Robin Cushing - REALTOR® - Established 2010
Victoria BC Canada
Victoria BC Canada
Roses are red and violets are blue—but are they, really? Roses, of course, can be found in a kaleidoscope of colors. And violets? Well, they might read a purplish blue to the eye, but they don’t actually have blue pigment. Blue, as it turns out, is one of the rarest colors to find naturally in plants and animals. Here, we take a look at the elusive shade and how you can help it find its place in the sun.
Science Specific.Why is one of the most loved colors so hard to find in the plant world? Because true-blue pigment in plants doesn’t actually exist. Optical tricks have led us to see beautiful blooms as blue; and because of this missing pigment, science reveals that less than 10 percent of the 280,000 species of flowering plants produce “blue” flowers. If you’re looking for any sort of color inspiration from nature (including blue), check out Nature’s Palette: A Color Reference System from the Natural World. (It is the expanded, 2021 edition of the resource Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours, first published in 1814.) In it, for example, you’ll find references to “Berlin blue” via sapphire, the Hepatica flower, or the feathers of a jay.
Color Wheel.Blue, which color philosophy relates to calm and tranquility, is the perfect fit for a soothing home garden. When designing and planning, consider pairing blue with its color wheel opposite: orange. And always consult your local nursery or extension for hardiness zone and regional information before planting something new.
Plant Planning.Annuals, perennials, big, and small—there are plenty of ways to infuse your garden with blue. Take up space with eye-catching blue hydrangea shrubs; they thrive in morning light, and you can maintain petal color with acidic soil. Geranium ‘Rozanne’ is a long-blooming, violet-blue flower. Delphiniums offer nearly true-blue flower spikes that are short lived and thrive in rich soil. Clematis is a beautiful climbing vine that adds softness to a sharp-edged trellis (look for ‘Crystal Fountain’). Because irises come in many colors, you can plant blue and other hues for a collected look. Select from Bearded, Reticulated, Siberian, or Japanese iris for the best blues.
Blue Daze has it right in the name. The sun-worshipping flower works well in a container or as ground cover. Cornflower is a pollinator-friendly bloom that thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. For a delicate, romantic flower, consider the forget-me-not. Because of its nostalgic name and symbolism, it makes a sweet addition to a memory garden. Late-blooming asters help ensure a blue landscape into autumn. And the crowning glory of blue blooms is the Himalayan blue poppy. Although its Tibetan origins make it difficult and fairly impractical to grow in North America, it’s not impossible. The enchanting flower reveals a shade unlike any other, and makes the true-blue destination worth the green-thumb journey.
WRITTEN BY MARESA GIOVANNIN