Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Alkaline Gardens

"It is always this way with gardening. Mad success and impotent failure... the gardener hardly knows whether to glow with pride or cover her face in shame." - J. Bowers
Hydrangeas bloom blue in acidic soils, pink in alkaline soils.

I would dearly love to fill my garden with bright blue Hydrangeas and then retire from gardening altogether. It's my absolute favorite flower. But, they don't grow in my alkaline soil. (Well, they'll grow but even if I dedicate myself to 'round the clock perserverance they'll bloom pink instead of blue so what's the point?)

Pincushion flowers become a little schizophrenic in alkaline soils. They can't decide what color to bloom.

When you're a gardener, the grass is almost always greener. (Unless, of course, you live on Kauai.) Western gardeners have a unique set of challenges. As do Southern gardeners and Eastern gardeners and pretty much everyone who likes to dig in the dirt.

A few hardy perennials that take kindly to alkaline soil:

Blue Flax
USDA Zones 5-10

Coral Bells
USDA Zones 5-10

Italian Alkanet
USDA Zones 3-9

Jupiter's Beard
USDA Zones 5-10

Pasque Flower
USDA Zones 5-9

Purple Mullein
USDA Zones 5-10

USDA Zones 5-10

USDA Zones 3-10

Alkaline, or sweet soil, has a pH of 7.3 or higher.

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