Monday, January 21, 2013

Garden blues for Blue Monday

Blue Muscari in a cheerful pot on Sarah's balcony
Apparently, it's Blue Monday, the saddest day of the year. Who knew? I'm not feeling particularly sad myself, but I am always ready to think about the colour blue. Here's some cheeriness for a blue day.

Blue flowers are notoriously hard to photograph, and usually look purple. But one of the bluest flowers in the garden is Anchusa azurea 'Loddon Royalist' – the kind of blue that causes whiplash as heads turn. I planted it in my garden last year, but as usual my eyes were bigger than my garden, and it was crowded out. Perhaps it will seed itself somewhere, happily.
Another blue that was felled by Microgarden disease (see above) was this marvelous blue Penstemon barbatus, which would normally be happy in my kind of garden (well-drained, part sun) if not for its overly territorial neighbours.
Allium caeruleum 'Azureum' the blue drumstick allium is so blue, it gets a double-barreled blue name. "Caeruleum" means sky blue, and of course azure means azure. These ones at the Toronto Botanical Garden look even bluer against the purple sage (Salvia). Note the happy bee making a beeline for it.
Also at the Toronto Botanical Garden, these bronze Ajuga in flower gain added punch from the interplanting of Sedum 'Angelina'. Because they're bronze, could this be a brangelina combo? A small laugh is permissible here.
Lest fall think itself forgotten, here's the blue wood aster (Symphiotricum cordifolium) in a neighbour's garden, a blue cloud of tiny flowers. A nice plant to know, as it will take some shade and dryness. That makes me happy!
No blue round-up would be complete without a gentian – this one (possibly Gentiana paradoxa) captured at the Reykjavik Botanical Garden. Many gentians grow in our climate. And, if you love blue, that should make you happy, too.
[UPDATE:] If you like blue flowers, here are a few links that might interest you. First, an article by Monty Don about true blue flowers. Apparently, they're quite rare, which might partly explain our fascination with them. Plantoholics are incorrigible collectors.

The New York Times had an article on the powerful impact of colour; interesting to read about the physiological effect of blue, which was shown to lower blood pressure. Probably why we associate it with tranquility.

Finally, this article from Psychology Today mentions that blue is the world's favourite colour – worldwide.

Now if we could just do something about this "Blue Monday" thing.

12 comments:

  1. I often wonder why most of us are so attracted to 'blue' in the garden?

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    1. Good question. I caused me to look for some answers. I've updated the post with a few links.

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  2. Hi Helen,

    I find blue flowers in the garden recede too much in the background unless they are paired with complementary oranges or physically higher up like Aconitum arendsii. The colour itself is a little passive for me and needs a little contrast to liven things up, in and out the garden!

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    1. Paul, I have many images that didn't make it into this post, including of some very unpassive aconites or monkshoods.

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  3. I am not surprised that blue is the world's favorite color - although I lean strongly to reds myself, but I certainly love all the blues in your garden. And pot.

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    1. Thanks, Pat. Sarah has a great eye for colour, and those Muscari are just perfect in the multicoloured pot.

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  4. I love sedum 'Angelina' and it looks wonderful intermingled with the blue flowers. On my list for this summer! Thanks.

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    1. Another good colour feature of 'Angelina' is the way it tinges red in cooler weather. Definitely an interesting groundcover.

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  5. I think we love blue because it's so restful, the colour of sky, and of water, where we all came from.

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    1. That's probably a big part of its appeal.

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  6. Good thing I didn't know it was supposed to be a blue Monday. Love the pot that Muscari is in, great combo!!

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Sprinkle a few comments and see how they grow.