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Blue Gardens

If you want a fresh, new look for your garden this spring, try adding a splash of the season's hottest color: cool blue.

On The Saturday Early Show, Stephen Orr, special projects editor of House and Garden magazine, offered advice on incorporating blue into your garden.

Blue is a big color this spring in fashion, in home decor and, surprisingly, in the garden. Orr says the color blue brings a feeling of serenity and restfulness to the garden. It's a cool color, associated with the peaceful visions of a clear blue sky and blue water.

Because blue is such a natural color, it does not look out of place in the garden, even in a very traditional setting.

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As an example of the power of blue, Orr says a blue Smith & Hawken birdbath would look lovely in a traditional garden, as would blue metal folding chairs. The chairs demonstrated on The Saturday Early Show are made in France and are modeled after the chairs that appear in outdoor French cafes.

If you are accustomed to a garden full of wrought iron, terra cotta and wood, you can experiment with blue by adding just a small splash of the color to your garden. For instance, an old-fashioned blue pitcher full of flowers brightens up a patio dining table, and it only costs $10. Or, buy your garden tools in a shade of blue such as the classic watering can from Kinsman.

Although blue garden ornaments are gaining in popularity, they are not always easy to find. Orr says to consider painting an old garden ornament blue instead. This is an inexpensive way to add color and style to your garden. Orr has two wooden pieces that he has painted blue -- a chair and a decorative item called a tuteur, which looks like a pyramid made of trellis material. When painting outdoor furniture, be sure to use a weather-resistant paint.

Pots and garden containers come in many shades of blue, but these are also items that you can paint yourself. Typically, the blue pots you buy are glazed. But, you can create a softer look if you choose to paint containers yourself. Unless you plan on painting the pot a deep, dark blue, Orr says that you need to find a white clay pot for your project. Or, paint a terra-cotta pot white before applying the blue paint.

The other blue element you can add to a garden is flowers. True blue flowers are rare because there aren't a lot of blue varieties.

"Flowers in the shades of reddish or purplish-blue are common, " Orr says. "One reason may be that bees see best in the ultraviolet range of light and bluish red flowers are attractive to them."

Many flowers that people like to call blue actually look purple to others. Orr showed some of flowers that may look purple, but they are all sold as "blue."

Some "blue" flowers available are: hydrangeas, hyacinths, grape hyacinths, lupines, forget-me-nots, anemones, delphinium, cenaria, veronica, agapnathus and primroses.

Orr says blue flowers can make your garden feel bigger because blue gives a feeling of distance. But, large groups of blue flowers alone can wind up looking a bit dull. Orr suggests pairing blue flowers with pale yellow, white or orange -- blue's opposite on the color wheel.

A final interesting characteristic of blue flowers: at sunset, blue flowers practically glow whereas reds and purples turn black to the eyes as the sun fades.

Sources:

Anthropologie:
Cottage Trellis Pot: $14/$24
Pressed Glass Hundi Lantern: $32

Ballard Design:
Marceau Chairs: $98/pair

Bauer Pottery:
16-inch oil jar - French blue: $231
12-inch oil jar - federal blue: $116
9-inch flower pot - French blue: $34
6-inch flower pot - turquoise: $29
6-inch flower pot - midnight: $29

Kinsman:
Blue Flower Pitcher: $9.50
Classic Can: $33.95

Munder-Skiles:
Contact Number: 212-717-0150
Montgomery Place chair: $1,675 (painted in Farrow & Ball's Chinese Blue)

Smith & Hawken:
Blue Adriatic Bird Bath: $119
Crackle Pot: $24

White Flower Farm:
81-inches tall Cedar Tuteur: $88 (painted in Farrow & Ball's Pitch Blue)

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