The heat of late summer is still upon us. This torrid weather sends us retreating to our gardens to refresh ourselves in the cool shade amidst the beauty of our flowering plants. Nothing is more soothing than relaxing in the garden with a tall glass of minted iced tea and a view of fresh, green leaves with cool, blue flowers scattered amongst the foliage.

The Blue Mist Shrub, Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Blue Mist', gives us just such an oasis in our gardens. The Blue Mist Shrub, currently in bloom at The NCSU Arboretum (now the JC Raulston Arboretum), is a low, mounded, deciduous shrub with light- textured, narrow foliage. Clusters of lovely, powder-blue flowers peek out from the leaves and are delicately and pleasantly scented.

The Blue Mist Shrub is a hybrid which was originally raised in the garden of Arthur Simmonds in England. In fact, the older cultivar of this plant, one with medium blue flowers, was named 'Arthur Simmonds' in honor of this English gentleman.

While the Blue Mist Shrub is a cooling influence in the landscape, its actually a heat loving plant which, as a result, does very well in our area. 'Blue Mist' prefers full sun and a well-drained soil to do its best. Be careful not to give too much fertilizer or flowering will be repressed by excessive growth of the foliage.

Because the flowers are borne on new growth, this shrub should be treated as an herbaceous perennial and pruned back each winter to stimulate plenty of new growth in the spring. 'Blue Mist' is quite long-lived and will grow and bloom here for many years.

Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Blue Mist' is a widely available plant. The light, grey-green foliage and delicate, powder-blue flowers of 'Blue Mist' make this shrub the perfect choice to cool and refresh any hot summer landscapes.