Blooming Scilla Bulbs and Ajuga

Scilla, Siberian Squill

The blue floral carpet of Scilla, also known as Siberian Squill, is in full bloom right now. Its azure blue flowers are a hot topic at the nursery and online this week.  Everyone wonders what they are and where they came from.  Scilla are bulbs that we plant here in the fall.   In my own yard, I would describe the “carpet” effect as shag, with tufts of grass throughout the colony. This gives it a very natural and accidental appearance. The established colonies we are enjoying in mowed lawns around town are simply breathtaking.

Ajuga, Bugle Weed ‘Chocolate Chip’

As our spring temperatures climb, this blue carpet will fade and be replaced by another favorite perennial groundcover.  Ajuga! Unlike the short-lived bloom of the Scilla bulb, ajuga will bloom for weeks in spring. Then, if deadheaded, will occasionally produce lesser blooms throughout the summer.  But even when not in bloom, ajuga is showing off! The variegated foliage of these semi-evergreen perennials can range from deep green and bronze-maroon, to bright green, pink and ivory. All will produce sturdy low stalks of flowers, often bright blue.  Ajuga is a great groundcover for shady areas.  Part shade produces the most vigorous plants with vibrant foliage color. Ajuga is a  great plant in woodland and shaded rock gardens. It is resistant to deer browse, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, and can be planted and/or divided anytime during the growing season.