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 another good dark green tree.
I would love to see color in foliage relied more upon in landscaping. It is more dependable. Flowers come and go but the accent added in foliage, particularly conifers, is displayed year round.
* Posted by: Kirk Johnson Zone9 Oregon ) on Monday, February 17, 1997 at 03:09
I have seen the most beautiful ice blue juniper in a local nursery, it may be the one that Robert is talking about. My garden is on heavy clay soil, I only have one spot for plants that need well drained soil. I may give in and plant that juniper there, even though it is getting a bit crowded. My garden is surrounded by forest, I tend to avoid trees that won't harmonize with the native trees. That is the main reason why I haven't planted a blue Atlas Cedar.
* Posted by: ruth anne (IL. zone 5a) ) on Monday, February 17, 1997 at 08:41
Well, this made me stop and think about what flowers I have that I would honestly call blue - and, yes, the delphiniums do come to mind. One of the Pacific Giant's blue is so blue that it always draws comments.
I think that Russian sage is blue - a powdery blue, but certainly closer to blue than purple.
Salvia 'Blue Queen' would be another that is closer to true blue. The scabiosa "Blue Mist" is another powdery blue - I don't see any shades of red thrown into that one. But, boy, it drives me nuts when I order something touted as 'blue' and it blooms a most shocking purple! Not that I mind the purple tones, I'd just like the plants descriptions to be honest about the color. I never trust a catalog photo on that score!
* Posted by: Gloria McCoy OR/Z9 ) on Monday, February 17, 1997 at 13:51
Here are my thoughts on why some of us are gaga over blue. I'll concede that blue is an easy, safe even conservative color in the realm os manufactured items such as clothing etc. It's in nature that blue takes on another dimension. The sky is blue and blue in so many variations that it can be awesome. Just looking at a blue sky can make you feel joyful. In the evening at dusk there is the blue hour, l'heure bleu, as the French say, when everything becomes peaceful and magical at the same time. Water is blue and it's hard to stop your heart from singing when you gaze on an expanse of blue water. Robins? eggs are blue as if a piece of heaven has fallen to earth. Some tropical fish and butterflies and yes, gentians are like living jewels come to life. Blue is all around us and at the same time, rare. But whatever the form it takes, it never fails to lift our spirits.
* Posted by: Louise z5/IA ) on Tuesday, February 18, 1997 at 00:11
Dark Purple is the color choice I favor. I do not like it when they are called Blue either. The deep purples do have more blue in them than red, but it is still purple.
Purple and lavender have been my favorite colors for as long as I can remember, so to me it's the natural choice for my flower beds. I don't go ga-ga over "blue" either, I just like it. (But I call it purple.)
* Posted by: Marie Ga/Z7 ) on Tuesday, February 18, 1997 at 07:43
When we've had dreary days of winter and the buttercups and forsythia spring up, the yellow brightens and cheers. But when it's 90 degrees outside and the humidity is high, the blues seem to cool. Bright yellow and red in mid-summer is almost too bright. Also, I think for years anyone who had any flowers at all had marigolds or red salvia because they do well in the heat and maybe it's a need to be a little distinct from the ordinary.
* Posted by: Susan-NC/Z7a ) on Tuesday, February 18, 1997 at 13:06
I agree with Marie...when it's 95 in the shade, blue can really cool things down.
Blue also is a valuable color for accentuating other colors, like saturated pinks or chartrueses. It makes them seem more vibrant than when viewed alone. For example, the only flower blooming in my garden now is creeping Veronica...I'm not sure of the botanical name, but it's a creeping evergreen groundcover. It is currently covered with saturated, blue, tiny flowers at the feet of a chartreuse euonymus. It makes the chartreuse glow.
I also am a big fan of colored conifers, particularly blue-tinted ones....for example, Chaemacyparis 'Boulevard' and Cupressus 'Carolina Sapphire'. Combine with red-twig dogwoods, and you have a good winter-interest combo.
* Posted by: Robert (N.Alabama/7a) ) on Tuesday, February 18, 1997 at 14:00
Susan, I am also a big fan of the blue colored conifers. They do such a good job of accenting. I have Boulevard and Carolina Sapphire, although it looks a lot like Blue Ice at this point. The blue forms really pull the color out of the variegated and gold forms like Yellow Ribbon Arborvitae & Cham. obtusa Crippsii. I am trying one of the groundcover forms of Deodar Cedar. It is called Raywoods Prostrate Dwarf. Foliage is the frosty blue of a Deodar but it is a groundcover to about a foot or so. Its habit is somewhat irregular. I think it will provide a striking contrast as a base for some gold conical forms.
There is another groundcover form that I haven't been able to get my hands on but I'm looking to get. It is Cedrus deodara 'Feelin Blue'. Similiar to Blue Pacific Juniper somewhat in density and habit, maybe a little more prostrate and more predicatable than Raywoods, but the foliage is blue like a Deodar, much frostier blue than a Blue Pacific.
* Posted by: Dominique Gascon (moist oceanic, snowy, min -35C, max. 27C) (firstname.lastname@example.org) on Tuesday, February 18, 1997 at 18:41
Other true blues: Italian bugloss (Anchusa azurea) and few of the Bearded irises if you choose carefully.
The reasons why blue flowers are so sought after are perhaps twofold:
1) as you mentioned they are rare;
2) and also perhaps because the most famous true blue flowers are inaccessible to most gardeners: gentians and blue poppies (Meconopsis ). The latter seem to entice a lack of rationality in many gardeners that are exposed to them. Since they seem to thrive in area that us, human being don't frequent regularly (high alpine valleys and cool or cold seaside areas) thay are not seen often in gardens..
* Posted by: Clare B. (MO z6) ) on Tuesday, February 18, 1997 at 20:22
Well, here's a widespread blue flower that gets snubbed! Commelina communis, or, blue dayflower. It is at one edge of my vegetable garden and my next door neighbor is the only one I've known who encourages it. If you really are a blue nut and don't know this flower, contact me in late spring and I will send you handfuls of it which root shallowly but very readily.
* Posted by: ted, Z4WI ) on Wednesday, February 19, 1997 at 22:23
I'm with Clare. Blue is overblown. My plants need to have superior hardiness, form, foliage & extended season interest. To many blue flowers get touted despite poor overall garden value while perfectly decent purple flowered plants get snubbed because they aren't blue. Nurseries don't help by being misleading in their naming & descriptions.
* Posted by: Kirk Johnson Zone9 Oregon ) on Thursday, February 20, 1997 at 03:14
I really should try Himalayan Blue Poppies, I have always avoided them because they are supposed to be difficult, but this area has very cool summers, they might thrive in my garden. As usual, I was trying to stir things up a bit when I talked about the snob appeal of blue plants. There is an element of truth in that, I can recall a film where a hero went on a quest looking for a blue rose like it was the holy grail. There are so few flowers that are true blue that a garden with nothing but true blue flowers is almost an impossible dream if wants to have plants constantly in bloom. A garden of true blues and pale yellows is far more attainable, and really more beautiful, since the blues will look even bluer next to yellow.
* Posted by: A. Tussing ) on Friday, February 21, 1997 at 01:16
Quite interested to get new perspectives on blue..... hmmm... perfunctory knowledge on Meconopsis is better left to another posting..... all you snobbies... I concede, but add that blues help the garden achieve a state of balance and serenity it might not have otherwise. If you have large borders, shady borders, woodland borders, it doesn't really matter. I try to touch on as many of the primary and secondary colors in every border or garden bed, unless they're for something special, like a moon garden or monochromatic scheme. But, just think, unless you're inundated with rare blues(??!!), all you gardeners, what happens to your face? Do you smile when you see blues? True blues? I always try to get at least three or four good sources if I run across a plant I don't know. For color reasons as well as others. I agree... PURPLE IS NOT BLUE. Call it subjectivity, false advertising, printing problems, or whatever.... if it's blue, it should be called blue. If it's purple, it should be called purple. Now, there's another similar dilemma!!! Some say that true PURPLE does not actually exist... never could because it's a secondary color. But, what are we gonna do? Good topic.
* Posted by: Bob in zone 6 (Ontario) (email@example.com) on Friday, February 21, 1997 at 18:32
In reply to A. Tussing: How do I feel when I run across a true blue? My first sight of a true blue meconopsis simply took my breath away. A burst of gold surrounded by the most unearthly blue. And why do I struggle with Meconopsis? Perhaps to relive the thrill of that moment. Similar breathtaking experiences come to mind: turning that bend in the trail to first set eyes upon Bryce Canyon; or along the line of blue: Crater Lake and its spectrum of blues: some subtle, some soft, some intense electric and some so nearly black that you wonder whether you're imagining them! But before you start to get the impression that I'm overly passionate about blues, let me tell you about white, and pink, and green and...
* Posted by: Andie Rathbone Mo/Zone 6A (firstname.lastname@example.org) on Friday, February 21, 1997 at 23:33
This may be a parochial comment, but - why blue? Because it's cool. In St. Louis when you?re sizzling in July and August, what could be better than the illusion of cool of blue and purple and violet flowers in the garden?
* Posted by: Kim Fisher Z6a/PA ) on Saturday, February 22, 1997 at 04:32
As far as calling purple "blue," I don't blame the catalogs, I blame the identification guides. Neither of the two most popular field identification guides (Audubon and Peterson's) list purple as a flower color. Most of the purples are listed as blue, and a few are even listed as pink!
* Posted by: Robert (N.Alabama/7a) ) on Saturday, February 22, 1997 at 15:32
A coworker was looking in my Monrovia catalog yesterday at Purple Coneflower and made the comment "It says Purple Coneflower but it is Pink!"
So what this means is that in the gardening industry there are some new definitions of color we need to understand, hence;
Roberts first two laws of Catalog Gardening,
1) When a catalog says blue, it may have a hint of blue but it will really be closer to purple.
2) When a catalog says purple, it may show a tinge of purple but will probably be closer to pink.
* Posted by: A. Tussing ) on Saturday, February 22, 1997 at 21:25
You're right, Robert.... these are two points that make good sense.
* Posted by: Deb ) on Saturday, February 22, 1997 at 23:51
Clare, what a great question. I actually AM gaga over Blue. My sofa, chairs, linens, quilts, rugs, clothing (and that of my poor husband and son) all blue, etc, etc, you get the picture, EVerything (my car...) is blue. My cat's name was Blue Moon... But when it comes to the garden, I can't stand it. Blue is appropriate as a highlight, but a garden that's too blue is blah.
* Posted by: Kirk Johnson Zone9 Oregon ) on Sunday, February 23, 1997 at 02:25
The true blues are beautiful, they just look best separated from the lavender-blues. Lavender-blues are the best flowers for blending together a border that contains flowers of many colors. If your border is long enough, you can have the yellows, oranges and scarlets at one end and the reds and pinks that contain a lot of blue at the other. If you use lavender-blue flowers and grey-foliaged plants throughout the border, the border will be unified. Lavender flowered shrubs are great backgound plants, they are just a bit dull on their own. There really are no "bad" colors in the garden, even magenta is beautiful by itself and with greys and pure whites.
* Posted by: Neil Allen Z5IL ) on Tuesday, February 25, 1997 at 15:32
Blue has some interesting associations. A deep blue (or is it "really" purple) was the dominant or background color in a lot of medieval stained glass, and blue is traditionally the color of the Virgin's cloak -- deeper blue in older representations, closer to sky-blue in more recent ones. Blue is a very ambivalent color in the middle east. Light blue beads are used to ward off the evil eye -- but the evil eye itself supposedly originated in the light blue eyes of "El Ric," Richard the Lionheart, and the invading Christian crusaders. (Blue is also the color found against a white background on the flag of Israel. In "Green Thoughts," Eleanor Perenyi speculates that blue is the color of political tolerance, and she expresses a preference for the politics of countries with blue in their flags. If there's anything to it, then the change from the red-and-gold flag of the USSR to the new flag of the Russian Republic is a good sign.)
I grow blue flowers and purple flowers and blueish-purple flowers and don't take the purity issue very seriously. I agree that many catalog descriptions of blue and even "pure" blue and "true" blue have to be taken with the same seasoning used on "season-long bloom" (equals "maybe longer than 3 weeks") and "vigorous" (equals "potentially invasive weed") and "refined" (equals "don't expect many flowers from this plant").
But why is blue singled out for such close inspection? Red seems to me an equally "impure" color in many of its garden incarnations. We all know there are white roses and pink roses and red roses, but try to get any two rosarians to agree that a given rose is truly red, with no hint of blue on one side of the line or orange on the other. Even the nomenclature of red has me baffled at times. Is "crimson" red? If it is, why not say so? And what about "scarlet?" In the cryptic language of catalogues, what is that word trying to tell me -- "not quite red but close enough"? "Maroon" and "burgundy" I know are reddish-purple or purplish-red (so much for "red" wine), but why can maroon and burgundy flowers hold their heads upright when a blue flower which on closer inspection turns out to have a bit of purple in its makeup is somehow seen as inferior, an imposter and a counter-jumper?
I've ordered some supposedly red-flowered plants for this year, so I'll get a chance to be picky about the color myself. There's a red Phlox douglasi hydrid -- but will it have a burgundy tinge? Crocosmia "Lucifer" seems to be redder than a lot of its obviously orangish cousins, but is it really red enough?
There do seem to be some truly red tulips, but also many untrue ones. I ordered ?Coleur Cardinal? (sp?) last summer thinking it was a true red, but since then have found that it's often described as "red backed with purple." We'll see. ?Estella Rynveld?, another choice, is a bicolor of white and a red so bright that it looks as though the fringed petals have been dipped, one by one, in a can of enamel. But were the catalog illustrations doctored?
As for my blue flowers, though -- especially since a stand of one of the blue meconopsis species is not likely to flourish in my Chicago yard any time soon -- I'll try to heed the advice of Thomas Jefferson. "None of us, no, not one, is perfect; and were we to love none who had imperfections, this world would be a desert for our love."
* Posted by: Jen-CA/9 (email@example.com) on Tuesday, February 25, 1997 at 19:39
Clare, I agree with your question about why 'purple' is called 'blue'. I'm too technical sometimes but really, if orange isn't red, than why is purple blue???? Purple is one color, blue is another.
I like blue flowers because my favorite color is... blue. Blue is very cool and soothing. And it happens to be the color of my favorite article of clothing... blue jeans.
* Posted by: Robert (N.Alabama/7a) ) on Thursday, February 27, 1997 at 18:57
Maybe we, or at least I have overlooked the fact that photography can't replicate a true color like we think it can?
* Posted by: Boca Joe ) on Thursday, February 27, 1997 at 19:52
I will repeat my note here on blue flowers that I posted in NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY forum. I am a blue nut. I collect blue flowers just because they are different and somewhat magical to me. That is different.
I have been shooting flower and garden photography for years but have always been disappointed when the photos of my "blue" flowered plant turn out pink, purple, or mauve. I have found that the only thing rarer than a true blue flower is a good photo of that flower. Well, no more! FUJICOLOR REALA ISO 100 (color print film) really does the job! I had read about the film's true rendition of colors as seen by the human eye especially blues, lavenders, and greens and tried a side-by-side with KODAK ROYAL GOLD 100 and FUJICOLOR REALA ISO 100. The results were incredible! TRUE BLUES!
The sparkling blues of delphinium ?Blue Butterflies? and ?Blue Elf?, and the intense blue of Siberian squill in spring is incredible.
I would also like to add 2 more true blue flowers that I would not be without: Oxypetalum caerulea 'Blue Cheer' (syn. Tweedia) available from Burpee Seed Company and tropical plumbago, Plumbago auriculata (syn. capensis), available from Park Seed Company.
Oxypetalum, a member of the milkweed family, has starry 1" turquoise blue flowers all season on a viney, open plant about 18" high. Typical milkweed pods appear later in the season. This flower does extremely well in planters and pots and loves the heat and sun.
The plumbago has 3-4" umbels of heavenly powder-blue flowers, resembling phlox. The plants are open and grow about 2' across and 15" high. Each floret is veined in a darker blue. They both bloom non-stop for me from May until hard frosts.
Both flowers have done exceptionally well in pots, planters and directly in the ground. This summer, I had many volunteers from last years potted plumbago pop up in the beds and even in the gravel under my deck. It performs admirably in part shade, open shade and in full sun.
They both make great complimentary plants for zinnias, salvia, and flowering tobacco.
I thought the other blue afficianados could use this information. Be true to your blues!
I love combining the blues with lemon yellow and coral-oranges.
Unfortunately I cannot grow the Himalayan blue poppy, but would love to see them in bloom.
That is my piece plain and simple, I just like the blues!
* Posted by: Clare B. MO z6 ) on Thursday, February 27, 1997 at 20:11
The issue about flower color as represented in catalogues is not just a photographic issue, nor is it a matter only of using ambiguous words to describe the colors. I agree that there is a problem in film sensitivity. There is a second chance to introduce error when the image goes from film to printing paper or to slide. Then, at the catalogue printshop there is the question of inks and quality control there! I have absolutely no doubt that there are some companies that continue to use the printing techniques and bad inks that were state-of-the-art 35 years ago because they would rather mislead new gardeners with the bright, dazzling (to me, tawdry looking) illustrations and photos. I really think some of these companies pay more to get the cheap looking catalogues with ambiguous pictures that feature those really bad illustrations.
I have seen standardized color reference charts that printers use. They are also available so that digital photos can be given their truest colors. These charts are thick books of thousands of little squares of this color, that tone, that tint, this mix, etc. It would be possible for a high class dealer to describe their plants using standardized color charts. Anybody who cared enough could buy a chart book and be able to see exactly what colors the dealers report their colors to be.....OR...Dealers could report reflected light wavelengths. That would be even less objective. (Just joking: Even I would not ask the dealers to go that far, even if my favorite color is right at 455nm!) My point is, it is not entirely necessary to be vague about what colors the sellers really have.
* Posted by: Gloria McCoy OR/Z9 ) on Friday, February 28, 1997 at 10:01
A note for Neil re red: After years of wondering, I finally found out that crimson is red with a bit of blue in it and scarlet is red with a bit of orange in it. However, Monarda 'Cambridge Scarlet' looks crimson to me.
* Posted by: Terri Pollock ) on Saturday, March 15, 1997 at 09:01
A few years ago I planted my first perennials. I started many, including mixed Delphinium-Pacific Hybrids from seed. The pale sky blue, deep indigo blue, dark purple, and light lavender flowers were a delightful surprise to me. I don't think I had ever seen real blue flowers before. As much as I love the color it hasn't spurred me to seek out more blue. The delphiniums continue to provide a beautiful accent color, but I wouldn't want it as the foundation of my garden.
* Posted by: Darren ) on Sunday, May 11, 1997 at 05:07
Have any of you ever heard of the Texas bluebonnet? It is a beautiful true-blue lupine that grows wild in a good portion of Texas and I'm sure elsewhere. Blue flowers don't provoke much response from me normally, but whenever I see a hillside cloaked in blue from hundreds of flowering bluebonnets I can't help but stare for a while. I suppose it's one benefit of living in the arid south-west where it's hard to grow some of the other blues...
* Posted by: SUSAN (CARROLL_S@PILLSBURYLAW.COM) on Monday, May 12, 1997 at 17:21
I have a Victorian woodland garden, and could not do without my blue flowers. My bed of foxgloves and columbines wouldn't have the same air of enchantment without its carpet of tiny sky-blue forget-me-nots, (Myosotis scorpioides). My daffodils can die back in peace under their sweet cover of Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila menziesi). The herb bed is lent sparkle by the nodding clear blue flowers of borage (Borago officinalis). Really, the world would be a grayer place without blue flowers.
* Posted by: sian (firstname.lastname@example.org) on Monday, May 26, 1997 at 02:00
My favourite blues are Corydalis ?Heavenly Blue? and Salvia uliginosa. The Corydalis is blooming in my garden at the moment. Around it are planted helleborus corsicus which are just starting to bloom and the contrast of flower, leaf, colour and shape is wonderful. How does one divide the corydalis? I'm terrified of breaking/killing it, it's such a delicate, finely made little thing. The salvia, it must be said, is looking a little tired - time for radical surgery with secateurs and spade.
* Posted by: Claire Kingston (email@example.com) on Tuesday, June 17, 1997 at 10:11
GA GA! you bet I'm gaga over blue (I overdosed on my yellow-thumbed mother's love of yellow pompoms and stinky gold button jobbies)! Always loved blue, cause I'm a blue-mauve-purple-lavender kinda gal, so there! My favorites are the annual centaurea blue boy, the ever-popular ?Heavenly Blue? morning glory, and Mysotis. New fave: nolana the beautiful! Long live the deep, the blue!
* Posted by: Conny (firstname.lastname@example.org) on Saturday, June 21, 1997 at 10:42
Maybe blue, like most colors and combinations of colors, has a lot to do with the people who choose it. I mean, I've noticed that blond, blue-eyed folks often have a lot of blue in their clothes and their homes, so maybe they're the ones with the blue gardens, too. Even if not blond hair, blue eyes (or gray) seems to signal a preference for colors that suit them, and blue shades certainly do.
Also I think color preferences have something to do with age, though this could also reflect our changing personal colorings as we age. It seems to be often younger folks who enjoy the strong, bright color combinations, and older ones who tend towards the softer, more subtle plays of color. I find myself doing this more and more lately. With my hazel eyes and chestnut brown hair, I always enjoyed bright reds, yellows and oranges, with perhaps some brilliant blue for contrast (have never been much of a "blue person" and you won't find it in my home, either, and blue jeans are pretty much the extent of it in my wardrobe), but as my hair becomes grayer and eyes a bit lighter, I find myself with a growing appreciation for blues, mauves and violets, pinks and creams, and soft creamy yellows. Anyone else find a similar pattern in their own color preferences?
* Posted by: Kirk Johnson Zone9 Oregon ) on Sunday, June 22, 1997 at 03:26
I live in an area that people retire to, middle-aged people may move away from bright colors, but people in their 70's and older seem to prefer bright colors.
* Posted by: Robin B. (9/N.CA) ) on Saturday, December 13, 1997 at 22:03
I'm a real red & magenta freak, but the blues are so soothing & cooling in our scorching climate. My plumbago (the not very hardy variety) is a large sprawling plant, almost a shrub. It looks lovely in late summer & fall (actually, it is still doing great) with the orange & bronze marigolds & yellow melampodiums & zinnias. I also have a not very hardy felicia which is truly sky blue & Salvia guarantica which is a true darker blue. I love combining them also with oranges, yellows, & reds. I'm not a garden snob, I just like to use blue with the warmer--even hot--colors. It doesn't clash (not that that concerns me much) as much as purple. The contrast is more pleasing somehow.
* Posted by: G'ann ) on Monday, December 15, 1997 at 22:26
Love all colors in the garden but my favorite is(you got it) blue and white. Though we all know there are very few true blues out there. But even the 'off' blues, set together, under a tree or where ever, seems to compliment the color green-which of course is the better part of any garden. Against blue,or combined with blue highlights, green becomes no longer a boring monotone, but a statement in the garden, it is almost a scent, a touch, an expression one is unlikely to feel with any other color. Blue makes green,....greener?,...alive,...?,.....G'ann
* Posted by: Barbara ) on Thursday, December 18, 1997 at 15:58
I agree with Conny on the age thing. I know I disliked blue flowers until around age 35, now I'm working on a blue and white garden with also a little pink and purple. I love the clear blues of woodland phlox and chickory, but I still dislike the big gaudy blue hydrangea flowers, excluding the lacecaps of course.
It's the same with metallic shoes - age is the factor. I think you hit 37 and you decide you need a pair of gold or silver or copper or pewter metallic colored shoes where the year before you wouldn't have been caught in gold shoes.
* Posted by: Laurie ) on Tue, Jun 16, 98 at 0:11
My theory about the garden catalogs is that they call purple blue because blue is rare, and a lot of people want it, so they call anything blue to sell more plants. Film and print variances may affect the picture, but they control the description.
I like blue flowers because they *are* rare, and draw attention because of that. A stand of delphinium "Summer Skies" or the darker "Blue Jay" (or the dwarf Magic Fountains versions, Sky & Dark blues) take the breath away when planted in a mixed bed. The blue corydalis is like a jewel, shining in it's setting. Lobelia, and the pansy Swiss Giant "Lake of Thun", simply sparkle. An all blue garden? Doubt it. Maybe if I had lots and lots of room, and could devote areas to different themes. But not now.
BTW, the Meconopsis seeds can be had from Thompson & Morgan, and probably Flowery Branch or Hudson.
* Posted by: cc (email@example.com) on Wed, Jun 17, 98 at 14:32
Why blue flowers?... easy answer, although I'm not sure it makes much sense: it resonates in my soul. Don't you ever just look at something and fall in love with it? Color does that for me... although some people are visual, some are more audial (is that a word??!?!), some get into textures, etc.
* Posted by: Lillian ) on Sat, Mar 20, 99 at 4:33
Several of my favorite true blue flowers were not mentioned and these are easy to grow and will grow in hot climates. Try Louisiana Iris 'Eolian' or some of the Pacific Coast Native Iris. Also there are a lot of true blue Penstemons which love full sun and will take lots of heat.
* Posted by: Amanda Slamm ) on Mon, Mar 22, 99 at 7:06
I think lots of people want to grow something rare or different. If you get annoyed with dark purple being called blue - How about 'Blue Boy' Phlox or 'Blue stocking' Monarda? I could be generous and say lavender maybe.. I love purple, royal blue, ultramarine, powder blue and true blue flowers although not necessarily together. Last year - I had a pot of Anagallis - which had 1/2" blue flowers with a bit of violet and yellow in the center. It was invisible across the yard - but up close yummy.
* Posted by: Bill ) on Sat, Apr 3, 99 at 23:18
It is interesting what shades of color people will identify differently. What seems more green to me other people call blue. I remember taking a bio class in a big lecture hall, the instructor asked all the people with some form of colorblindness to raise their hands - it was something like 10%. Going back to the color wheel, the three primary colors (can't be made from combining other colors) are red, blue, and yellow. All this talk about purple and blue has me wondering now, which is which.
One of my blue favorites is Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia) - a light shade of blue. Chicory is also a nice even lighter (I think) blue. Conifers of a blue color always struck me as a bit artificial looking - though I would agree that in hot weather that effect is pleasing because of the cool connotations. Sitting under a grove of old hemlock trees and looking up at the branch sprays conveys a blue haze kind of effect. Someone mentioned the association between clothes people like to wear and color preferences in flowers. As i recall, Blue suits were recommended for light complexion people, while gray was recommended for darker complexions. I'm not a suit wearing kind of guy myself, but I suppose clothes color preference would carry over to other areas. I can't say I really have a favorite color, variety is my favorite color.
* Posted by: Jen CA9-Sunset19 ) on Tue, Apr 6, 99 at 11:25
It's true Bill.... I like blue flowers, and blue jeans.
* Posted by: sandy ) on Thu, Apr 15, 99 at 10:58
have they talked you into it yet? i have over 10 blue-purple flowers and shrubs in my garden. annual victoria blue salvia started the whole addiction. you must try it, i have the delphs, johnson blue ger., victorias, perennial salvias, bugloss, ajuga, bluebeard, blue star juniper, upright juniper, and still looking. i have no orange or red and do not ever plan to add them. however i do believe red roses are far more beautiful then the blue roses i have seen but still can't picture in my garden. a true quest for the unusual, i am now getting interested in green flowers.
* Posted by: Jen CA9-Sunset19 ) on Thu, Apr 15, 99 at 11:56
Sandy, don't know what zone you're in, but have you seen Evolvulus? It's a tender perennial, a sub-shrub with nickle-size true blue blooms all summer. Here in my southern California garden, it has blooms all year round but in the summer it is COVERED with them. They look like tiny morning glory flowers, but flatter.
* Posted by: Melanie ) on Mon, Apr 19, 99 at 12:04
Ironically enough, Horticulture Mag's cover story this month is "True Blue Flowers: Our Top Picks." The photo is of a clematis which is clearly purple.
* Posted by: Clare B MO z6 ) on Mon, Apr 19, 99 at 12:54
Ha! It's been more than two years since I originally posted this question. I have that Horticulture mag (May 1999) by my side right now. I had to smirk when I saw it. Purple is still not blue!
* Posted by: Denise Z 10 ) on Thu, Apr 22, 99 at 17:50
I think the reason my garden is usually awash in blue flowers is because, to me, blue looks so great with green! The blue flowers against the various green leaves in a garden somehow pleases me, more so than almost any other color with green. But I also can't get enough blue-leaved plants like rue or a bluish agave with a cream variegation, bluish leaves of Crambe maritima -- blue is cool, shadowy, looks great with about any other color, I don't even mind it up against purple. Blue and green are just basic colors to start with, for me.
* Posted by: Eric ) on Fri, Apr 23, 99 at 0:29
Well, we're awash in blues right now, with three salvias (S. guaranitica, S. uliginosa and S. 'Blue Chiquita') in heavy bloom, not to mention Verbena bonariensis which is really purple but which I could easily turn into a blue flower with a little scanner manipulation.
If there isn't anything to the mystique of blue, how come there are no songs about orange-eyed women?
* Posted by: Karen ) on Sat, Apr 24, 99 at 8:27
One of the prettiest blue flower and foliage combination I've ever seen is one I am lucky enough to have in my garden. It is variegated Brunnera. I think the foliage by itself is gorgeous, but when that blue "forget-me-not type" flower rises above the foliage, in clusters, I'm in heaven.
* Posted by: Janet ) on Mon, Apr 26, 99 at 0:06
I don't think anyone has yet mentioned Lithodora or Phacelia (California bluebell). Both of them are true-blue flowers that are marvelously intense.
When I first got a wildflower book organized by flower color, I noticed that most of my favorites were in the blue section (like crested iris, harebell, Virginia bluebell, Polemonium). It's not that blue was my favorite color. It seemed to me that the blue flowers just had the most graceful and interesting shapes -- that I would still love them if they were white. Anyone else had the sense that there's something different about blue flowers (besides their color)?
Anthropologists have found patterns in color-words in different languages. In languages with only three color-words, the colors are always black, white, and (if I'm not mis-remembering) blue. Why? Maybe it's just that blue is rare enough that people want to talk about it, so they distinguish it from other colors.
The rarity of blue probably gives it its association with purity and with idealism. So now I'm wondering whether lovers of blue flowers tend to be idealistic. Idealists in blue jeans, perhaps? (Disclosure: I am currently wearing four blue or partly blue garments. I have been accused of being an idealist.)
* Posted by: Erin (firstname.lastname@example.org) on Thu, May 6, 99 at 9:01
Well, I can certainly be excused from seeking out blues for their snob appeal; until I ran across this thread, I had no idea that blues were so sought after! I love blues because I am landlocked 1,500 miles from the Atlantic coast, where I grew up, and I want the colours of the ocean around me. It's just a way of dealing with the homesickness.
* Posted by: Donna Laing ) on Sat, Jun 19, 99 at 17:24
Love blue purple pink and silver, for the mythical mystical misty moisty morning mystery feeling that they give me
* Posted by: Tamsin ) on Wed, Sep 1, 99 at 13:04
You guys should read what Sandra and Nori Pope have to say about blue (and other colors) in their book "Color by Design". Don't know an American publisher cos I bought mine in UK (just moved over here) but it's a GREAT book - very thought-provoking and extremely well-written and photographed. (Saw it recently in our local B&N so I know it's available over here.)
Buy - read - enjoy - and PLANT!!
* Posted by: maserati 2 ) on Thu, Sep 2, 99 at 0:29
I found a post that I can't resist. Yes, I will over-analyze.
True blue has been my favorite color forever. I remember loving it as a small child. Perhaps because it's such a cool, soothing, quiet color. Perhaps because it's the color of a restful sea or a clear deep sky. It just seems so clean and pure.
The beauty of colors is that they play against each other. Blue unrelieved can become quite depressing. A room with nothing but blue is boring and artificial looking, a garden exclusively of blue would be cold and unexciting. A touch of pink, red or yellow could create a little tension, contrasting colors each become richer and brighter. Instead of the colors going flat and dying, contrast can bring them to life and make them sing. Just need to remember to consider other colors, if only to show off the blues.
The reason that color catalogs can't be trusted to print the true blue is that the camera doesn't really see the color accurately. If you've ever tried xeroxing blue notebook page ruling or blue printing, you've notice how the color drops out and disappears. That fact (and perhaps cheap ink) could be reason that what you ordered isn't what you got!
The need to grab blue flowers as you find them is an obsession, I admit. And the frustration of losing them sometimes is not enough to stop you from buying them the very next time you find that color. One argument for buying them only in bloom is that is the only sure way to choose the most saturated blues. Always was, always will be a sucker for any blue plant.
One of the most striking gardens that I ever saw was at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. I remember walking around a bend in a stream in the Japanese garden to suddenly come upon an enormous bed of iris set into curve between water and dock. It looked for all the world like a huge flat tablecloth of richest purple. I prefer to think of it as blue.
* Posted by: Denton ) on Mon, Sep 13, 99 at 10:13
My best "true blues" are Gentiana sino-ornata, septemfida lagodechina 'Select' (Everyman's Gentian.... one of the easiest), verna. Also Lithodora diffusa 'Grace Ward'.... very electric blue, Anchusa azurea 'Dropmore' (probably the best), Salvia guaranitica (probably won't be hardy in my zone 5b/6a garden, though), Clematis durandii, Penstemon cyananthus, Penstemon ovatus, Caryopteris c. 'Dark Knight' (some may disagree!!), Ceratostigma plumbaginoides. I just love blue.
* Posted by: Evelyn ) on Sat, Feb 12, 00 at 20:10
And why not blue? Even though the mood "blue" is sad, when I see blue flowers, I get the opposite reaction. Even roadside weeds such as chicory, have spurred me on a search for some seeds to plant by my roadside! They are SO pretty! And when I was growing up in Southern California, I admired the Cape Plumbago so. Now that I live in Northern California where it snows here every winter, I have to have some blue flowers here. The climate in the summer is too hot for Meconopsis, and Delphiniums don't do so well either.
Right now, even while there is snow on the ground today, the only plant that is in flower now is my creeping Rosemary. I admit it isn't a "true" blue, but blue enough to cheer me up! So many pretty flowers! Although I don't think that I would have an "All Blue" garden, I certainly wouln't want to be without the pretty blue flowers that appear when I least expect it. Even common flowers such as bachelor's buttons and forget-me-nots are SO pleasing! Without blue flowers, I WOULD have the "blues", so either way, I would never be without! :-> LOL!
* Posted by: Eileen ) on Sun, Feb 13, 00 at 15:54
Wonderfully put, Gloria!
And for me blue would be the blue of Myosotis, Delphiniums, Heavenly Blue morning glories, Royal Ensign morning glories (now called convolvolus, I believe), Brunnera, some Pansies are really blue,as are some Veronicas, some Campanulas,some lobelias, etc., etc.
* Posted by: celeste ) on Thu, Apr 27, 00 at 17:49
Yes I am a blue fanatic.
Go down to your local garden or home improvement center. What do they have trays and trays of? Yellow, orange, pink, purple, red; rarely true blue. Which I am mystified by because there a lot of easy true blues and whenever they do have them for sale they are quickly snapped up! A lot of mindless, lazy gardeners (not to insult those who aren't, I shop there occasionally too) or those for whom gardening is simply another chore, like doing the laundry, go there and fill up their yards with whatever is on sale. The only reason they have a flower bed at all is because the builder has already dug it for them!
I live in an upscale subdivision but a house is a house is a house and there are a lot of houses with my floor plan here. I want my house to look a little different and like I actually live there and it's not just someplace I sleep at after work. Therefore blue - screaming, intense, dazzling blue. I'm planning a bed full of blues that will make people dizzy when they view it from the street! When was the last time you drove past a house planted with petunias and marigolds and said "wow!"?
P.S. Very enjoyable thread, got lots of new ideas!
* Posted by: Amy ) on Fri, Apr 28, 00 at 1:18
I agree that it is VERY annoying to order something labeled as "blue" and have purple when blooming time comes along. My favorite blue is a delphinium called 'blue mirror', although it is a pretty weak flower here in our very abrupt season changes. We have no spring to speak of. Cold and foggy one day, rain the next then 90s the next. The rainy day (or days this year) was our spring! But I digress. Blue mirror is a very nice blue but quickly goes to a slightly purple color as the blooms fade. I also have some sky blue (not the deep purple) lobelia. It was in some seeds called 'riviera mix'. I love blue. It is my comfort color, but mostly I love to mix it (blue) up with anything but the dreaded MARIGOLD! I especially like to put lots of blue and hot/rose pink together. Very eye catching. Especially on my block where they mostly stick to red roses (which are of course beautiful in their own way).
* Posted by: Lois ) on Fri, May 12, 00 at 14:18
The poor lady that first posted this strain of Blue thought must be getting sick of it by now. Blue is my favorite color. I am often wearing all blue and my house would be all blue if my husband would stay out of it. Blue flowers are serene and classy. It never goes out of style. My great-grandmother treasured her bluest Delphiniums and I don't think that will ever change. My favorite all-time planting is Pansies in shades of true-blue, yellow and white. Stops traffic.
* Posted by: Clare MO z6 ) on Sat, May 13, 00 at 23:42
Lois, no, I'm not getting tired of this, even though this thread has lasted for years now! Not tired--tickled! I use a different email address now and the messages on this thread find themselves in my husband's email box. So every now and then he rolls his eyes and forwards it to me....Don't know if I've ever seen true blue pansies, Lois.
* Posted by: Evelyn ) on Wed, May 17, 00 at 13:35
Has anyone seen the latest (June 2000) edition of Horticulture? It's all about blue flowers and blue gardens. I still don't think I would like an ALL BLUE border, as the blue flowers might not show up so well. And what did you think of that blue border with purples mixed in?
I think that I'd rather have white and/or pale yellow (possibly with a splash of red) to really show them off.
What do YOU think??? Or even blues with pink, white and yellows....
* Posted by: Robert N.Alabama ) on Mon, May 22, 00 at 17:49
Sheesh Clare, over three years now this thread has been running. Makes you think twice about checking "A copy of your follow-up will automatically be emailed to the original poster." eh? A lot has happened in the last three years.
I just stopped in to check this forum as it's been ages.
I still like my blue conifers but my neighbor has the nicest looking blue Larkspur right now.
* Posted by: Sandra Mitchell ) on Tue, Jan 2, 01 at 15:55
Might as well keep this thread going into the new millennium. As I fill out my seed orders (finally got smart and am using pencil) the top of my list is always what blue flowers will I try this year that I have only seen in pictures. So I'll try some penstemons, lupines and Blue Mirror delphiniums. I can never have too much blue.
* Posted by: Salvia Guy (My Page) on Wed, Jan 17, 01 at 2:36
For BLUE try;
Salvia patens Salvia chamaedryoides Salvia lycoides Salvia azurea ssp pitcheri Salvia misella Salvia guaranitica the species is cobalt blue.
And of course;
Penstemon heterophyllus 'Zuriblau' almost sky blue!
I always have room for blue!
* Posted by: Sandra Mitchell ) on Fri, Jan 19, 01 at 12:34
Salvia Guy Any of those work in Zone 3?
* Posted by: Salvia Guy (My Page) on Sat, Jan 20, 01 at 17:54
Sandra, sorry, but you would have to grow these as annuals or pot plants and then overwinter indoors. The Salvia patens has a tuber and could be dug up in the fall and stored as you would dahlias.
* Posted by: Dolores Rose ) on Wed, Jan 31, 01 at 20:51
I love Blue too! On the shadey side of blue!!! Bluest Hostas!! Blue Ronald, Blue Moon, Blue Diamond, Blue Belle, Blue Dimples, Blue Wedgewood, and Blue Skies. My complaint is that they always turn GREEN in the Summer and not blue-green either!! But they are worth it!
* Posted by: Zanne ) on Mon, Feb 12, 01 at 9:22
True blue is a great divider, as is white, for those wild colors that would otherwize look seriously bad near each other. I don't like purple blues, they look like bruises. Yuk.
Clare, I have the problem of ordering "red" and getting, IMO, red/orange and red/pink or just plan dark orange. "Black" is generally some variation on a purple bruise theme. Sometimes "black" is actually the true red I'm looking for!
I also happen to think blue mass planting generally looks really odd. The "shades" of those different plants don't go together! I do tend to buy med. to dark blue clothes, (dark brown hair, dark brown eyes, no blond here), as I like the color and it's easy to match. I actually have to remember to try to buy other colors so I'm not head to toe in blue. (End up buying alot of white and cream...)
* Posted by: christine ) on Fri, Mar 2, 01 at 20:41
Besides simply liking blue, I have a very small garden and bright colors are just overwhelming. I set the blues off with white and blend with lavender.
* Posted by: kmickleson (My Page) on Mon, Jul 2, 01 at 17:03
WOW! When I found this link on Google, for a "blue flower" search, I thought at first, "Oh this is old..." Now at the end, I'll chime in my 2 cents.
The kind of blue I love is a French or periwinkle blue--I just had shutters of this type put up on my house as it reminds me of my travels in France. The closest I've seen to it is the "Cambridge Blue" lobelia--and it now is popping up amongst the brilliant chartreuse leaves of a shocking pink geranium. Gorgeous contrast.
My main reason for wanting blue flowers is to complement the many roses I have in other shades, and other flowers, too. It's not blue for blue's sake, but for how it goes w/other colors.
* Posted by: Aurore (My Page) on Fri, Jul 6, 01 at 23:57
The first time I saw a true blue flower I was fascinated the same way I would be if I saw blue mashed potatoes or blue chickens. Something about it seemed a little unreal and far out. Recently I've collected seeds for flowers of all different colors. They were sure to clash and I was trying to determine how best to match them up. Then I heard that I could have a wild combination of colors and get away with it as long as I interspersed them with lots of blue, so I've been gathering lots of blue flower seeds.
* Posted by: Carolyn z5 ) on Sun, Jul 8, 01 at 0:01
I'm up past midnight, all because of this thread which I just found, and now I can't leave without adding my 2 cents. The little Veronica peduncularis Georgia Blue has pretty blue flowers in spring. My favorite blue flower is Mertensia virginica. I have to admit it's not pure blue, but a combination of pink and blue that shifts as the flower ages. To me it's breathtaking. Later there's the bright blue Ceratostigma plumbaginoides.
Why do I look for blue flowers? Because I want them as complement or contrast with flower colors I already have. For my daylilies, I'd love to have a solid bed of blue flowers about 10-12" high. I want the same effect in July that you see in tulip time when a stand of tulips rises out of a bed of myosotis. Any suggestions?
* Posted by: Cindy ) on Sun, Jul 8, 01 at 12:52
I can't believe no one has mentioned Blue Flax-'Linum' It has been self seeding itself in my garden for years now and it is, without a doubt, BLUE. Real good drainage and full sun is all they ask for.
* Posted by: mommyg (My Page) on Fri, Jul 20, 01 at 20:59
I love the tiny blue flowers of the Oxypetalum plant. I recently searched high and low to identify the unique plant that blooms and blooms with the most lovely aqua marine flowers. Now I will spend time searching to find more Oxypetalum seeds and/or plants to purchase!
* Posted by: WendyB (My Page) on Sat, Jul 21, 01 at 22:45
Even though this thread is about WHY blue, I have a comment on WHERE blue, or rather WHERE NOT blue. My shade garden is a bit of distance from the house. I have lots of blue plants there (Pulmonaria, Brunerra, Mertensia, Lobelia). They may be gorgeous and soothing when viewed, but you've got to be close to see them. From a distance and at the woodlands edge they can get lost! I'm starting to add lots of silver and white to help things along, but blue seems to be more effective on gardens seen close up
Other blues: delphinium butterfly blue is in bloom now. gorgeous! Also no one's mentioned cornflowers (perennial or annuals). Corydalis ?China Blue? hasn't bloomed for me this year... barely alive, but I think it was true blue when I got it last year.
I love blue (and purple) because it is such a great color "bridger". Way better than yellow and calmer than white. I have a sunny spot with reds,oranges,yellows. It just doesn't work unless there is something blue or purple happening too. Ladybells are now winding down and the bed just isn't as pleasing.
* Posted by: T Iron thumbs ) on Sun, Aug 19, 01 at 9:12
Gloria, on 02/17/97 (so far back!) says, "Robins eggs are blue as if a piece of heaven has fallen to earth". Has anyone read the Gerard Manley Hopkins poem "Spring"? He says "Thrush's eggs are like little low heavens" - beautiful!
I adore blue, too. In about a month or so, I'm going to start making a garden out of an almost-virgin patch of ground around a house my boyfriend bought this week - woohoo! And guess what color there's going to be most of?...
* Posted by: PhoenixFire ) on Thu, Aug 23, 01 at 12:26
Probably because it is rare-for so MANY years people have been planting pink, red, yellow , orange etc....then the horticulturists started playing hybrids and making 'blue' flowers.....what about black? Seeing as Black I'd say is the HARDEST true thing to get....when people started talking about blue, they also talked about black-now black seems to be lost, but I would like to see more people think about black-if only for the unusualness of it....and how about those green flowers? Especially the ones that have a mid-green stalk and foliage and the flowers are like a glow in the dark lime green! Some you can tell are just greenish versions of white flowers-they are still obviously white. I think that green and black would look gothic together....and what about black and light pink-or any such combinations.
I myself have just brought a daisy with fine feathery light green foliage in a seed packet and the picture on the front is a kind of purple that is so brilliant-I cannot begin to describe it...I will post the name tommorrow...even though it is written on the packet as a TRUE BLUE daisy-I hope to god it is the purple that is on the packet.
I am going to plant flowers that are near each other in the colour wheel-I already have one garden here that is sort of like that...so I will either add to that one (it was already here) or plant a new one and have blues, purples etc.....and on the other side of the garden I will plant Mexican ornamental corn, Mexican sunflowers and normal sunflowers and calendula....
* Posted by: yeona_sky (My Page) on Fri, Oct 5, 01 at 0:16
Why. Because we love blue. Blue seems to get this old heart pumping. The hunt for blue seems like the hunt for gold. Blue fever is what I have.
* Posted by: Diane S ) on Thu, Nov 8, 01 at 11:04
No one has mentioned Catanache - similar in habit/hardiness to Scabiosa - but much bluer. It makes Scabiosa look mauve - which it is.
* Posted by: QueenB (My Page) on Fri, Nov 23, 01 at 18:09
After reading all these posts, I have to agree on the following:
Purple, pink, lavender, and any shade of purple/pink IS NOT BLUE! Blue is blue, and you know it when you see it. I like pure colors, and as it has been said, pure blue is a rare color, but pure purple without overly red overtones is hard to find too. I love pure colors.
Along a similar line, gray animals that are called blue are definitely not blue, lilac, or any other shade along these lines. I always thought that was kind of dumb, but I guess if you need to split hairs, that would be the way to do it. I guess you really have to be a serious breeder to appreciate the differences.
Also, I guess I've more or less I've discovered I'm a 'blue type' person over the years--I pick blue over other colors when I shop for clothes, I'll home in on a blue object before any other color, and I prefer blue-eyed men (I even married one!) I've noticed that I tend to end up with more blue and red plants than other colors and end up having to balance it with something contrasting. My secondary color is green, so I guess that would explain the plant thing in totality!
* Posted by: yeona_sky (My Page) on Mon, Jan 14, 02 at 22:31
The blues I've found in my quest have seemed to be blue enough to satisfy my eye. For every shade of blue I love there seems to be a match. I have been collecting the most blue in my list and then been going to more purple blues. I don't mind collecting the suspected purple blues. What about you?
* Posted by: gardenbug (My Page) on Tue, Jan 15, 02 at 11:26
Well I'm NOT a blue person. Indoors I have NO blue. My husband doesn't understand this. I have no idea why I feel this way. Outdoors things are different! I have a blue/yellow/white garden bed which I love. Yes, delphineums, catananche, campanulas, baptisia and more, are mixed with trollius, coreopsis moonbeam, peony Claire de Lune and low growing white clematis and aquilegia. It is a big mix and wouldn't be any fun at all without the blue!
There are loads of clematis that are purple or blue/purple, but also some very nice blues I think. You do get into the question of "what is blue?" My husband and I think this could well be a male/female issue! Also, by saying a flower is blue, perhaps a catalogue gains more sales?
* Posted by: coolbeans (My Page) on Sat, Feb 2, 02 at 13:12
This is my VERY favorite thread, and I totally agree with all those who feel that there is just "something" about blue flowers; they ARE magical, they ARE very special; and they make me happier than any other color flower. Don't know why...I just started a flat full of Bluebird delphinium seeds I saved from my one lonely plant last year. A bunch of them germinated, so now I can't wait to have a huge stand of them! Maybe they won't bloom this year, but maybe they will. And also "true blue" penstemons, I'm trying for the first time. I can't get enough of this precious color.
* Posted by: Anne_Marie_Alb (My Page) on Tue, Feb 5, 02 at 17:47
WOW....... Did anyone realize that this thread started almost 5 years ago... on Feb. 15, 1997!!!!! I am amazed it has survived that long. Probably, the oldest thread still on the top page! I wonder if "Clare B" (who started the thread) is still an active member of the Garden Web!!!
I personally love blue flowers (I mean blue, and not purple, which I also like). I can't believe how many blue flowers I am starting from seeds this year... and that was just a pure coincidence!
I also love RED flowers.. Maybe, I should start a "red flower" thread! I will first check the archives!
* Posted by: Clare (My Page) on Thu, Feb 7, 02 at 20:34
Yes, Ann_Marie, I am still here! I will be a bit sad to see this thread fade away when it hits the 100 posts mark. After that, the threads are closed.
I don't think I have any true blue flowers still. "Victoria Blue" Salvia is the closest thing. I use it a lot. It is such a heavy, long bloomer, and about one in twenty of them will survive winter here. Just wish I could predict which would survive so that I could save seed from those alone and perhaps work up a more hardy strain.
By the way, the Hydrangeas in Memphis, Tennessee are incredible. Some are so saturated blue that I'd have to call them navy.
* Posted by: Dswan (My Page) on Sat, Feb 9, 02 at 22:37
I'm going to add to this extremely long thread only because there really is something to true blue. I grow from seed a very difficult plant to propagate called Penstemon cyananthus or Wasatch Penstemon. I cold stratify and plant these every year in hopes of gettting one or two in my garden every year. Absolutely gorgeous.
* Posted by: Rosa (My Page) on Mon, Mar 11, 02 at 10:24
Did no one mention Gentians-now those are blue! (along with my favorite penstemson of course-some are indeed blue).
* Posted by: pineshade7b ) on Mon, Apr 15, 02 at 11:02
i agree with gloria mc coy. i love blue and green , they are my favorite colors in anything. just look in my house and closets. blue..ocean, blue jeans, my own eyes are blue and my husband's are green. many reasons to answer -why blue. although i do not "hyperventilate" , if i should go into a nursery and ask for a blue -flowering plant and the staff looks down their nose at me, i'll know now that they are only doing it because they think I'M a snob. until i adopted gardening as a serious hobby i had no idea that blue was a "snob" color. i just naturally began to look into flowers in the colors i liked personally. you learn something new everyday. i would have been hurt and confused to walk into a nursery and be looked at like a pariah, what did i say? now i know, thanks clare.
* Posted by: DesertGardner (My Page) on Fri, Apr 19, 02 at 12:38
Wow - I never knew there was such a controversy over the color blue in the garden. After reading all the posts, I now understand why some gardeners prefer the color. And I have to say that I've never met any gardeners whom I would consider snobbish. Most of them are really quite down to earth! (if you pardon the expression...)
I recently tried planting a red, white and blue flower bed, with 'Victoria Blue' Salvia being my blue color. It's a little too purple and doesn't look right as a "patriotic" design. I will probably tear out the red and white and keep the "blue" (purple) since it seems to like this desert heat.
Someone mentioned black flowers, and I remembered seeing black pansies in the most recent Burpee catalog. They're a beautiful velvety black with a spot of yellow in the center. I think I'll plant some this winter, and start an obsession with black flowers! (just kidding Clare...) -Kara
[* Posted by: yeona_sky (My Page) on Mon, Jun 24, 02 at 0:37
I just bought a blue poppy and am nervously watching its progress. My success with blues has been an up hill battle, but that hasn't changed my desire to spotlight it in my garden. Why blue?, again it's a passion with me. Clare, I hope you get the last word on this thread, and I hope you understand Why blue, a little better.
* Posted by: Duster (My Page) on Wed, Jun 26, 02 at 23:56
I agree with the many others about getting annoyed when purple is referred to as blue. Maybe that's why I take up the cause of truly blue flowers! 99% of my Delphiniums are the true electric blue ones. I'd love one of the Himalayan Poppies but just not right for my little yard.
I like the blue flowers, rather than the blue foliage plants. And no, blue is NOT my favorite color - I have nothing blue in my home decor. I just like the uniqueness of the TRUE blue and my stubbornness to get people to stop calling it purple!!!!
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