What is it about blue flowers that so many gardeners find irresistible? It’s a common obsession in both neophyte gardeners and the most experienced horticulturists – David Tarrant is well-known to be fond of blue flowers, as am I.
According to colour psychology, the colour blue elicits feelings of calmness or serenity. It is often described as peaceful, tranquil, secure, and orderly.Blue can also create feelings of sadness (feeling blue?). Blue is the colour of the sky in summer or the ocean on a clear day, both of which make me feel happy in a calm, relaxed way.
I think that the reason so many gardeners love blue flowers is their scarcity. Truly blue flowers are not so common, and being human – we love whatever is rare and unusual.
There are a lot of purple, lavender and mauve blossoms out there masquerading as blue and many of them can be found in my garden, even though they’re not really blue.
Blue and all the purply shades related to it, are cool colours, and can disappear in your garden if not well-placed. A light coloured backdrop helps, as does companion plants that provide contrast. But it’s almost impossible to make a blue flower slap you in the face like a bright yellow blossom can!
Along my back fence I have several Delphinium in various shades of blue and they are spectacular against the weathered grey of my yellow cedar fence. They’re so big and floriferous – about as show-stopping as possible for blue blooms.
Another true blue gem I grow is a perennial Corydalis elata – which I recently discovered gives off a peculiar musty scent when blooming. Fortunately it’s not near a seating area, nor is the smell strong enough to register unless you put your head close to the flower. I think I’ll avoid weeding around it until the flowers are done (like I need an excuse to avoid weeding) .
Some blue beauties that are just coming into flower now are my Veronica longifolia and Veronica spicata ‘Royal Candles’. The first is in the back garden near my roses, and the second in the front garden, where it has proven very deer resistant. I like the flower spikes on longifolia better – they are tall and graceful, but ‘Royal Candles’ is a beautiful plant, almost globular in shape, with multitudes of chubby blue spikes that last a long while. And did I mention deer resistant?
Last fall I planted some blue pansies outside the back door. After sulking through our hard winter, they’ve been blooming their heads off ever since. They’re just starting to get a little weedy, so I’ll cut them back hard and see if they come again – if not I’ll plant some more in September, as soon as it’s cooled off a bit (assuming it ever GETS hot!).
These are just a few of my blue flowers – I’ll share more with you another day. Do you love blue flowers too? If not, what’s your favourite flower colour?