Jolts of blue from a Russian sage

The gardeners at Rosemoor love this small shrub because it can be used in so many planting combinations

Perovskia 'Blue Spire'As long as Perovskia 'Blue Spire' (left) is pruned hard when the buds begin to swell in early spring, it is easy to keep looking good. There are many inspired planting combinations in the formal gardens at Rosemoor and as long as you have a sunny, well drained spot (but not too fertile) you will have success with this plant. It is especially useful in Devon as it tolerates coastal conditions and as far as pests and diseases are concerned it is generally trouble free. All in all, P. 'Blue Spire' is an ideal plant for the low maintenance garden.

The soft violet-blue flowers and silver-grey leaves, lend this plant to combine well with purples, lilacs, pinks and blues as in the long border at Rosemoor. Here we have planted it in a large group for impact with deep pink Stachys macrantha 'Superba', soft lilac pink Campanula lactiflora 'Loddon Anna' and rosy Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Rosea'. In the Spiral Garden (again in a large group), pink Sedum spectabile, soft lavender blue Nepeta 'Six Hills Giant' and Aster ericoides 'Rosy Veil' make excellent planting companions.

For contrast, it works well with yellows, for example, in the West Country Town garden Stachys byzantina 'Primrose Heron' forms a carpet of yellowish-green leaves and the more strident canary yellow flowers of Potentilla recta 'Warrenii' (right) enhance the blue of the Perovskia flowers. It also works well with the contrasting forms of  grasses such as blue-grey leaved Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal'; this combination can also be found in the West Country Town garden.
 
Perovskia 'Blue Spire' is available in the Rosemoor Plant Centre as are some of the other plants mentioned, so that you can create these lovely summer planting combinations in your own garden.

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