Garden Photo of the Day

Not Only Violets Are Blue: Part 1

A gardener sings the blues—that is, talks about all her beautiful blue plants

yellow tulips next to Virginia bluebells

Hi GPODers!

Wednesdays can bring on the midweek blues, but Kathy Schreurs is helping us see “blue” in a whole new light.

I’m Kathy Schreurs from northwest Iowa, where our hardiness zone has always been 4b. The USDA now describes us as being in Zone 5. I’ll believe it when my hydrangeas—which die back every winter—actually survive to bloom on old wood!

My husband and I live in an old house on property that was disputed in a Supreme Court case in 1895 (learn more about that fascinating case here). An Irish immigrant won against a railroad company, and the rest is Sheldon, Iowa, history.

It’s been an extremely long spring by our northwest Iowa standards: I spotted my first crocus mid-March, and other harbingers of spring (Virginia bluebells, lungworts, brunneras, and forget-me-nots) were just blooming their last on Memorial Day. The long spell of cool, often rainy weather went by uninterrupted by March blizzards or May heatwaves. There’s been time to slow down and enjoy the color of spring. I’ve noticed that while roses are red and violets are blue, several other early arrivals are blue(ish) too.

purple and white crocuses growing in a lawnI’ve been adding crocuses and other ephemerals to a portion of our lawn for several seasons now, and I was delighted when my granddaughter took up the practice last fall. One of us discovered that there is a Dutch word to describe this—stinzenplanten—which seems apt since it reflects our heritage.

Crocus tommasinianus

Yet another precious little crocus in Kathy’s lawn—I believe a type of early crocus (Crocus tommasinianus, Zones 3–9).

close up of Virginia bluebellsMy first Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica, Zones 3–9) were shared by my sister/neighbor about 15 years ago, and they’ve made their way around to other shady locations on our property. My sister moved several years ago, and we agreed recently that I should return the favor since she has none at her new home.

yellow tulips next to Virginia bluebellsA timeless color combination—Kathy planted yellow bulbs next to her Virginia bluebells, creating a pop of sunshine against the sea of blue flowers.

blue ajuga growing around tulips and hostasI’ve encouraged ‘Chocolate Chip’ ajuga (Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’, Zones 4–9) to wrap itself around a hosta bed at the front of the house. I love the river of blue it brings to the spot in the spring. This will be the first season without a large linden tree offering shade overhead, and I’m concerned that the hostas will burn. My favorite tulip is ‘Spring Green’.

close up of blue and pink LungwortAnother blue beauty in Kathy’s garden is lungwort. This variety’s flowers are strikingly similar to Virginia bluebells, but the distinctive foliage gives it away as a Pulmonaria.

close up of pasqueflowerI’m hoping that the native pasqueflower (Pulsatilla patens, Zones 3–9) I planted last summer will take off, but it had a rough spring. A day or two after it emerged and starting blooming, the neighborhood opossum—since relocated—chomped it off.

close up of a bicolor columbineAlso new last year was a bicolor columbine. This spring it was completely blue. 🤷‍♀️

Jack of Diamonds brunneraMy ‘Jack of Diamonds’ brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack of Diamonds’, Zones 3–9) caught more sun than it liked last summer, so I was happy to see it thriving this spring. It lives in the shade of an old lilac.

Kathy had so many blue plants to show off, we’ll be back singing the blues with her tomorrow!


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View Comments


  1. islandlover 06/05/2024

    Blues and purple are my favorite flower colors. Can’t wait until tomorrow. You have given me new plants to look for at the nursery!

  2. User avater
    simplesue 06/05/2024

    Thanks for info on "Stinzenplanten"! So interesting to learn the Dutch have a name for that!
    So nice to see your Iowa garden (I used to live in Manly Iowa)/ I love the photo with your Chocolate Chip Ajuga and the houses in the background!
    Such a pretty garden!

  3. User avater
    cynthia2020 06/05/2024

    Kathy - I enjoyed reading your gardening story and looking at all the photos. Thank you for sharing!

  4. user-6841468 06/06/2024

    why are we seeing the same garden twice in a week, usually two days in a row?

    1. User avater
      cynthia2020 06/06/2024

      user-6841468 - I would imagine that Garden Photo of the Day really does not get enough appropriate photographic submissions these days, so that the editors have been featuring the same garden over two days if the person submitting sent over e.g. nine photos. Fine Gardening is a business first and they monetize - although sometimes with the warm and supportive comments here it feels more like a friendly personal social media site. This is my opinion only - I don't work for FG.

    2. shegardens 06/06/2024

      Are you referring to the fact that the same garden is featured two days in a row? Or that the second set of photos weren’t posted, but instead the same GPOD was posted? Personally, I have no issue with the first, but it’s disappointing when there’s a rerun.

  5. btucker9675 06/06/2024

    Love the blues, especially when near yellows! I'm going to look for that brunnera - so pretty. Hope the pasqueflower makes a great comeback!

  6. khayes22 06/06/2024

    Hi everyone! To clear things up... we will feature the same garden two days in a row when someone shares lots of photos with us. They spent lots of time taking, compiling, and emailing out all the photos and descriptions that we try to share as many as we possibly can. For the other issue of getting reruns, that is unfortunately an email program issue that we run into. The GPOD email that gets sent out every morning is programmed and scheduled, they are not something we can send out out manually. And as with all technology, there are errors and issues. We try to catch and correct whenever we can, but mistakes happen. If you're seeing lots of reruns sent to your email, and feel so inclined to let us know, you can always send an email to [email protected]. But the reruns are only an email issue, a new post is still being added to the blog, the wrong post is just being sent to your email. You can few all posts here: and the top post is always the most recent. You'll also be directed to that landing page when you click on "Garden Photo of the Day" found directly above the title of the post. Hope that clears things up a little and sorry for the reruns!

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