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Open Garden Mini Tour

Our garden will be open tomorrow (Sunday, June 4th) along with two other gardens in our area -  Ruth Clark 3111 NW 149th St, Vancouver, WA 98685  Vicki Green (and local glass artist Kevin Kanyo) 11914 NE 49th Court, Vancouver, WA 98686 Stop by for a stroll and lemonade and cookies! Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

The Blues

Chilean potato vine (Solanum crispum)

No, this is not a post about depression but rather the abundance of blue in the garden at the moment. It is one of my favorite colors in the garden and I don't think I've ever heard anyone say that they don't like blue flowers (although I'm sure there's one out there). Musing about this makes me wonder why I've never seen an all-blue garden? Hmmm...

First is a brand new Salvia that immediately caught my attention at Yard N' Garden Land. It is named Salvia x jamensis 'Elk Blue Note' -

Salvia x jamensis 'Elk Blue Note'

False Indigo (Baptisia 'Purple Smoke') is such a great plant. I also have the yellow variety as well as the common one. All are great -

Baptisia 'Purple Smoke'

 I'm thrilled that the Chilean Potato Vine (Solanum crispum 'Glasnevin') survived the winter -

Chilean potato vine (Solanum crispum)

Portuguese Squill (Scilla peruviana) - this plant came to the garden as a rescue from YnG. I planted it next to the driveway in the gravel bed and promptly forgot about it. The next year it bloomed and I had no idea what it was. I got an identification and again, forgot it until it bloomed again last week. Now I have it in stone (or even better, on computer) - Portuguese Squill. A tough plant - I backed over it in my truck last year and it wasn't fazed.

Portuguese Squill (Scilla peruviana)

Jacob's Ladder (not sure which one) -

Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium caeruleum)

Lithodora 'Grace Ward' - if only this bloomed longer!

Lithodora 'Grace Ward'

I've found many Penstemons to be unruly but there are those that are well-behaved. 'Electric Blue' seems to be one -

Penstemon 'Electric Blue'

I'm not sure why people say "you are such a pansy" because to me, they seem quite tough. True, they don't like heat and in the South, they were mostly toast by June but here in the PNW, they last all summer, provided there are not many heat waves.

The Pacific Coast Iris have really spread and they bloom better every year. It takes a few years for them to get going - 

Reuben Hatch gave me a piece of this groundcover called 'Blue-eyed Mary' (Omphaloides verna) and it will always be special to me for that reason. The blooms are sparse but so pretty -

'Blue-eyed Mary' (Omphaloides verna)

And finally, I include this clematis because of its name 'Multi-Blue'. I call this color PURPLE. It is so beautiful.

Clematis 'Multi-Blue'

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. I think it is rather difficult to find a true blue flowers which is probably why most can't have a "true-blue" garden. It seems to me 'Blue-eyed Mary' (Omphaloides verna) is an excellent, eye popping blue! The pansy and Lithodora are close seconds.
    My Brunnera jack frost have tiny sky-blue flowers. I delight in them always.

  2. I adore blue flowers and have planted just about all I can find that will survive in my climate. I grow Scilla peruviana too, although mine bloomed out in February. I grow a similar Penstemon too. I wish I could grow Baptisia but it's rejected my garden twice. A lot of my blues are annual (larkspur and sweet peas for example) but the Eyrngium 'Blue Glitter' I'm growing this year for the first time has impressed me.

  3. Salvia ulignosa has beautiful sky blue flowers that the bumblebees really love. It’s 4-5 feet, tho, and I’ve yet to find the perfect spot for it that doesn’t look messy. I think it would look great growing along a picket fence.

  4. Gorgeous, I'm a big blue fan as well. Hmmm, an all blue garden - someone out there needs to get on that! I love your Blue eyed Mary, how pretty and the blue is perfection.

  5. Blue fan here too. Really enjoyed seeing your collection. Those true-blue Pansies are beautiful--here we get one heat wave in winter (they are "cool season" plants for us) and they fry...

    Wow 'Multi Blue' Clematis is dazzling. The type IIs don't seem to like SoCal much--the viticellas do best.


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