the same hue as the original.
When I turned 60, my college roommate sent a blue pedestal birdbath. I set that at in the circular bed at garden center. A year later a nighttime critter knocked it over. The top broke. I replaced it with a sundial, as no one sold a replacement dish.
My husband figured that if he put a stake through the hollow center of the pedestal, no critters could tip it over. He was right. He also gave me a duplicate of the original and set that at the back of the garden under the Zelkova.
My true blue childhood friend just gave me an early birthday present, guess what: a blue ceramic pot. I filled it with leftover annual white vincas I’d left unplanted for who knows what reason. They look perfect in my most recent blue ceramic addition, which likely will be the last. I do not want too much of a good thing, or the garden will resemble a pottery barn.
When it comes to the plants, however, it’s hard to have too much blue. Right now, I still have a few very late larkspur and a fading bumper crop of blue hydranges, mophead and lacecap. The original hydrangea bush, here since childhood, grew so huge this summer it overtook one of the flagstone paths. After weeks of horrid heat followed by torrential rains (sure prescription for mosquito boom), I pruned that bush this week.
I came in with at least three dozen welts on my ankles, arms and back. I was stung right through citronella-sprayed clothing, but it was worth it. The path looks better as do our living room and kitchen. The hydrangeas have a few scorched petals, but blue is blue is blue.
When I set them in the living room, I spotted the blue gazing ball a friend left at my door last summer. She’d heard I’d craved one since childhood. I’ve kept it indoors for safekeeping and because it would take the back garden past the tipping point. But maybe, just maybe, there’s a spot for it in the side garden, currently devoid of blue.