Lithodora zahnii Azure-Ness
from Lesley Baker
This small shrubby plant has been with me for several years now, much to the delight of the bees in the neighbourhood – it’s always buzzing with them (though they always seem to disappear when I try to take a picture of them!)
Last year I pruned it back quite a bit, but it has been undaunted and is flourishing again. The evergreen, neat, shiny foliage becomes covered in flower buds in late winter, and it was flowering well by mid March this year. The buds are pink, but open to a deep blue flower, and they continue to appear for weeks on end. It will probably take a rest as summer arrives, but there will be more flowers at intervals later. Yes, the dead flowers do look messy in the photo, but I don’t find them distracting in the garden!
I grow this in a very, very well-drained and sunny spot, and take cuttings from the new growth at about this time. They seem to root easily.
I was lucky enough to see Lithodora zahnii growing in the wild whilst visiting the Mani Peninsula in Greece in 2013. It was growing on the cliffs in a gorge, and I couldn’t reach to photograph the bigger specimens, but this one was lower down! As you can see, the flowers are much paler, sometimes white. Obviously a good deep blue form was selected for Azureness.