I belong to an internet-based group of friends who regularly share Purple Power with one another for emergency boosts of virtual support. If you have had an emergency recently that turned out for the best, then I firmly believe it was stray Purple Power that settled around you and made things all right.
To promote all things purple this Spring, I am going on a hunt to find the best purple flowers for the garden.
Lobelia: this dainty purple blossom enhances my winter garden here in zone 9, but it’s hardy all summer in most zones to the north. according to the USDA plant pages, Lobelia erinus L. or “edging lobeli”, is native to California, Oregon, Utah, Michigan and Pennsylvania. It doesn’t go into why it skipped the states in between, like Colorado, where I’ve so often seen it included in the summer plantings, but there it is. Lobelia is wonderful in hanging baskets, edging a bed, or in pots of all kinds.
Aster: Similar in appearance to a purple daisy, asters grow about 18 inches to three feet tall and have a light feel to their foliage in the garden. Technically, they belong in zone 3 – 8, so they are not ones that grow particularly well for me when I put them in the flower border, but pop up naturally in my pasture. Go figure. They show up in time for the fall garden, so perhaps I ought to wait until then to mention them, but they fit the purple theme.
Clemetis: Love, love, love this climbing vine. My Aunt Myrtle had a beautiful one on the post outside her kitchen window and the house sparrows loved to hide in the shadows of the leaves, peaking out to see if she had refilled their feeder perched at the top of the post on which they grew. Zone 4 – 9. Protect the roots against the sun which is necessary for good bloom growth. I dump a heap of compost on the base, which serves to both protect the roots and encourage lots of beautiful flowers.
Crocus: Spring would not happen without the happy opening of the deep purple buds of the crocus bulbs. Must have plant for any garden. It’s tougher to establish in my far-south location. the trick is to put the bulbs in pots — worth every bit of effort that goes in for those wonderfully fragrant spring blooms.
Passionflower: This is native in my area, so I catch them springing into life back in the woods behind our house. The fact that eventually they produce fruit which feed the wild birds is a happy plus. I know some make jelly out of the fruit, but my sild-feathered friends get them all way before I get to them. Zones 4 – 10. Vines can be up to 15 feet long. Work well in soil if heavily mulched, or in lightly mulched pots.
And last, but never least, Lavender:
I have had the worst, absolutely the worst, luck in growing this lovely herb. My cousin, Annie, whose farm Sunshine Lavender Farm in North Caroline has wonderful luck — or just works harder at it. I adore it for oh-so-many reasons. The scent, soothing, calming and lovely in any form. The sight of the grey-green foliage waving in the breeze, the deep purple blossoms standing proud above the leaves, waiting for us to pluck them and make them into sachets, teas, or bake them into delicious breads and cookies.