Saturday, February 27, 2010

Beautiful Mysterious Blue

I subscribe to Ontario Gardner and every Saturday morning I always receive a wonderful newsletter from them and I found this one to fit in just perfect for the way I've been feeling lately "Blue".  So I am sharing with you today.  Must get my hands on the blue impatien. Thank you Ontario Gardner, now my spirits are starting to rise considering it's snowing again.

Ten Neat Things about Blue

1. Blue impatiens. Impatiens namchabarwensis is a semi-woody, branching, one-foot tall plant with delicate true-blue blooms that was discovered in a small region of the Himalayas in 2003. Today I received notice that Dominion Seeds has a limited selection of plants available for purchase by mail order. It's a tender perennial, so you could either treat it as an annual or, given the $15 apiece price tag, try overwintering the fleshy roots indoors.

2. Blue nasturtium. Tropaeolum azureum is a species of nasturtium with a lovely blue colour tending toward violet. It's from Chile and was brought to Europe as early as 1843 by a collector named William Lobb. I'm not sure why, but it's devilishly difficult to get hold of; I know of no Canadian dealer.

3. Bluest blues. Blue is the most difficult colour to breed into plants. Blue pigments have a tendency to shift toward pink, purple and red in different pH levels.

4. Blue mushroom. Lactarius indigo is a remarkably blue wild mushroom that grows in coniferous forests of eastern North America. When broken or cut, it exudes a blue milk that slowly turns green after being exposed to air. Not sure who figured it out, but this mushroom is edible.

5. Blue butterflies. The beautiful iridescent blue colour of some butterflies tends to come not from within-from actual pigments in the insect-but from refraction of the scales on the wings. The oranges and yellows, on the other hand, are pigmented scales.

6. Blue frog. The okopipi frog of Brazil is a poison dart frog that is a lovely cerulean blue with black spots that differ from one individual to the next. It exudes poisons that will paralyse or kill a predator that doesn't heed the warning blue colour.

7. Appetite suppressant. The colour blue is a natural appetite suppressant, and not only in frogs. It is theorized that loss of appetite is a common reaction to the colour because so few naturally occurring foods are blue. Perhaps I should paint my dining room blue.

8. Blue for spring. Blue is the colour of grape hyacinths, one of the loveliest flowers of spring. It looks stunning against the bright yellow of daffodils.

9. Blue for shade, blue for sun. Many blue flowers are shade tolerant. Some examples: forget-me-not, browallia, Siberian bugloss, periwinkle, Jacob's ladder, some pulmonarias, baptisia, and violets. For sun, try Victoria Blue salvia, many veronicas, many campanulas, delphimium, blue flax, blue pansies, many cranesbills, blue asters, nemophila (baby blue eyes), convolvulus, and borage to name just a few. Lobelia prefers part shade.

10. Blue roses. There is also the elusive blue rose which rosarians have been trying to breed for years. Roses lack the gene to produce true blue colours so blue roses have come to stand for the impossible quest. After much failure, some have taken to dying the roses, but in the last few years, a Japanese company has used genetic engineering to insert a gene, taken from a petunia, into the Cardinal de Richelieu rose. Sadly, the true blue still eludes the breeders. The new rose marketed by Suntory is a mauve colour.

From top to bottom: (1) A rare royal blue flower. (2) The edible Lactarius indigo. (3) A flutter of blue butterflies. 4) The beautiful yet lethal dart frog that hails from Brazil. (5) Sure it make look cool to children...but for adults, milk should only be consumed when white.
-Dorothy Dobbie


  1. Enjoyed this interesting post. I just loved that blue impatiens ... never knew there was one! That beautiful photo of the blue butterflies is really something to see!

  2. Dear Cheryl, What a wonderfully interesting selection of blues. I do hope that they will continue to lift your spirits even though it is once more snowing with you.

    Thank for picking my latest posting through which I have found you.

  3. I'm loving those blues, especially the butterflies. We located lactarius indigo in our woods last autumn, and were fascinated to see the blue ink leaking from it when cut -- but did not try eating it because a local mushroom hunter told us it may be edible, but the taste is unpleasant. ;)

  4. Very fun post about BLUE! I enjoyed it!

  5. I've never seen blue impatients, how lovely. Oh, and what a stunning blue mushroom! I'm a bit partial to fungi (and do a Mushroom Monday post each week) but have never seen such a beautiful blue in a mushroom before!

  6. Blue nasturtium? I'd like to see it! Happy March to you!

  7. Hello Cheryl :) Yes, the person who figured out that the mushroom was edible must have been a very adventurous soul!
    The intensity of the blue on that impatien is just amazing, would love to see more of it if you end up with one to grow!

  8. I am loving that blue mushroom, and the blue frog too. To be truthful, even when I saw the frog my mind was on food!

  9. Cheryl, I have been feeling blue all through February, but it is a beautiful day today and to get up to 8 degrees on Saturday. Suddenly my spirits are lifted, perhaps Spring is on the way!