Blue Flowers

Blue poppies at RHS Harlow Carr Garden

Blue poppies

Regular readers will know of my fascination with blue poppies (meconopsis). My timing has been out and I’ve only seen the odd one or two this year so here’s a picture from Harlow Carr last year.

Blue delphiniums in the Jungle Fever Garden, Tatton Park Flower Show

Blue delphiniums

Sightings of delphiniums are always very welcome too, be they stocky little spires or towering ones. The lovely folk word ‘bee’ describes the petals at centre of each floret. The stocky delphiniums above have white bees and the ones below, lavender-blue ones.

Tall blue delphiniums at RHS Garden Rosemoor

Tall blue delphiniums at RHS Garden Rosemoor

This year hasn’t been a flower dearth – far from it. Rosemoor provided me with as many flowers as I could hope for, even setting aside the roses I shared a fortnight ago. and even though my capacity to hope for flowers is huge.

Borage flowers with water drops

Borage with water drops

This nodding, rain splashed borage was growing in Chatsworth’s large, terraced kitchen garden. Borage’s hairy buds and stems are always interesting, but I particularly liked the band of pink and blue on the flower petals the foreground. (While I was writing that sentence, WordPress helpfully corrected ‘hairy buds’ to ‘hairy bods’ – what was it thinking?)

Scilla 'Spring Beauty'

Scilla ‘Spring Beauty’

I have tried to include a plant for every season. There are lots of good choices for an English spring – bluebells, of course, muscari and ipheon – but I’ve chosen this early version of scilla for its unusually vibrant colour. It seems funny how the green seed pods are swollen while the petals still look so fresh.

Gentian angustifolia - a true blue flower

Gentiana angustifolia

Continuing the theme of if I’m gonna be blue, I’m gonna be real blue (surely a song begging to be written?) is this gentian, using peppermint green to lure in pollinators. It’s nice to be different.

Blue iris reticulata

Blue iris reticulata

Iris reticulata is a staple of UK winter gardens. Although the rich blue colour is striking, what appealed to me most was the transformational quality of the light falling on the paler standards. (The botanical descriptor doesn’t mean the standard type of standard, but the way the petals are held aloft – like a military flag.)

As an aside, I often wonder how botanical nomenclature comes over to people who didn’t learn Latin. I enjoy the way Latin words spill over into English, but I caught myself the other day while reviewing pictures after a long day at a flower show wondering “Who on earth thought it was a good idea to name this succulent ‘superbum’?” It took me a moment to remember that ‘superbum’ was Latin, not English; one word, not two; with the emphasis on the ‘per’, not the ‘su’. A pity in a way, now I’ve got used to the idea. Some of those lithops succulents…

Dandelion Sculptures at the Fairchild Botanical Garden

Dandelion Sculptures at the Fairchild Botanical Garden

After that, I’ll hastily wrap things up. My final offering is as elegant and lofty as you could wish: metal dandelions with blue hesper palms photobombing the shot. The palms look greenish viewed against the sky, but it wasn’t me who named them.

As many of you will have realised, I’m sharing these flowers as part of Becky’s Blue Squares – after today, we’ve just one bonus day left!

52 thoughts on “Blue Flowers

    • susurrus says:

      Their blue has an unusual quality in a garden and their nodding habit makes them quite a challenge – they usually contrive to have their backs facing you.

    • susurrus says:

      I don’t see enough palm trees where I live to be familiar with them, or their botanical names. Blue I am confident about in so far as the colour is generally defined as blue. Hesper or Bismark…? I always thought every palm tree would have a long trunk and coconuts when fully grown, and it’s only quite recently I have realised that isn’t the case.

      • tonytomeo says:

        Oh my! Palms are remarkably variable. My all time favorite palms happens to the only palm that is native to California. It has a very stout and straight trunk,, nothing like a coconut palm. The dwarf palmetto creeps along the ground, without developing much of vertical trunk. I wrote an amusing article about how, because only one species of palm is native to California, and only one genus is native to Hawaii, there are no more native palms in either California or Hawaii than there are in Oklahoma, where a subspecies of dwarf palmetto lives

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