Why you should plant it
Most gardeners know and love Geranium 'Rozanne' (named the Perennial Plant of the Year by the U.S.-based Perennial Plant Association in 2008); its bouncing cobalt blooms blaze all summer long, although it can often spread rather rapidly. 'Azure Rush' is a sport (or purposely bred variation) of 'Rozanne.'
It's a smaller, more compact plant with pale blue flowers, but it has the same kind of joyous perkiness and is easier to keep under control. Its blooms, which attract butterflies, are about five centimetres in size.
Where to plant it
As its name suggests, 'Azure Rush' will bring a cheerful blue to any partly shady section of the garden but will work just as effectively in bright sunlight. A Zone 6 plant, it needs ordinary well-drained soil with organic matter (compost or manure) added to the top. 'Azure Rush' grows up to 20 centimetres high in a nice firm clump.
What it offers
Unlike many perennials, 'Azure Rush' will produce flowers the first year. A reliable bloomer, it looks marvelous in a container, where it will spill out over the sides. When it starts to have too many dead blooms, shear it back just past the flush of flowers; if it starts hopping around, cut back to the main branching system and shape it as you wish. It is the perfect plant to add to the lowest level of the garden around silver and blue plants such as Perovskia spp (Russian sage) or to carry on the blues of brunneras in most shady spots.
Source and Cost
Get 'Azure Rush' for about $19 at any well-stocked nursery, including Fiesta Gardens in Toronto (416-537-1244).
For more plant and garden information, visit www.marjorieharris.com