August 14, 2009 | Panayoti Kelaidis, Senior Curator & Director of Outreach
Agapanthus 'Headbourne Hybrid'
Agapanthus 'Headbourne Hybrid'

Blue is my favorite color. Blue flowers will always be my favorites: gentians, campanulas, delphiniums and of course our refulgent, inimitable blue Colorado columbines. One of the most piercing and beautiful of blue flowers is Agapanthus, associated for many of us with California. And of course South Africa (by the way, they are not lilies and they do not come from the Nile!). Few realize that there are perfectly hardy forms of this gorgeous bulb: you can find examples here and there throughout Denver Botanic Gardens right now and even a few local nurseries are starting to stock them. The hardiest form is Agapanthus campanulatus ssp. patens, which is found at the highest elevations in the Drakensberg Mountains where winters are long and icy. It was the primary parent in the 'Headbourne Hybrids', a variable strain that seems every bit as tough provided they are given good rich loam and periodic deep watering in Colorado (the Drakensberg are not dry mountains!). Their cobalt and navy blue color provides a perfect foil to red hot pokers and the orange daisies that predominate this time of year. These pictures were taken in the South African Plaza. It does wonders to cool your garden (and your psyche) now in the hottest months of summer!

South African Plaza planting


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