Why Blue?

taba(z5b MO)January 1, 2013

Thanks to ChrisMD on the MidAtlantic Gardening forum for saving this excellent discussion of blue (and not-so-blue) flowers.

* Posted by Clare B. (MO z6) ) on Saturday, February 15, 1997 at 22:32

Hmmm....People make these hyperventilating, "I love blue flowers" statements, and I just don't get it. The blue collectors are in a class by themselves when it comes to glazing over at the very thought of their favorite. Except for a couple of years before I had training wheels off my bike and was loyal to red, blue and its variations have always been my most trusted, most comfortable, favorite colors. When I have to buy a towel or a pair of pants or a collar for my dog, I choose blue. It is just a comfortable, tried and true choice. Blue seems ordinary and unpretentious to me. I don't go ga-ga over blue; it is just an easy choice. Though I like blue, I don't understand a gardener's passionate pursuit of blue, nor do I have any blue in my garden.

What's the attraction of blue in your garden? Is it just the idea of having something rare? After all, how common are truly blue flowers? And no offense, but why do purple flowers get called blue? If we took the flowers that are usually called "blue" to a kindergarten and asked the children, "What color are these?", those astute kids would shout, "PURPLE!" You can't fool me or those kindergartners.

Blue is one color and purple is blue with red thrown in. Why do all the gardening publications insist on calling purple "blue" when they don't call orange "red"? Why pretend?

I thought about posting these questions in the Garden Party forum, but put it here because I'd particularly like to hear from folks whose favorite is blue flowers. Even if they are really blue rather than purple, I still don't get it. Why blue?

* Posted by: Kirk Johnson Zone9 Oregon ) on Sunday, February 16, 1997 at 03:18

True blue is very rare in flowers, so blue has a lot of snob appeal. Vita Sackville-West's white garden at Sissinghurst has been copied to the point where snobs will turn up their nose at all but the original. A true garden snob will never call shades of lavender "blue", let alone purple. It is rather heretical to place the "true blues" next to blues that have red in them, true blues look best with creamy yellows and whites that have a touch of cream in them.

* Posted by: Robert (N.Alabama/7a) ) on Sunday, February 16, 1997 at 15:27

There is one blue flower that I would call truly blue. It is a short form of delphinium and I can't remember the name, Butterflies, I think.

Many trees I collect are blue forms although the blues vary in intensity and mix. They range from a cool blue of the Blue Atlas Cedar, to a icy silver-blue of Blue Ice Arizona Cypress. Then there is a nice blue-green in Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Alummii'. I love the blue colored trees. Although most in "colors" are conifers you can find subtle traces of blue in deciduous trees such as Katsura tree, particularly when compared with...

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