July 9, 2007

True Blue, it's true.

It used to be held by morning glories, then, but Forget-me-nots, but today, the title-holder for more-in-demand flower, goes to not to these blue beauties, but to Hydrangeas, of course, the blue forms.

Wherever blue appears in our natural world we humans are impressed. One can’t help but be, since we are wired this way. Blue, true blue, the color or the sky, is a complex layering of phenmomenon such as refracted sun-light, chemicals, pigments, sugars, flavones and compounds such as anthocyanin, that when all combines weaves together to produce the magical express that we all sky blue. Heck, even the sky is blue, and when one really thinks about it……how many things on earth besides the sky, are found in this shade of blue? Even in our modern world, we cannot create a paint color that mimics this color phenomenon, nor print this color. It has depth, shimmer, and atomically is special with it’s unique properties. Blue, when it appears in flowers, or feathers, behave more like a crystal than many other pigments. If reflects and refracts light.

Japanese chemists are attempting to identify just what exactly happens within a plant, that can have it achieve thiese amazing effects, no surprise here, since Hydrangea that bloom blue, hail from Japan, think Nikko Blue. Five years ago, while visiting there, Joe and I we’re treated by our friend Masashi to a dinner at a temple that was dedicated to the Blue Hydrangea, over looking the china sea, the 600 year old building was surrounded by tall bamboo forests and underplantings of sky blue hydrangea. The mean featured blue hydrangea themes in creative expressions, even sushi with cubes of blue geletin on top we’re served.

In New England, our mild winter rewarded us with an abundance of Blue Hydrangea. Being situated one hour west of Boston, a snowy winter may allow us to get some bloom, since the branches are protected near the base, but this year, it seemed hopeless, since we had only a few inches of snow. What we didn’t get was the below zero temps, so there was little if any winterkill, and a nice, slow spring where there were no surprise frosts. Hence, blue hydrangea to swim in.

Also, last year, I decided, on a whim, to plant some seed from the German seed company, Jelitto of award-winning Pacific Blue Delphiniums, one of my favorite, since the blue tint is actually even more sky blue that morning glories and hydrangeas. Almost forgotten, the seedlings were planted out in a garden out back, and upon returning from our Swiss trek, found the 6 and 7 foot stems knocked down from a thunderstorm, but in good condition, and in full bloom. So I picked them for the house.

Some of us plant snobs may groan at the mention of blue hydrangeas, since they are sometimes as popular and as in demand as red geraniums in our post Martha world, where one year one must have old world roses, and the next, gerbera, and the next, blue hydrangea….in a way, they are as branded commercially as ceramic fairies and princesses, but I have to admit, I still like them, in fact, love them, when used in the right location. Hydrangea speaking, there are far more interesting species and forms to choose from, but for blueness, go with a few.

Last week while hiking high the Swiss Alps, well, actually, in the dolomites in Val Gardena Italy, we did find a few buns of the precious alpine plant, Eritricium nanum, a relative of the Myosotis, or the Forget-me-not, that grows in dense, buns, nestled in crevices in limestone peaks above 10,000. Rare, completely in demand if one can risk their life to get a shot, these plants are always a reward for the daring. I was too chicken to shoot it, but just risked his life to crawl out on a ledge to steal this shot of a plant just starting to come into bloom.

1 comment :

  1. You are so right about blue! The hydrangea has such a cottage garden look about it that it goes anywhere. Blue is always a surprise! Love the blue delphiniums!


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