Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Lobelia: les liaisons dangereuses

Maybe I didn't know this?  Or I didn't care? Or I thought that I could make it all be different?  Oh, the stories that we tell ourselves!

The Great Blue Lobelia Lobelia siphilitica that I tucked several years ago into the crook of the rain garden has adapted marvelously well. The parent plant is healthy and, this time of year, heavy-blooming. All it seems to need is moist soil, a cool corner, and a measure of sun and shade.  For these favors, I have been generously repaid.  Thanks, right?

Well, gratitude has not yet tipped to grievance, but I can see gasping out a curse or two in the future as I am buried under this bounty of riches. Seedlings of various ages have colonized this bed.  At present, I am happy to see their blue spires inhabiting a difficult space that is otherwise pretty rough and tumble.  I am weeding out all the other interlopers in order to make room just for these privileged upstarts . . . and at the same time wondering what dangers I'll be facing by my lobelia infatuation.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

I love living in a blue state . . .

. . . and I'm not limiting myself to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. No, I mean the blue--or almost blue--tones of late summer flowers. Sadly, I've got the blues this year from some of my favorites' failure to thrive: the larkspur has been effectively eliminated by rabbit predation and the blue flag iris sent up only a single flower.  But other cultivars have fared fair better.

    Salvia farinacea "Victoria Blue"

Spiky clumps of annual blue salvia flourish just about anywhere they are planted.  They look great--even when menaced by storm clouds--at the front of a mixed bed.

Phlox paniculata "Blue Paradise"
This garden phlox, "Blue Paradise," continues to bloom into September.  The individual flowers change color depending upon light conditions: a deeply saturated blue violet at dawn and dusk, a paler purple at midday. The petals stripe and blotch and cloud with different tones.
Great Blue Lobelia Lobelia siphilitica

I need to cleave out more space for this Great Blue Lobelia Lobelia siphilitica, which is busily colonizing the inner angle of the rain garden. The fellow was picked up two years ago from Bartram's Garden outside of Philadelphia. Yes, its growing habit is uncouth and its flower heads are large and coarse--but, oh, that color!