My Blue Hen Garden

As a three-time graduate of the University of Delaware, a 23-year staff member, a parent of an alumna and a newly trained UD Master Gardener, one great way to show my school pride is to add the blue and gold to my garden.

True blue is a difficult color to obtain in the garden. Besides the reliable blue macrophylla hydrangea, I’ve been able to add blue cornflower, caryopteris (a shrub), delphinium and a few lobelias to the landscape.

Using plants and accents, I am slowly building my #BlueHensForever tribute!

These pillows from Lowes were a must-have. Most of my pots and containers are blue, yellow or some combination of blue white and yellow!
Containers are a good way to customize a color statement.
A yellow garden stool. Even a royal blue watering can!
Black-eyed Susies stretch out in front of a blue gazing ball
The blue cornflowers are hard to grow. Rabbits love them!
This hanging basket was made to order! I purchased it from East Coast Perennials in Millsboro, DE
Most of my hydrangea macrophyllas turn blue like this beautiful cerulean “Mathilda Gutges” I am now transplanting a rapidly spreading Rudbeckia “Goldstrum” under my blue hydrangeas. I won’t see the full effect of this until next year.
Vase on a stick? Rain gauge? I am not sure what the purpose of this is, but it was pretty and the right colors so I bought it from Home Goods. It’s something vertical that I can move around in a bare spot for that UD pop!
Little pots. I guess I should have put tiny yellow plants in the blue pot! What was I thinking?
Home Goods in Lewes is a 3-minute walk, though I seldom do because walking back with their great selection of garden pots and accessories would be difficult. I just had to get this one, though I am not sure it’s a good fit for this plant.
Color can be added by sweet little things like this birdseed trough. Are they little Blue Hens? I think so!
Spiderwort “Sweet Kate” in the shade garden
Another view of the pot, different blue and gold flowers!
Even inside, I intentionally choose blue and yellow pottery and accents. I have a whole UD corner I use for my Zoom meetings!
A yellow dragonfly pot holds a Chinese Evergreen

While other colors show off in my garden, tendrils of blue and gold are woven through with plants, containers, garden furniture and garden art, which I continue to incorporate into the landscape bit by bit —a little addition or two each year. All that’s missing was a UD Blue Hen garden flag! Most were very sport-oriented so I designed my own and found a company that will make them. I have 87 hydrangeas so I thought this was appropriate!

Shrimp Flower

When I visited the Sussex County Master Gardeners’ Open House in July, I spent some extra time in their Children’s Garden. A new grandmother, I am looking for ideas to captivate my grandson when he comes down to visit! I am looking forward to toddling around the garden with him, exploring the sights, aromas and textures of plants.

I came across a plant called the Shrimp flower. In Delaware, it is treated as an annual, but it also does well as a house plant. I was captivated by its pale-orange panicles, which are actually bracts, and whispy white plumes that sprout ever-so delicately from the top. What a perfect choice for a children’s garden, because they are so interesting to look at.

And why just for children? I must confess, that as I have moved more toward perennial plants in my garden, my choices for annuals (mostly used in containers) has become somewhat predictable…geraniums, impatients, marigolds, zinnias. It’s time to spice things up!


I shared my delight with Jay Windsor, a retired UD Extension agent in horticulture, and now a fixture at most volunteer Master Gardener events. Jay has a plant outlet in Lewes, a florist business, Windsor’s, in Rehoboth and commercial greenhouses in Laurel. I asked him if he sold these, as I don’t recall ever seeing them in his store. Jay answered that yes he did, but they were probably out by July. I made a mental note to go early next year and grab some up. As I have claimed in many posts, gardeners are some of the most generous people on earth! Imagine my surprise when a few days after the open house, this basket of shrimp flowers arrived at my door!

Thank you Jay Windsor!!

Although they do well in the ground in sunny locations, this was just too pretty to plant, and they enjoy a central spot on my front porch! I plan to add many more next year. I think they will be a terrific addition as I transition my garden plan to a “George Harrison” theme!