THE COLOUR OF SKY

NZ Gardener - - Canterbury Plants -

Here, from the op­po­site ends of the Earth, are two of the most dra­matic sky blue flow­ers: • Hi­malayan poppy ( Me­conop­sis be­toni­ci­fo­lia) Stems are nearly 2m high, sport­ing 30 blooms up to 10cm across – that’s this poppy at its hap­pi­est, ac­cord­ing to one of my books, though I never man­aged any­thing ap­proach­ing this. Give your­self a fight­ing chance by em­u­lat­ing as closely you can its cen­tral Asian habi­tat of woods and scrubs along­side alpine meadow streams: grow it in mod­er­ately rich, well-drained soil in par­tial shade – prefer­ably from hot af­ter­noon sun – and shel­tered from strong winds. Never stint on wa­ter­ing. • Chatham Is­land for­get-me-not

( Myoso­tid­ium hort­en­sia) Big, glossy bright-green pleated leaves grow up to 50cm across. Its fa­bled flow­ers, which range from a pale pinky blue to a deep azure, are borne in 15cm wide pyra­mi­dal clus­ters.

Once you suss out a good spot for it, this mega­herb will re­ward you for years, with self-seeded seedlings re­plac­ing older plants as they die. It is how­ever, not al­ways easy to pro­vide the ideal spot or con­di­tions! On the is­lands, it grows along the coast, so in your gar­den, give it semi-shade and never let the soil dry out, as it is shal­low rooted.

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