Sunday, April 24, 2011

Needed: More purple

I used to wonder about all of the fuss over Amsonia as I looked at the struggling pallid specimens in our new garden... until I saw a specimen of Hubricht's amsonia in full sun at the JC Raulston Arboretum, and then an Amsonia tabernaemontana deep in the dappled shade of a slough on our farm. It's all about location. The Hubricht's Amsonia at the Arboretum was full and lush and feathery, the perfect foliage plant. In contrast the Amsonia from our farm is a sickly yellow-green in full sun, and the true light blue flowers manage to clash with everything. Give it some shade and it's transformed. The foliage is a wonderful shade of blue-tinted green that is a perfect complement to the flowers.

Eastern bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana) from the farm

The Baptisias are beautiful long before the flowers are fully open.

Baptisia alba

Purple would really tie the true blue amsonia, red columbine and white baptisia together, don't you think?

Vetch is about the closest to pink or purple that grows in this part of my garden, but it can't grow among the columbine because it will smother them. It does look good growing up the old stalks of Panicum though.

The color of Eastern Columbine can be hard to reconcile with the rest of the garden, although I love the flower form. There is a pastel version but naturally it hasn't popped up where I want it, nor have the ones I have transplanted lived. If I can get this new crop of Baptisia going there will be plenty of purple, since most of my blue baptisia are actually purple.

In addition to the lavender and blue-violet of Blue Baptisia, bright purple would be just the thing.

I have some iris going there but they are the white and yellow iris from GH's grandmother's garden. They look great there too with the white Baptisia and the yellow petticoats of the columbine and a planned pairing no less, but something's still missing...

deep rich royal purple.

Iris kochii
Iris kochii is one of my favorite iris and one of my favorite flowers, although I think I say that about everything. I wish you could smell the fragrance ~ divine!

Wishing you and yours a Happy Easter!


  1. Deep Easter-Egg Purples are not hard to come by. I just blogged about some of my favs.

    Purples are my Fav

  2. The issue is getting them to grow in that part of my garden! :)

    One day I will have the big swatch of Iris kochii that I have admired in others' gardens...

  3. I wish I had as many purples as you have growing in your gardens. Although, I do have quite a few, just not what you grow, since I live down here in a tropical climate.

    Love your many wonderful blooms ~ FlowerLady

  4. I love your garden ! And you have a lot of unknown plants for me. Beautiful !

  5. You asked about Salvia leucantha blooming now in my garden. It blooms rather half-heartedly in late spring, then rests until early fall when it puts on the REAL show. I think it must be day-length sensitive and if it puts out new growth early enough it can get in a little spring bloom. Some springs it doesn't bloom at all.

  6. Happy Easter

    Good luck creating a swathe of iris kochii.

    I hope you don't cut back the amount of photos you post, beautiful images.

  7. Beautiful flowers! The deep purple Iris is really pretty!

  8. Beautiful! Always a delight spending time in your gardens.
    I love flowers when they have bees and butterflies visiting!
    Any color works for me as long as a bug is about!
    Happy Easter.

  9. The photo of the iris with the columbine in the background is gorgeous. And I had to laugh over the cowlick comments. It made me think of a colleague who keeps her hair very short due to rampant curls. She's often complaining of her cowlicks.

  10. Have not heard of that last iris, but the idea of a really fragrant one is very appealing, and there is never enough purple for me :)

  11. Those amsonia tabernaemontana shots are gorgeous. Mine grows in full sun and looks just as good, but maybe up here in the north it is happier in sun than where you are.

  12. You have so many blooms I can't imagine you wishing for anything else :). My garden lacks sky-blue, it doesn't seem to be the color in which sub-tropical plants come...

  13. Purple is one of my favorite colors in the garden! ....and blue....and pink...


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