There is a wealth of blue, mauve and violet-coloured plants for the rock garden or naturalized site. Many are of a bulbous nature, and produce corms, rhizomes or true bulbs. These include Autumn Crocus, Colchicum aulumnale, which, together with Colchicum speciosum, brings splashes of colour in autumn. Crocus tomasinianus and Glory of the Snow. Chionodoxa luciliae, flower in late winter and early spring. Then there is a wide range of irises Varieties such as Japanese Iris. Iris kaempferi. the crested Iris graciiipes and the diminutive Ins reticulata are a joy on their own. Grape Hyacinth Muscari armeniacum, Scilla tubergeniana and Scilla sibirica are further candidates, while the Spanish Bluebell, Endymion hispanicus,& dominant and widely-grown bulbous plant that at one time seemed to change its name every time a botanist sneezed, is wonderful for creating blanket colour in moist fertile and slightly shaded areas.

Garden pools and their edges can support a wide range of blue-flowered plants. Those for planting in water include Pickerel Plant, Pontederia cordata Floating Water Hyacinth. Eichhornia crassipes, with spikes of lavender-blue flowers, and Water Forget-me-not. Myosotis palustris, with pale blue yellow-eyed flowers from spring to mid-summer. The Water Forget-me-not is suitable for water up to 7'5cm [3in] deep, while the Floating Water Hyacinth survives deeper water but displays its tlowers above the surface. Primulas. Iris kaempferi, Iris sibirica and meconopsis prefer the moist conditions around a pool, but not a swamp.

Lithodora diffusa, better known as Lithospermum diffusum. is one of the best blue-flowered perennials for a rock garden, with its charming funnel-shaped flowers. 'Grace Ward', with intense blue flowers is one of the most familiar forms. Edraianthus pumilio is another plant with funnel-shaped flowers that makes a good choice for a rock garden.

Left: Grape Hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum). with their tightly-clustered azure-blue flower heads, create a strong colour contrast wth a mixed assortment of yellow, pink and red polyanthus

trimming them after flowering Propagation: The plants can be easily increased by lifting and dividing them during early autumn.

Right: Anemone coronaria

This is the well-known florists anemone, popular in both borders and in rock gardens, as well as being extensively grown for cut-flowers

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