Anchusa azurea "Dropmore Blue" (Italian Bugloss, Alkanet)
I grew this plant years ago and completely forgot about it until I saw a tall plant in a photograph with striking, jet blue flowers, and I knew I had to have it again. This is a Canadian cultivar of the Italian wildflower that was introduced in 1905 by the Agricultural Research Station in Dropmore, Manitoba. This clump-forming perennial is ideal planted as a specimen, standing to four feet tall, with elongated, hairy foliage, and the most beautiful true blue flowers that are similar to forget-me-nots, but on a much grander scale. It is related to Borage, and if you know Borage, then you know the blue I'm talking about. It prefers a hot, dry site, well-drained soil, and full sun. Be sure to deadhead for a prolonged bloom, and cut it back hard after bloom for rebloom. It is not particularly long lived, but it will reseed, so watch for that or collect the seeds, and be sure to divide it after the second year to keep the clump strong. Zones 3-8. Quarts.