What Is True Blue?

Blue—or is it purple—columbine
Creeping Veronica—a study in blue?

I love all flowers but the ones that stir my passion the most lie in the cool blue range.

But blue can lie in the eye of the beholder.

Behold this wonderful columbine now in full flower in a garden right in front of my house. Blue? Blue-purple? Purple? At different times of day, in different lights, the red contribution to this flower’s color can swing it more toward the purple spectrum.

These terrific flowers came to live here courtesy of a yoga teacher who lives in Lebanon, NH. Her studio is in a barn behind her double-decker house, and at this time of year, both sides of her driveway were lined with these. So, of course, I begged for seeds.

We had a rough start, these columbine and I, because that first spring, I mistook them for weeds and pulled nearly all of them out of the ground. Thank goodness a couple of seedlings hid among some rocks where I finally recognized them.

We’ve been good friends ever since as I’ve spread these little lovelies among my gardens, and shared seeds with friends.

The second picture is of another one of my favorites, creeping Veronica. The originals of this plant came home in small pots from a gardener in Hartford village who sells perennials in her front yard every year at this time.

Blue? Sky blue? Pale blue?

Once this plant gets a good grip on the soil, it thickens up like music lovers in a coffee house, spreading by root action. The flowers are tiny, about the size of my little fingernail. And as an added bonus, it transplants easily, and makes it difficult for most weeds to get any action. Though this year—which I have dubbed the year of the ubiquitous maple seedling—there are tiny trees sprouted up everywhere, even among the thickets of creeping Veronica.

Yet another example of the power of botanicals.

Don’tcha just love it? Chick-a-boom.