The star turns in our London garden are performed by those plants that can survive with their heads in semi-shade and their roots in dense, damp, unctuous clay. Some plants give stardom a shot, only to find the going tough after a season: these one-hit wonders fade away and are quickly forgotten. But a few enjoy the challenge, thrive on it even, returning year after year to delight with a virtuoso performance. One such star, or perhaps I should stay starlet, is Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Cherry Ingram’ AGM.
Akin to the biennial forget-me-not, this neat, well-behaved perennial produces masses of vivid indigo-blue flowers in spring, hence the common name ‘blue-eyed Mary‘. This year my clump, which has developed from a single plant acquired some years ago from Sissinghurst, has flowered before nary a leaf has unfurled. I can only think this might be a consequence of the very cold nights we’ve been experiencing. The lack of foliage matters not. In fact it means the vibrancy of the flowers is highlighted all the more by a backdrop of manure and magnolia petals. Oh the glamour of it all!
To grow Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Cherry Ingram’ successfully, all that’s needed is a rich soil (clearly texture is not an issue) and cool shade. The blue flowers are fabulous on their own, planted beneath a host of golden daffodils or amongst a carpet of sulphurous primroses: yellows, creams and whites are great friends to blue at this time of the year. Like Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, blue-eyed Mary has staying power, delivering a command performance every time.
Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Cherry Ingram’ is available from Dorset Perennials, Great Dixter Gardens and Bluebell Cottage Gardens.
Categories: Daily Flower Candy, Flowers, Plants
17 comments On "Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back"
Oh they’re gorgeous! How late can one plant the seeds?
Hi Val. Omphalodes can be grown from seed but there are not many sources. It’s probably easier to buy plants from a nursery if you can.
Love that shade of blue…Have grown this one for a few years now, a small clump from an inspired plants woman’s garden…As someone with rather more shade than sun to grow in, this plant really offers that cerulean hit reliablly, and, as you note, for quite a few weeks. Maxfield Parrish eat your heart out : )
I had to look up Maxfield Parrish. Now I understand exactly what you mean!
Lovely. I used to grow masses of this in Scotland. It is such a fantastic blue and incredibly tough.
I agree, the blue is quite startling.
Interesting plants, rather not suitable for my sandy and sunny ( in most parts ) garden. I can enjoy yours. Thanks for sharing.
Can I swap some of my cool and shady for your sandy and sunny? 😉
Blue does something doesn’t it? If you asked me what my favourite colour is, blue would be quite far down the list. But when I see a blue flower, it touches a nerve, it attracts me in a way I can’t explain with venn diagrams or equations. Not sure what this nonsense is all about. Any idea Dr FG?
No idea. You being you, which is always good! I was put off blue because my mother always wanted me to wear it. She actually had a good point. I have slowly come around to the idea it suits me. There is something very special about blue flowers.
ps Sorry that was a bit me, me, me! Love this plant, never grown it well, thanks for sharing xxx
Nonsense. Love to hear from you, you, you!
Hi Dan, are you sure that ‘texture’, i.e. London clay, is not an issue?
Not for me it isn’t. I top-dress annually with manure and let the worms do the rest!
Well, then mine must suffer from overbearing neighbours, i.e. they are starved of light. (Those in pots do well, but those in the ground don’t, so I was inclined to put it down to the difference in soil.)
Cheers and have a nice evening!
That’s extremely pretty and just the sort of plant that I am always on the hunt for. Thank you for sharing it with us, and importantly telling us where to buy it!
I do like to give a few suggestions where to buy if possible. I try only to recommend places I have purchased from personally, but in this instance I have included a couple of other sources alongside Great Dixter. You will probably find other omphalodes species and varieties in your local garden centre, but this one is especially revered for its flower colour. Have a lovely weekend.