Friday, July 13, 2007

Echinops 'Platinum Blue'

Years ago I grew “generic” Echinops ritro in a big planting of perennials. I liked it, but over the years I lost interest in it. For one thing, I had seen much more handsome Echinops in other gardens; these were more compact, had much better color and the spheres of flowers were larger.

Two years ago I bought three Echinops ‘Platinum Blue’ from Bluestone. They didn’t bloom the first year but slowly put on size. When they bloomed this year, they made a big, favorable impression. So far it has remained under thirty inches high.The color is an intense blue, just the thing to liven up the relatively dull color of Echinacea purpurea ‘Razzmatazz’ which grows nearby.

Now that I’ve actually seen these plants in bloom and in full growth, I’m beginning to get ideas about how to use them more effectively. The only other garden flower which looks anything like this is Allium caeruleum, but the Allium is shorter, blooms a bit earlier and has smaller flower umbels of a less intense but still very lovely blue.

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