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 Replies to “Blue Flowers”

  1. I’m very partial to blue flowers, but I don’t think I’ve seen any at all in the residential gardens on this western side of the city.

    Nothing beats Borage for its hairy stems and beautiful dainty blooms. I didn’t know blue poppies even existed, so thanks for sharing that shot, Susan.

  2. I do love the blues. And those lithops! I used to have some that had amazing metallic blooms. Yes, autocorrect can be so inappropriate! and I love the fact someone else is misreading things. I’m sure those plants were utterly superb!

  3. Beautiful blues – one of my favourite flower colours. I love those dandelion sculptures too!

  4. “Bees”?? The folk names are so much fun — and ever so much easier to remember! I do agree about how fascinating the Latin is, but it escapes memory too easily. “Bee” I can remember. These blues are pure drama, and absolutely gorgeous. I enjoyed both blues and laughs, though one wouldn’t think they’d go together.

    1. I don’t know – there must be some reason for the saying ‘someone always leaves a banana skin on the scene of a tragedy.’

      1. I tried to respond last night, but it didn’t work. Maybe now. I wanted to tell you that of all the sayings I’ve never heard this one ranks at the top! The image of Lady MacBeth slipping on a banana skin right after “all the perfumes in Arabia” is mind-bending. But I fear I’d be among those in the pit laughing.

  5. I love blue flowers but the only one of these that we grow are Scilla and Borage. Would love to grow Meconopsis, but we have the wrong sort of climate. On the other hand, we have Virginia Bluebells and Wild Blue Indigo and they have wonderful blue flowers in May and June

    1. 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.

  6. Gorgeous blues! And I was chuckling over ‘superbum’ last night when editing my flower post. Love those dandelions!! How tall are they?

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