Clematis Crystal Fountain

Not True Blue

Blue flowers are beautiful but those that are truly blue aren’t common. Those that come to mind first are delphinium, cornflower, salvia, morning glory and plumbago. Many of the flowers that we think of as blue have a hint or more of purple, mauve or lavender in their colouring.

I’ve been sitting comfortably inside while it’s been cold and sleety outside, looking through photos taken in the garden here. Working my way through them has made me aware of how often I choose to grow flowers in the purple-blue and mauve colour range.

Purple-blue clematis flower
Blue and purple blend in the petals of this clematis.

The second photo of a clematis shows a very similar colouring to the first photo. (But you’ll see that the bud in that first photo develops very differently as it matures….) Violet-purples and lavender-blues seem to be very common colours for clematis. That can make it hard to choose between them.

The way the colours in the petals bleed into one another is very delicate. It’s almost like the way watercolours blend into each other and is something that I’m keen to try and capture in a photograph.

Blue and a lilac-y pink penstemon
Blue and a lilac-y pink blend in the flowers of this penstemon.

The purply-blues, lavenders, mauves etc seem to all mix quite easily with other colours but not always with ‘true-blues’. However, the penstemon above seems to have managed this perfectly. Maybe nature can teach gardeners a thing or two about colour combinations. But, I prefer the colours in the flowers below, where the blue is a bit softer and seems to blend more gently with the lavender – perhaps there is a touch of red in the blue.

Left: Brodiaea Right: Iris
Left: Brodiaea           Right: Iris

Going much more to the mauve/pink end of the colour range, there are many flowers that look beautiful and mix with the darker purple-blues very happily.

The hydrangea in the photo below grew in my previous garden in Scotland. The flowers on this shrub shaded from blue through to a mauve-pink. Evidently our soil there was not acid enough to turn the flowers completely blue, but the soft blending of the colours on the petals was lovely. (Here in Suffolk, blue hydrangeas turn pink – no chance of keeping one blue!)

The mauve-purple of the Allium ‘Cristophii’ has a lighter feel to it than the blue-purples but looks good with them. It’s an easy colour to use and the flowers are very attractive, so it’s good to see them self-seed around the garden.

Left: Hydrangea Right: Allium
Left: Hydrangea             Right: Allium

So, while I may not have many real blues in the garden here, I’m very happy that there are so many photogenic flowers in the different purple shades.

At the start, I said you’d see how that clematis bud’s colours developed…. here it is…. Yes, it is the same flower!

Clematis 'Crystal Fountain' flower
Clematis flower showing more colour as the flower matures.

14 thoughts on “Not True Blue

    1. Hehe, it is, isn’t it? I think it may be ‘Sour Grapes’, but there’s a bit of argument about that. There are photos of different plants (the other is a deep purple) that are claimed to be it…confusing!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Syd! Thanks! 🙂 It surprised me to see how much the pinkish and buff shades developed in that flower – the only hint had been the pinkish tips to the petals of the bud. A lot of the clematis I’ve seen do develop a central bar of a different colour in the petals – makes them more interesting to photograph.


    1. It’s an extraordinary colour combination Jill! I’ve had a couple of penstemons with this colouring, but with different names – wish I could remember what they were!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I enjoyed this post. I have just replaced my hydrangea ( I lost it after my second house move – it didn’t travel well), with one that is advertised as being an indoor plant in Waitrose. I like the texture of this plant, it is unusually rubbery. (The flower was a present to myself, as I am starting another part time role in a month, all being well.) Nurturing myse!f with flowers is something I’ve been doing since my divorce.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve read that having flowers around, especially in the home, is good for your well-being and I love having them nearby. (My garden is my favourite place!)


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