Garden Photo of the Day

Cool Blues Tame the Heat in the Pacific Northwest

By: Kim Charles

'Blue Star' Juniper Standard, 'Elijah Blue' Fescue, 'Purple Palace' Coral Bells 

Patty Clark from Washington state, is trying to cool off any way she can, even by immersing herself in her blue toned plants…enjoy!

"It has been a while since I have submitted photos of my rural Yakima Valley garden. Like the rest of the west U.S., eastern Washington is having record breaking temperatures. Today I am sharing my favorite BLUE shrubs and trees that help "cool off" my landscaping and hard scaping."

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'Horstmann's Siberlocke' Korean Fir has a blue underside. 

'Blue Surprise' Dwarf Cypress

'Globosa' Blue Spruce

'Concorde' Dwarf Japanese Barberry, 'Blue Star' Juniper, 'Little Diamond' Dwarf Japanese Cedar

'Hoopsii' Blue Spruce, 'Atropurpura' Japanese Barberry, 'Fastigiata' Columnar Blue Spruce, and Switchgrass 

The Bluest of them all: 'Blue Ice' Arizona Blue Cypress

View Comments


  1. frankgreenhalgh 08/16/2017

    Hi Patty - Nice blue hues and lovely rock work. Congratulations. Cheers from Oz.

  2. user-7008787 08/16/2017

    Hi Patty-I love the blue hues!

  3. foxglove12 08/16/2017

    Love all the color combinations. Absolutely beautiful!

  4. tennisluv 08/16/2017

    Sweet, cooling blues. Love all the blue toned conifers you have in your garden. They add a beautiful touch of coolness snuggled against the burgundy and bright green shrubs and warm stone colors.

    I feel your heat pain; today in Georgia, it is going to be 92 with a heat index of 99 ..., but that is a typical August for us. And why there are fewer of those gorgeous conifers that can survive in our 'mild' (huh?) environment. I'm going to grab a cooling glass of sweet tea, sit back in AC comfort, and enjoy your pretty garden view and dream of fall. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Maggieat11 08/16/2017

    Patty, I enjoyed your photos showcasing the blues- and appreciate your combinations. Nice contrasts. I especially like that 'Blue Ice Cypress'. Wish I could grow that here. Special!

  6. christianelena 08/16/2017

    Vert spécial blue conifers.
    Looks fresh garden & another vives!

  7. user-7007498 08/16/2017

    Good morning, Patty. Thanks for giving us the "Blues" today. You have some beautiful plants and lovely parings. I just love how blue foliage plants really add a calming contrast in the garden. Awesome.

  8. NCYarden 08/16/2017

    Soothe with blues. Heat or not, always an amazing hue in the garden. And the stones are fantastic.

  9. Jay_Sifford 08/16/2017

    We certainly share the same tastes in foliage. I'd love to see more of the hardscape/landscape in photo #3 with the Globosa blue spruce. It looks great.

  10. User avater
    meander_michaele 08/16/2017

    Hi, Patty, certain gardens stay especially memorable for me and yours is one of them. I remember asking you for the id of what turned out to be the 'Blue Surprise' cypress a couple of years ago. It has definitely gained some height since your picture submission 2 years ago. The stonework in your walls still makes my heart go pitter patter and it is such a handsome backdrop for all the gorgeous evergreens that are thriving for you. I have a cypress threesome called 'Carolina Sapphire' and they remind me a lot of your 'Blue Ice'. Mine are about 20 feet high and have the most gorgeous exfoliating bark...I actually love to weed in and under them and always take a moment to just stare and marvel at the bark...funny what can give a gardener a thrill!
    For anyone who has a little extra time in their day, I recommend you put Patty Clark up in the search bar and enjoy seeing other scenes from her garden.

    1. user-4691082 08/16/2017

      Thanks Michaele-will do!

    2. user-7008735 08/16/2017

      That was a very useful tip, Michaele! So many more lovely images of Patty's garden!

  11. User avater
    user-7007816 08/16/2017

    Hi Patty. I love the way you use the conifers in different garden settings. I particularly like the contrast between the blues and the red barberries. Great job

  12. thevioletfern 08/16/2017

    Such wonderful shades of blue! I am very partial to bristly, fuzzy, textural evergreens. You have some beautiful specimens! That Blue Ice cypress is a stunner! Great combinations, Patty. Your garden is art!

  13. user-4691082 08/16/2017

    Patty, what does the plaque say? Really enjoyed your post. I am getting ready to tear out my front gardens and install dwarf and miniature conifers. Kevin Kelly inspired me with his plantings. I research every day. Some plants I am having trouble locating...

    1. frankgreenhalgh 08/16/2017

      Hey Rhonda - Your thumb must be back to normal if you are embarking on a new gardening project. I really liked your principles of gardening 101 (yesterday). I'm sure GPODer designers and landscapers could add to your list. My input includes addressing soil structure/drainage and health before planting; only planting healthy looking material; adopting integrated pest and disease management; and making time for you and others to savour the fruits of your labour. Cheers, Frank

      1. user-4691082 08/16/2017

        Of course, you are right! I was just remembering the days when I would go to a big box store and buy whatever they had and plant it. No plan, no research, no nothin! And it looked like it! Then we added mulch, trusted what the plant tags said, paid no attention to sun and shade, etc. Boy, am I glad that's all behind me. How much money could I have saved if I had taken some courses, or consulted a professional!

    2. Clarkpark 08/16/2017

      Rhonda, The Certified Wildlife Habitat plaque is from the National Wildlife Federation. Good luck in finding dwarf conifers for your new front garden!

  14. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 08/16/2017

    Hi Patty. It's wonderful to see your garden again and your enviable stonework. Those icy blues really cool a scene off, don't they. Sorry about your heatwave; the whole northwest seems to be suffering this summer. Hope you've gotten some rain.

  15. chelleisdiggin 08/16/2017

    Patty, thanks so much for sharing! Your pictures look like they are from an article on plant combinations or 'Living the Blues' in Fine Gardening.

  16. Chris_N 08/16/2017

    Looks wonderful, Patty. I had to pop back to see your older posts as well. It's nice to have blues to cool things down. I think you got our heat. We were above average for June and July but are nice and cool for August which is unusual for Wisconsin. We'll try to send you some nicer weather.

  17. Clarkpark 08/16/2017

    I appreciate all the kind posts! Diane, you should be able to grow 'Blue Ice' . Mine has survived fine with zone 5 minus temperatures. Some winters we have had minus eight and ten. It does grow a shallow root system and years ago I lost another 'Blue Ice' in a strong wind storm.

  18. sheila_schultz 08/16/2017

    Oh Patty, views of your gardens always make me smile. You are an artist when it comes to creating a quiet beauty with the simplicity of subtle colors and textural contrasts of your evergreens and foliage plantings. And then there is the beautiful stonework... I love it all!

  19. greengenes 08/16/2017

    Hi Patty! You have some "cool" plants for sure! Love the combinations you put together. The arizona blue cypress is my favorite! I have one that is almost 25 ft tall and it really brings in the "cool blue" color. You have a great collection! Thanks for sharing!

  20. User avater
    treasuresmom 08/16/2017

    Just gorgeous!!

  21. user-7008421 08/16/2017

    Beautiful garden!

  22. Meelianthus 08/16/2017

    So many interesting 'blue' evergreens, they make a wonderful statement throughout your gardens and seem to be quite hardy. I especially love the tall grasses on top of your rock wall with the 'Blue Spruce', really beautiful against that blue sky. Thank you for sharing once again Patty.

  23. user-7008735 08/16/2017

    Beautiful, Patty! I just toured all of your previous garden photos, too; I didn't know we could do that and am delighted. A beautiful huge blue spruce grew in the garden of my childhood home and your photos have got me thinking I should add one to my garden now. It will have to be something smaller than that one though -- maybe something like your 'Blue Surprise' Dwarf Cypress. Thanks for sharing, Patty!

  24. Cenepk10 08/16/2017

    Ohhhhh my.... that dwarf cypress is so beautiful ! I planted one last year - it was too dry so - it died. Love your striking combos. Nice.

  25. user-6536305 01/02/2018

    Blue foliage is so stunning and it really stands out! I remembered my daughter once pointed out a blue conifer in the garden and said, look mom, this is an everblue when she was 5 years old. Love your post and thanks for sharing. I missed this post early and happy new year!

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