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My Winter Blues

January 13, 2010

Wintry shades of blue

The Rancho’s got the blues this winter but that doesn’t mean we’re down in the dumps. How could we be when the weather’s so gorgeous, when there’s not a cloud in the sky and when everywhere I look my plants are looking so happy. It was while I was puttering and pruning over the weekend that I noticed the amazing color of a recently-acquired acacia’s blue foliage. Its tiny, feathery leaf clusters are usually a dusty blue/green ā€” they’re still that color ā€” but they’re also a powdery purple/blue right now. It’s an amazing color progression, but it’s only the beginning. The blues begin here …

The mood is blue

The mood is blue for winter

Aloe, echeveria, senecio: all in mellow shades of blue. A striated aloe, far left, goes graphic with stripes in blue, green and pale yellow. Echeveria spirals out in layers of dusty blue/green petal-like leaves, center. Senecio fingers point approvingly to the winter sun in chalky clusters at right.

Blue's cool, outlined or tipped

Accent blue with contrasting colors and the results are striking. Left, an amazing frilled agave tops off each pale blue leaf with deadly-sharp spikes in almost-black purple. Another agave, center, outlines its leaves with a great yellow contrasting stripe, to better show off its energetic form. At right, a third agave traces each leaf darkly, allowing its thorny defensive spikes to serve an additional decorative function.

Blue looks great with purple

Blue and red make purple, just check any color wheel. And, blue and purple make great music in the garden. A turquoise groundcover’s stems, in terrific pinky/lavender, make a low-growing succulent worthy of closer inspection, at left. A huge blue echeveria looks like an otherworldly rosette when each petal’s edge is etched in deep lavender, at center. On the right, a silver dollar crassula’s pudgy pads are seamed in a lovely shade of violet.

Blue goes up in smoke

Smoky blues are all over the Rancho’s winter garden. An elegant agave’s leaves are elongated visually when in a striking yellow and blue/green combination, left. Pilosocereus cactus, center, echo each other’s stances perfectly in hazy blue with yellow-orange spines. A large agave’s cloudy blue tone enhances the sturdy-yet-lyrical form common to this variety,

Blue's cool stands out

Blue easily stands alone in the garden, cool and collected. But add blue to the mix with hotter colored succulents and you’ll get something truly special. A shot of blue’s coolness interacting visually with greens, reds, oranges, and other common dry garden colors, creates an energizing tension. Blue complements these colors and makes them more intense to the viewer, just look at the picture above … my winter blues? I wouldn’t dream of chasing them away!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Cherie permalink
    January 13, 2010 11:05 pm

    These plants are fabulous and I wouldn’t believe they’re on one property overseen by a couple of non-professional gardeners and photographers except that I have seen them all myself a few weeks ago. It’s amazing!! Thanks for the sites (both your place and this website).

  2. reubix1 permalink*
    January 13, 2010 11:18 pm

    Thanks so much, Cher!

  3. January 14, 2010 12:42 am

    REUBEN!! Amazing!! And do I detect some Latin creeping in? I’m impressed. Now, when do I get to see this place for myself?

  4. Denise permalink
    January 14, 2010 10:17 pm

    These blues I can live with! And I was downtown yesterday and was able to see the new Police Department plantings in person. It really is wonderful. What a “light bulb” moment this must be for garden designers — all these cool plants that require little water and can take all the heat and glare an urban setting can give. Thanks for the tip!

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