Pan­tone’s color pick in­spires gar­den­ers

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - GARDEN - By Nor­man Win­ter

The new year is rockin’ thanks to Proven Win­ners’ in­tro­duc­tion of the Rockin’ Blue Suede Shoes salvia. Not only will this salvia bring in the hum­ming­birds, bees and but­ter­flies all sum­mer, but it will be trend­ing with the cel­e­bra­tion of 2020 Pan­tone Color of the Year: Clas­sic Blue

To be ex­act, Clas­sic Blue is Pan­tone 19-4052, for those want­ing to be in vogue by paint­ing the mas­ter bed­room or liv­ing room or tweak the wardrobe. In the gardening world, I look at the Pan­tone Col­ors of the Year with the prover­bial “chip card.”

Chip cards are what ev­ery­one gets at the paint store where the top of the card has Clas­sic Blue and as you glance down­ward it takes you through the var­i­ous re­lated shades. When it comes to flow­ers, it would be near im­pos­si­ble to be ex­act on Pan­tone 19-4052.

Blue is one of the col­ors that catches your eye when used in the gar­den and is a color we all trea­sure. The word “blue” it­self can cause con­fu­sion and in­voke sev­eral dif­fer­ent feel­ings or thoughts be­cause it car­ries a lot of mean­ings in the English cul­ture and lan­guage. Friends are true blue or per­haps you are feel­ing blue.

What we do know is that most of us want some blue in our gar­dens. It is the ul­ti­mate cool color, and I don’t mean “in vogue,” ei­ther. Blue is unique in that if you give it a hint of an­other color, you still have a shade of blue. Oddly, th­ese blue shades work har­mo­niously with each other.

So, while Pan­tone and its color gu­rus set the new trend, know that the gar­den world wants to be a par­tic­i­pant and join the Clas­sic Blue cel­e­bra­tion. Proven Win­ners has gone full on­board, de­vel­op­ing pro­mo­tional pieces show­cas­ing its ex­tra­or­di­nary blue flow­ers. In all, there is a baker’s dozen of tried-andtrue, award-win­ning blue flow­ers for gar­den­ers to use in cre­at­ing daz­zling de­signs.

Rockin’ Blue Suede Shoes salvia, de­but­ing this spring, of­fers a most rare shade of blue cou­pled with an in­cred­i­ble per­for­mance. As gar­den gu­rus, we of­ten catch our­selves us­ing de­scrip­tors such as hum­ming­bird mag­net or pol­li­na­tor mag­net. With Rockin’ Blue Suede Shoes salvia, get the cam­era ready.

In my gar­den it reached just un­der 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, bloom­ing un­til late Novem­ber. It was a never-end­ing feast by hum­ming­birds, swal­low­tails, mon­archs and var­i­ous sul­phur but­ter­flies.

Denim ’n Lace is an­other out­stand­ing choice and is the 2020 Proven Win­ners Na­tional Peren­nial of the Year. It will quickly be­come the Rus­sian sage to which all oth­ers are com­pared. The Gar­den Guy has al­ways loved Rus­sian sage (Perovskia atrip­li­ci­fo­lia) even though they were typ­i­cally loose and airy and fall­ing over.

Denin ’n Lace is dif­fer­ent, of­fer­ing blue flow­ers part­nered with amethyst ca­lyxes and borne on sturdy 32-inch up­right stems with a 36-inch spread. It will bloom mid­sum­mer through fall, adding rich beauty while bring­ing in hum­ming­birds and at the same time of­fer­ing deer re­sis­tance.

Catalina Mid­night Blue (tore­nia or wish­bone flower) and Blue My Mind (evolvu­lus) are two more out­stand­ing choices in the baker’s dozen. Both have won awards from Texas to Michi­gan and Ge­or­gia to Min­nesota. Catalina Mid­night Blue is a deep blue, true-blue, while Blue My Mind of­fers olive gray­green fo­liage that sports icy-blue blooms.

Re­mem­ber that blue works with any other color in the gar­den. Its op­po­site is or­ange, which may be the most won­der­ful mar­riage in gardening. Last year’s Pan­tone Color of the Year, Liv­ing Coral, also cre­ates a take-your-breath-away part­ner­ship with blue. Lastly, put your fa­vorite blue with red and you have the be­gin­ning of a pa­tri­otic gar­den. Make plans now and let Pan­tone Clas­sic Blue be the in­spi­ra­tion in plant­ing this spring.


Mon­archs are among sev­eral species of but­ter­flies that will feast on Rockin’ Blue Suede Shoes salvia.


Denim ’n Lace of­fers blue flow­ers with amethyst ca­lyces on stiff 32-inch stems.


The Pan­tone Color In­sti­tute has named Clas­sic Blue as its color of the year for 2020.

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