Hi Todd, I agree that Gentiana angustifolia 'frei' is one of the best. It definitely has staying power. This year I'm trying G.angustifolia 'Iceberg' - do you know it? I heard from Cliff Booker that you were a long way from spring when he was there. This has just been a wierd winter with huge temperature swings and everything 3 weeks ahead of itself.
Another good one for the garden is Paederota bonarota. The blue is not as good in my garden as it is in nature but it's still a very nice color and an easy plant to grow.
When I see the pictures you all take I understand that I have to buy me a new camera. My old automatic simply won't focus of what I want! I have not tried Moltkia before and Paederota is quite new to me. Is it a dry climate plant?
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!
Anne, I have grown Iceberg...it is lovely but unfortunately it died this winter...heaved right out of the ground. This has been one of the coldest springs on record for us. Three days ago the temp finally reached above normal! The trees are now flushing before my eyes. Still have loads of daffs and tulips open...in fact, some tulips are still just green buds! The last place in North America to have tulips open....that is our claim to fame!
St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
1800 mm precipitation per year
Paederota bonarota is from the Dolomites and is alpine, at least where I've seen it. It starts at treeline and I don't really know how high it goes. I've almost always seen it on limestone growing in crevices. I have it planted in the tufa crevice garden where it seems to be permanent. It doesn't like hot and dry but survives it, perhaps because its toes are clinging to tufa. It is absolutely gorgeous in nature and pretty good in the garden, really worth growing. I'm attaching a picture of it growing in the Dolomites
Compared to some of the other plants shown, this one is a bit humble but a wonderful blue and easy to grow - Dracocephalum argunense. The picture shows it growing next to the driveway where it is regularly plowed in the winter but comes through with a smile. It starts to bloom in June and continues to hard frost. If you like primary, it's great pared with Zinnia grandiflora.
I grow some Dracocephalum species here but none has started flowering yet.Paederota bonarota is now on my expanding wish list!
Lithodora diffusa 'Heavenly Blue' has become a popular plant here after introduction some years ago. My plant has crept into the street where it is regularly hit by cars!
Love all these blue things, once grew that Draco, must get it back one day, the Paederota really turns my head... one of those obscure names easily overlooked until one sees a photo (as they say, a photo is worth a... ;D), and what's not to like about the heavenly blue of Lithodora.
This sunny hot days beckons me to be outdoors, and when I go outside from my basement door, the first thing I see are the blue globes of an extra fine form of Allium caeruleum "DBG Form" (Denver Botanic garden) that I received bubs of a few years back. The flowers are sweet scented, and I caught a photo with a wasp (around these parts called "yellow jackets") feeding on the nectar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_jacket).
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
Glad to see the Allium is blooming for you: It's been blooming here for a week or so and is hanging in there...
That Paederota is awesome, Ann! I've grown its yellow cousin (not very well) but never gotten the blue one. It reminds me a bit of a wonderful veronica I saw in Mongolia; I shall see if I can put my hands on its picture. It may be in the next NARGS bulletin come to think of it..never got a name for it: shoot!
For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.