A Study on Color: Blue in the Garden

In the last couple of weeks, I took a trip to New England for the 2017 APLD International Design Conference. While there, we toured a garden in Newport, Rhode Island called The Blue Garden.

This garden and its “rooms” were once part of Newport’s social scene, however, at some point it fell into disrepair. The gardens have now been restored and are just lovely. You can read more about it here.

The psychology of the color blue is pretty varied; blue is associated with emotions ranging from serenity to aloofness. Blue is also associated with intelligence and confidence. Unlike the aggressive dominance of red, blue projects calm confidence and power. In the garden, blue creates a contemplative and peaceful feeling.

So how can you incorporate blue in your outdoor living space? While true blue is a little more difficult to find, there is a wide range that spans from the silvery blue of a Colorado Blue Spruce Tree to the deeper bluish-purple of Speedwell.

Here are three plants that do well in the Midwest that you can use to incorporate blue into your garden:

Hostas: With nearly 600 varieties of hostas, there is a good chance you can find a blue one that you will enjoy. To get the most “bang for your buck,” you may want to choose the Blue Angel Hosta. It has very large, heart-shaped, blue-green leaves. The plant itself can grow as large as 3 feet high and 4 feet wide.

Kit Cat Nepeta: Also known as Catmint, this perennial offers grey-green foliage. The flowers are aromatic and a lovely shade of blue. Even more fun, it will attract winged friends – like butterflies! It blooms in late spring and continues through mid-summer.

Caradonna Salvia: This perennial is very similar to Speedwell in looks. But the colors are what really sets it apart. Spikes of violet-blue flowers on striking purple-black stems rise above the contrasting gray-green leaves.

You can also include blue planters (like in the picture of The Blue Garden) or blue furniture or cushions and pillows.