Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Flowering blues

After my plaintive note last night, it seems only fitting and proper to consider the question of blue. Blue blossoms. Not unheard of here, but not that common either. Probably the reason that every spring I wait for the arrival at the nursery of lobelia six-packs (above) to grace my pot garden. Not that my lobelia does all that well; I think it might prefer a little less sun. I also have a nice small stand of perennial plumbago (below), though it waits until the end of summer to flower.

It's only been late in my life that I've developed this hunger for true blue flowers. Maybe because I ODed on blue early in life; that's the color of my eyes and my mother dressed me in blue several times too often. The aversion has totally worn off at this time in my life and I look forward to the rains, when wild morning glories appear. Not quite as dramatic as the Heavenly Blues that I'm still awaiting from my seed smugglers, but satisfying nonetheless. The color of these flowers is a curious combination, what folk in the printing trades call reflex blue, meaning that a red underlies the blue effect. In convolvulaceae, blossoms open quite blue early in the day, gradually taking on a more purple hue.

In case you are out in the woods this week and next, you might see small bright blue jewels in moist shady areas. Pretty little day flowers, cousin to spiderworts and wandering jew. I'm blessed with a few up my hill and even more along the next street above me.

Finally, this is a wild plant whose seed I hope to plant this winter; it's a phacelia from the Mojave Desert with the common name of California bluebells. Very very pretty, covered with small blossoms. I often wonder why the paucity of blue flowers; is this a southwestern, an American or a worldwide phenomenon? Mind you, I am speaking of true blue, not lavenders or purples, which some people (especially guys) will call blue. Not me. I like the real thing. I really do.


Anonymous said...

Nice flowers, I love the colors. You mentioned you hava a pot garden. I assume you are talking about pots that plants sit in. Or is it the other type of pot? Grin.

Anonymous said...

(See my comment under "Disappointing Day".)

Blue! What wonderful blues!

Then, there's the Blue of those azure, AZ skies!

Our kitchen is blue and yellow, very "Swedish". Out with Italianate, in with blue!

~Anon in AV.

P.S. "Never, never, never give up!" -Winston Churchill.

TomboCheck said...

gorgeous as always GJ!

Granny J said...

steve -- do you have many true blue flowers in Bavaria? BTW, my pots are out front on the street side, so the contents are quite tame.

anon av -- yes, I have to grant that we do have those wonderful azure skies. But I'm with those plant breeders at Burpee still looking to create a blue rose!

tombo -- I do thank you!

Anonymous said...

I've seen blue flowers, but couldn't tell you the names or type of blue.

pb said...

And my aunt used to say that there were no true blue wild flowers...

DDD said...

A bit more about those banned Morning Glories from the Arizona Department of Agriculture

"...As each spring flower season approaches, weed dispersal can happen from businesses such as
grocery, drug, pet, hardware stores, and nurseries. Most gardeners do not think of nurseries or
gardening shops as sources of pest plants. Arizona Department of Agriculture inspectors find
prohibited weeds in retail seed displays and in display ponds each year. Often, non-native
species have no natural enemies in new environments and, if exotic species are aggressive, they
may become weedy invaders in their new habitats.
Non-native morning glory species invade and persist in Arizona’s agricultural crop fields and
urban gardens. They grow so abundantly and are so competitive that their vines entangle, cover
and smother the crops and ornamental plants. In fact, morning glory infestations become so
dense that it becomes extremely difficult to harvest crops-an economic disaster for the farmer.
Therefore, these non-native morning glory species are prohibited in Arizona..."

Granny J said...

steve -- I'd be curious. We do have wild chicory, an import from Eurasia, which has pale blue blue blossoms and there are a couple more garden flowers that are blue, including hydrangea when the ph of the soil is just right.

pb -- your aunt was wrong! Though I don't recall any true blues in the wilds of Illinois or Florida.

ddd-- thanks for the official position on morning glories. Do you know if they are more of a pest here in AZ than in, say, California, which is certainly a more major agricultural state than AZ?

Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

There is a dandy 'blue' native flower here, 'Leschenaultia'(sp).
It grows in granitic soil--bauxite, but also grows in sandy soil locally. I'll see if I can find any seed and send you a packet if successful.


Granny J said...

bro -- that sounds like a splendid idea. Thanks in anticipation.

meggie said...

Do you have Forget-me-nots in Az?
They are a true, if pale, blue.
We had a blue plumbago, until Gom ripped it out. Now we have the small weeds you mention, & a pot with one lonely Grape Hyacinth.
Our Agapanthus are blue, when they flower.

Granny J said...

meggie -- no forget-me-nots (which are, BTW, the state flower of Alaska). Grape hyacinths are an open invitation to ravenous javelina, BTW... I don't believe I am familiar with I have to look it up! (A minute later) I just did & they're lovely! Thank you for bringing them to my attention.

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