Summer time blues in Maryland

Feeling blue this summer? Well so am I and I couldn't be happier. Blue is my favorite color and I'm seeing it popping up in gardens and magical hidden troves all over town. Here are some summertime suggestions to get you out of your funk and into the blue:

1) If you have one of these majestic hydrangea bushes in your yard (this variety is known as mophead hydrangea, isn't that a perfect name?), cut some blooms and showcase them in your home. If you don't have one, cut your neighbor's...these guys are so prolific they'll never notice! Place them somewhere that all can admire their bodacious blue beauty (avoiding of course the neighbors you hydrangea-high-jacked...), they are stunning and fabulous and you don't need to be a designer to arrange them-- they are so easy you can do it yourself, for real.

2) Get in touch with your inner flower-child, start a wildflower garden and grow some cornflower. These guys are the bluest of blue and stand out even with their demure stature.

3) Feeling like a diva and don't want that garden sweat or the dirty fingernails that come with manual labor? Buy a hanging basket of lobelia or hire your gardener to plant it as a ground cover. They are acid-trip blue and spread really quickly.

4) So you like texture do you? Get yourself some echinops (a type of thistle) and act all garden-chic to your neighbors. Only seasoned floral veterans and the Brits will understand this outer-space looking gem. Bonus: they dry nice too.

5) The I.F.S. likes 'em tall--here are some fetching agapanthus that are perfect for your garden path or as a backdrop against some magenta peonies, orange poppies or red hot pokers (mmmm- how yummy is that combo?!). Ever since the I.F.S. saw them lining the sidewalk to the crime scene at O.J. Simpson's ex-wife's house, they've been a blue staple in her garden and in her summer designs. If you can get that image out of your head and appreciate them for their giraffe like presence and stealth regalness, you'll be eternally grateful I'm sure. If the garden glove fits, wear it!

6) Periwinkle was once touted as the universal color for women, meaning that lovely ladies all over the world of all shades and colors could wear this alluring blue hue and look equally good in it. The I.F.S. still doesn't know if this is true for fashion, but knows it sure looks pretty foxy in gardens making it a powerful worldly summer annual. Great as a ground cover or in containers alike.

7) If you're a patient gardener then I recommend these blissfully blue bi-annuals, the delphiniums. The blues are so electric and intense you'll think they are fake or some garden fairy dyed them while you weren't looking. They are well worth the wait.

8) Ok, ok-- don't let the weird name scare you...these scabiosas are a lovely, feminine addition to any garden despite the odd name. They are also a milder shade of blue than their bolder botanical buddies that are listed above. This peculiar posy even has a perk: when they dry, the pods turn transparent and look like "fly's eyes", their nickname, and are spectacular in fall arrangements. So don't hold their cursed nomenclature against them, plant them for yourself and see how beautiful scabiosas really are.

9) Sometimes called the flag flower these Dutch iris are iris-istable to anyone with a penchant for the "blues". Although not as majestic as their cousins the "bearded iris", these Dutch blues are still pretty luscious and very popular. We just did a wedding using nothing but this variety and color, and I'm here to tell you it was simply spylicious!

10) Tired of all this gardening business? Time to reward your hard day of planting with one of these guys... nothing beats a blue cocktail in the summertime! You'll look so exotic drinking it, you'll make those neighbors you stole the hydrangea from so jealous they'll beg you for one! Recipe for mermaid martinis listed below. Warning: drink with caution... very potent, even for heartiest of gardeners.
11) If you're in A.A., you'll want to forego the above and maybe hit a snowball stand. The I.F.S.'s favorite is sky lite blue, mmmm yummy, I hear Bill likes that flavor too! Stick your tongue out when you're finished, it's very inner child.

12) Marylanders will understand this one...they are perfect after a long day of gardening and blue mermaid martinis. Steam some up and don't forget the Old Bay, hon!

Flowers Shown: Mophead hydrangea, cornflower, lobelia, echinops/thistle, agapanthus, ageratum, delphinium, scabiosa, and iris. Non-flowers: mermaid martinis, snowballs, Maryland blue crab.
Mermaid Martini: equal parts Blue Curacao, Absolute Citron, and Lemon/Lime mix, garnish with plastic mermaids and lemon peels.

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