Mediterranean - Written by on Friday, March 16, 2012 22:57 - 2 Comments

Beautiful Blues in the Mediterranean Garden

Article by Tricia Christopher, Landscape Architect and Designer of the Mediterranean Garden.

 The Mediterranean Garden is designed to showcase the color combinations possible with plants originating from climates with dry summers and mild winters. This column will feature seasonally noteworthy plants in the garden. Plant Shown: Ceanothus “Concha

Two of the first spring bloomers in the Mediterranean Garden are bursting with splendid masses of intense blue flowers. While blue is normally considered a “cool” or subtle color that doesn’t shout out its presence, this is not the case with the show-stopper displays put on by Ceanothus ‘Concha’ and Rosmarinus ‘Ken Taylor’.

Both plants are blanketed with brilliant true-blue flowers this time of year. And, they’re not only admired by humans; numerous bees, butterflies, and other insects also appreciate the one-stop shopping provided by all the blooms. On a recent visit to the gardens, I noticed several types of bees intent on their mission.

The Ceanothus ‘Concha’are covered with an enchanting combination of magenta flower buds and deep cobalt blue flower clusters. As the flowers continue to open, they will nearly obscure the narrow, dark green leaves. Ceanothus grow quickly, and these plants are already 4 or 5 ft. high after only three years (we originally planted 1 gallon can plants). They should reach an eventual height and width of 6 to 8 ft., with graceful arching branches forming a tall mound. The Ceanothus are already accomplishing the intended task of providing an evergreen backdrop to the garden, screening the fencing and utilities behind them.

An evergreen backdrop in the Med Garden

Although some types of ceanothus are difficult to grow in our local clay soils, ‘Concha’ is considered a more adaptable variety able to tolerate some summer irrigation. We also took the added precaution of mounding the soil before planting for better drainage, plus we keep the summer watering to a minimum.

The Rosmarinus ‘Ken Taylor’have been blooming for several months. This rosemary variety gives the punch of a vivid dark blue, as opposed to its meeker brethren, which only bloom in paler shades of blue or lavender blue. It has grown very quickly from 1 gallon-size plants into a 1 to 2 ft. height ground cover, spreading horizontally to least 4 ft. wide.

Rosemary 'Ken Taylor'

In addition to enjoying the bright, happy blue color and the busy humming of the bees hovering over the flowers, pluck a leaf or two and breathe in the natural perfume smell. I’ve had the pleasant experience of “wearing” the rosemary fragrance all day after pruning or weeding in the garden. Rosemary is quite easy to grow in full sun, needs little water and tolerates most soils. Good drainage helps, so we mounded these beds prior to planting.

If blue is for you, these plants are worth a visit to the Mediterranean Garden!

You’ll find Tricia Christopher in the Mediterranean Garden most work party days (the first and third Saturdays of every month). She’s happy to answer your questions about Mediterranean gardening and/or visit her website


Share Button


You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Brisbane Lawn Mowing
Jul 6, 2012 0:11

I just love blue colour flowers. They look great when found in huge number.Thanks for such a nice Article.

Iadora Kelley
Jul 14, 2012 23:34

I think U R “RIGHT ON”! I love these blues!!! It seems that blue flowers are not seen often enough for me! And they also help the brilliant orange poppies really POP too!

Thank You for all that U have done for the garden!

Love, Iadora U!!!

Leave a Reply


The Green Heart of Oakland for Fifty Years

Discover the hidden garden jewel on the shores of Lake Merritt in the city of Oakland. We are a seven-acre collection of themed gardens.

The Gardens are open daily:
9am - 5:30pm
Entry is free!

666 Bellevue Ave, Oakland, California
Read more about the gardens...
View map, directions, and parking info...

Connect with us

Donate Now!

NOTE: You'll be making a secure tax-deductible donation through Square Market to the Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt's fiscal agent "Oakland-East Bay Garden Center Inc."

Bay Friendly - Mar 30, 2012 20:37 - 0 Comments

Bay-Friendly Gardening

More In Bay Friendly

Mediterranean - Feb 13, 2013 6:30 - 4 Comments

Mediterranean Blues

More In Mediterranean

Featured, News & Events, Pollinator, Torii Gate - Aug 4, 2014 15:20 - 0 Comments

New Neighbors Move In

More In News & Events