On Blue Gentians

During these late August days, one of my favourite plants in bloom are the blue Gentians (Gentiana septemfida var. lagodechiana), pictured at right. As soon as the sun appears – and that has been a scarce commodity for the past week – the blooms open and I can’t get enough of them.

The blue is such an intense one, found so rarely in plants. The long throats are tinged in purple and make for a lovely contrast. Several new buds are about to open as well, so I hope that I can enjoy these flowers for a few more days … or longer.

For some reason, I have had good success with Gentians in my garden. There are two other varieties that do well, though their blooms are not as breathtaking as the ones pictured here.

Supposedly, as the week rolls on and as my son prepares for a return to school on Thursday, our weather will warm again. One of the only advantages to these cooler days is that the Heavenly Blue Morning Glory blooms stay open all day long. I can’t resist showing yet another photograph from yesterday. I can’t promise that this will be the last either, since they are gorgeous – an entirely different shade of blue from the Gentians.

Does anyone remember this post from long-ago springtime about Kenilworth Ivy ?

At the time, I hadn’t a clue what it was called, but Jodi at Bloomingwriter identified it for me. I have two huge pots of this ivy growing on either side of my back porch in addition to several small patches tumbling over rocks in both the front and back gardens.

Every year, the ivy grows without any effort on my part. Seeds also fall among the bricked patio and so bits of Kenilworth Ivy can be seen everywhere. I love it and rarely ever remove any of it. It dies off every fall, but leaves lots of seeds ready to start growing come spring.

And for my all my dog-loving friends, here is a picture of Lytton, my brown lab, snoozing in his favourite spot along with Berry Bolanski, his beloved bear (so named by my son).

God made a little gentian;
It tried to be a rose
And failed, and all the summer laughed.
But just before the snows
There came a purple creature
That ravished all the hill.
(Emily Dickinson)

33 thoughts on “On Blue Gentians

  1. Barbara says:

    Hi Kate, first I want to thank you for your visit and your kind comment on my blog. Then I have seen, that your blog is also very interesting and I’ll certainly come back again to visit you !! I like the blue gentian, but in my garden they never grew well, and I don’t know why. The almost yellow ivy is very nice and it has a special leave form that I didn’t see before (for me it looks a bit like alchemilla mollis /ladies mantle).Have a nice day!Barbara

  2. MariaJ says:

    My friend gave me this same ivy this summer and I just love it! I also know the Gentias but havent bought them yet. I should cause I agree the color is very rare in the garden. (Especially the sort of you have). Oh and we also had a black lab once so my heart jumps every time I see them!

  3. Sandy says:

    Always a treat to see more blue flowers. I haven’t tried growing gentians, will have to look into that. My grandsons will be starting school tomorrow. I spoke to Josh, the older one this morning and he ready to get back to school. Now, Greg, his younger brother, is a totally different story!We are having wonderful weather for gardening, and I have been getting a lot of work done. I find though, that my mind is turning toward quilting and sewing projects. Thank God for seasons to keep us fresh and interested! By the end of winter, though, I will be more than ready to get back to the dirt.

  4. chatrine says:

    Hi Kate, I must say you have a nice dog! He looks very relaxed:) Your flowers are georgious!! I can`t wait to have flowers in my garden.. Thank`s for visiting my site, and your nice comment to me! I am now working on translating all my resent posts, so that you will be able to read:) I wish you a nice day!

  5. self taught artist says:

    hey kate, thanks for your comment a few days ago on my blog, I appreciated your words!ps I love the pooch!

  6. Layanee says:

    That is a gorgeous gentian. I don’t have any…yet! I think they are a necessity. Do you have a good source for gentians? Tucker would like Lytton.

  7. jodi says:

    Gentians are marvelous, aren’t they? I especially love how they put on this breathtaking show NOW, when so much of the garden is heading into oranges, yellows, golds and russets (or hot magenta pink). I would like to try the spring flowering types too, although with our climate, I might have more problems…but they grow well on the south shore. Lytton looks like a great boy. Does he mind when your son goes off to school? The cat children look doubtful but said if he’s your dog then he’s probably okay. 🙂

  8. Into the Blystic says:

    Hi KateGreat blog! Thanks for stopping by mine! Beeautiful gardens!!! I an especially envious of your morning glories… one my favourite flowers! namaste Elis.

  9. Alyssa says:

    Those gentians are lovely and Ms. Dickinson has certainly captured a wild image of a flower covered hill. Love that!Lytton looks so sweet with his teddy. Does he chew on it? Because it looks in very good shape. I think it’s just his furry pal to snuggle.The ivy is such a “spring” green and looks so delicate. But it sounds pretty hardy leaving lots of seeds to start again. The leaves look like tiny Lady’s Mantle.

  10. chigiy at Gardeners Anonymous says:

    I enjoyed reading your post.The Gentians look sort of like Canterbury Bells.Except they’re bluer and the petals are different and the leaves are a little different and O.K. maybe they don’t look that much like Canterbury Bells.Lytton looks so cute and cozy with Berry Bolanski.I just want to scratch him behind the ears.

  11. Sheri says:

    blue gentian… I didn’t know that was what it was called! very beautiful and I don’t think I’ve seen one of those yet…love the emily dickinson poem

  12. Clare says:

    Hi Kate! Oh, I have to show Moose this photo of Lytton with Berry Bolanski!! What a sweet picture — Lytton looks adorable and the bear is too cute. And the blue color of your gentians is out of this world! Very cool!!:)

  13. Tammy says:

    Hi Kate!Your blog is so pretty and full of flowers I’ve never seen. Our bulbs are done for the year and not many flowers can survive triple degree heat.I’m a die hard animal lover. I am still grieving over my beloved 17yr old Manny (black lab) who passed last year.. I kept his doll for my other dog. Lytton is very handsome!XXOO

  14. kate says:

    Barbara – Sometimes Gentians can be really picky about their soil, although this variety is pretty easygoing. I like this Ivy – the leaves are delicate and the little white/purple flowers are adorable. The leaves are shaped like Lady’s Mantle.MariaJ – This is one of the easiest Gentians to grow. I like the idea that they are blooming now too. I love labs. They are such easygoing dogs.Sandy – It is a trat to see blue flowers always! It seems, as children get older, they don’t mind so much the thought of going back to school. When my son was younger, he hated to see the summer end. Now he wants to get back to see his friends. I am like you with having my thoughts turn toward indoor activities. I am trying to finish off my wall in the next few days… if the weather holds this weekend, I’ll be able to do that (I hope!)Dhatrine – Lytton is a very relaxed dog, at least most of the time! I am amazed at how you can translate your posts … that will be wonderful. I’ll be back to read them. Self-taught artist – Thanks for dropping by – L. is my good buddy. He’s a great dog. Layanee – If I find Gentians, which isn’t very often, I snap them up. The ones that have done well are from Heritage Perennials (www.perennials.com)I think Tucker and Lytton would have a great time together! Linda – I gsve L. some extra kisses from you!Jodi – I have one early-blooming Gentian, but it didn’t bloom this year. I think I disturbed it and it pouted. L.will spend the first days of school waiting at the front door for my son. After a week or so, he gets so that he knows when the bus comes and he’ll be at the door waiting. L. would probably get along with your cats. Hazel trained him well, so he shows great respect and most cats tolerate his presence. Elis – The morning glories are doing great this year. I’m glad to have had the time – frost-free – to enjoy them. Alyssa – I loved this Dickinson poem even though I’m not in the least bit religious. Lytton loves Berry and takes him everywhere. He licks him constantly. Until L. was about 6 months old, he chewed on stuffed animals and decimated my son’s collection. Even Berry has a sewn-up face from when Lytton removed his nose. The ivy is really a spring green colour, as you say and does have lady’s Mantle-shaped leaves. I love that I don’t have to do anything with it. It just shows up all on its own. Chigiy – The Gentianss do have the same flower shape as Canterbury Bells and do look like them. I scratched Lytton behind his ears for you!Sheri – Gentians aren’t that common, which is a shame. Some varieities, like this one, are easy to grow and pretty tolerant of most soils.Clare – Lytton says hi to Moose and wishes they could get together and play with that purple frisbee ring! Tammy – I think we grieve our animals forever.So many things remind us of them. Manny really lived for a long time for a lab.

  15. Mary says:

    Those Gentians are gorgeous. The blooms look huge. And, those morning glories are so bright!Lytton is a gem. I love labs for their easy-going nature. He certainly knows how to relax with his little furry friend. So Cute!

  16. Cris Bolbosa says:

    Hi Kate, first I want to thanks your visit to my bulb garden. Visit it everytime you want. Today I visited your garden and I liked very much, it has so much green and very beatiful flowers.Cris

  17. Connie says:

    The gentians are a lovely shade of blue and I love that sweet little ivy!! My heavenly blue morning glory has been a little slow this year and the first one just opened this morning, a cause for celebration. 🙂

  18. Pam says:

    I never saw a blue gentian before, what a beautiful flower! Love the picture of your dog and his bear.

  19. Robin's Nesting Place says:

    Kate, the morning glory is beautiful. I would never tire of seeing pictures of it. It is named appropriately, indeed a heavenly blue. My dog loves stuffed animals too, but they don’t last very long since she chews on them.

  20. Annie in Austin says:

    Your blues are beautiful, Kate. I looked up the Gentiana septemfida and found that Bluestone carries the species but not the cultivar ‘lagodechiana’. I’m so tempted but could not sentence such a lovely flower to death in Texas, so will be happy with the blue butterfly pea. The Kenilworth ivy has such a good full shape in those pots.Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  21. Nicole says:

    Love those blue hued photos. Lytton looks like he’s quite enjoying his nap, and reminds me a bit of mt PottRott-when he was a young puppy people used to ask if he was a lab.

  22. kris says:

    Hi Kate – I love your blue gentians. I’m getting quite a list of plants to try from your posts!! Lytton looks like a sweetheart. Our dogs love toys made out of lamb’s wool – they lick them and occasionally do a little chewing – and carry them everywhere. I have mixed memories about my sons heading back to school – nice to have the house to myself, but I always enjoyed their summers at home.Can’t wait to see your wall!!

  23. Ki says:

    Whenever I read about gentians I think of the gentian violet antifungal preparation. We visited my mother’s uncles pig farm when I was a kid and they had painted the piglet’s testicle area with gentian violet after castrating them. I often wondered if the preparation was made from the plant but I think it was the color of the preparation that was reminiscent of gentians. An unfortunate association.Again another lovely morning glory.

  24. Dirty Fingernails says:

    I have never even heard of or seen that type of flower.. Is it a cool weathered friend?? The color is fantastic..

  25. Molly says:

    I love the kenilworth ivy and it kills me to read that it’s so easy to propagate! I bought one at a plant sale a few years ago but it died out (or the feral chicken dug it out, I’m not sure). I should try to find some seeds and start it that way.I love the kenilworth ivy. I bought one at a plant sale a few years ago but it died out (or the feral chicken dug it out, I’m not sure). I should try to find some seeds and start it that way.

  26. Rowan says:

    The gentian is a beautiful blue but I actually prefer the softer colour of the Morning Glory. Love the photo of Lytton and Berry Bolanski – what a great name for a bear:)

  27. MrBrownThumb says:

    Nice to see someone still growing that MG. I like most people have become suckers for the fancy cultivars.

  28. Naturegirl says:

    Lytton is gorgeous!! Labs are such perfect pets! Oh those blues I love them! My morning glories are my sunshine these days and a few others with four legs!! hugs NG

  29. A wildlife gardener says:

    Exquisite blue of the gentian does it for me every time:) Come on over for a little breather to see the video I took of butterflies which came to Barleycorn yesterday 🙂

  30. No Rain says:

    When I was a kid, the doctor has some medicine called gentian violet. I wonder if it comes from the plant, or if it refers to the color. Guess I’ll have to do some research! They are a beautiful blue.Aiyana

  31. shannon says:

    Kate, I saw blue gentians for the first time blooming in intense profusion just a couple of weeks ago when I visited the incredible Reford Gardens (also known as Jardins Metis) in Grand Metis on the south shore of the St. Lawrence in Quebec. It was my second visit, and what a gorgeous garden. Given your penchant for all things blue, I believe you would love the Reford gardens. Elsie Reford, the garden’s creator (beginning in 1926) was among the first in North America to successfully cultivate the Himalayan Blue Poppy. I’ve only visited the gardens in August, so I’ve never seen the blue poppies in bloom, but I hope to someday. If you’re interested, you can find out more at http://www.jardinsmetis.com/english

  32. kate says:

    I have never heard of the Reford Gardens before, which is pretty amazing considering I lived in Ottawa for a long stretch and visited in Quebec regularly. I will visit the website. Thank you for the link. I think you are fortunate to have seen lots of gentians in bloom. It must have been a wonderful sight.

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