Springtime Blues That Transcend Falsehood And Achieve Greatness
When I speak of the springtime blues, I do not refer to a feeling of melancholy. Rather I mean the blue flowers that bloom in early to mid-spring. I am always cheered by these, as blue is one of my favorite flower colors.
Perhaps the Queen of the blue flowers in this season are the Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica). In my garden they are just beginning to flower. With moist, fertile soil and some shade they need no special care and seed themselves about like weeds.
The tubular flowers start out as pink buds and are popular with bees.
Grape Hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum) are a carefree bulb with a reputation for spreading rapidly. I’m a little disappointed that they seem to be more reserved in my own garden. Anyhow, I love the tight clusters of what some call urn-shaped flowers but to me look like tiny bowling balls.
As I’ve written before, Siberian Squill (Scilla sibirica) multiply with total abandon, making up to some extent for the Grape Hyacinths. They bloom weeks earlier but the flowers are persistent, especially during a cool spring.
Finally, there is Great Forget-Me-Not (Brunnera macrophylla), which is the perennial formerly known in this blog as False Forget-Me-Not. This common name comes from the similarity between the flowers of this plant and the sky-blue flowers of the true Forget-Me-Not, Myosotis sylvatica.
My friend Jim recently pointed out to me that False Forget-Me-Not contains a confusing pair of negatives. When you think about it, “False Forget-Me-Not” sounds like “Remember me! But I’m going to be very busy, so don’t bother calling.”
The other most frequent common name is Siberian Bugloss, which sounds like a monster from Norse mythology. “Beware the Siberian Bugloss, my son! When it roams the land, even the bugs flee!” Or perhaps it fits more into a Lewis Carroll poem.
Actually, bugloss comes from the Greek word for “ox tongue”, a reference to the texture of the leaves. But in any case, I find Siberian Bugloss to be an unsatisfactory name. However, thanks to the internet I discovered that B. macrophylla also goes by the common name of Great Forget-Me-Not, so that’s what I’m sticking with from now on.
Great Forget-Me-Not, incidentally, is an easy perennial groundcover for shade – as long as it has sufficient moisture.
What is your favorite blue flower at this time of year?