Nemesia fruticans - Blue birdWhat is it?
Nemesia fruticans ‘Blue bird’

Why grow it?
This flamboyant new cultivar is upright, reaches a comfortable 25 to 38 cm high (30 cm wide)?the ideal container plant. The little blue flowers are reminiscent of snapdragons with a bright yellow eye which gives them a perky insouciance. It has a slight scent but the white version called ‘Innocence’ is a knockout in the perfume department. Perfect anywhere in the border to mask ugly spaces where bulbs are yellowing off; in window boxes as well as hanging baskets.

How and when?
Plant now. In fact, it’s the perfect weekend to stick annuals in all over the garden. Though I’m planting mostly perennials in pots this year, I do love to blend in annuals because they continue to make a brave show right through until frost. Create a mix that isn’t too rich for this plant. Nip off any dead heads and water regularly. Most container plants need a light fertilizer every couple of weeks. ‘Innocence’ and ‘Blue bird’ make a dashing combination. I’ve got mine with licorice plant, Helichrysum petiolare. Add some of the new forms of bacopa such as ‘Blue showers’ for a rich display. Put them where you can catch the delicate scents on an evening breeze.

Originally published: May 19, 2001. Globe and Mail.