Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens'

Beautiful Blues

As summer begins, there are a number of blue flowers appearing in the garden. My favourite colours are blues and purples, so it feels like a bit of a treat for me. The flowers I like best are those where the blue shades into a different blue or into a purple. There’s something about a colour being slightly mixed, rather than a solid shade, that makes it more interesting to see.

The plant above is Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’, aka Honeywort (or the ‘Blue Shrimp Plant’ in the USA). It’s normally an annual, but if the winter is mild enough it can survive into the next year. That’s what has happened here, so this year we have a much larger plant than we usually would.

This plant is one I particularly like for the deep blue bracts that surround the small purple flowers. The blue bracts are made more attractive by the way they are tinted with purple or green – here even the stem has a blush of purple. The colouring is more intense when it’s cold, so this has been at its best over the cool spring months. I’ll be interested to see if the colours become paler as the summer weather heats up.

Baptisia australis

A simpler colouring is that of the Baptisia australis or ‘False Indigo’ (above). Less complex than the Cerinthe maybe, but it is a lovely shade of deep violet-purple that I find quite irresistible. It’s an easy plant to grow here because it copes well with drought and it is often suggested as an alternative to lupins. For me, the Baptisia is certainly the easier choice, as lupins struggle very unhappily here and I’ve managed to lose a few.

Clematis ‘Arabella’ (below) has flowers that are a mauve shade when they first open, gradually becoming more blue as they age. So the one plant can have a wide variety of flowers at the same time. (In fact, when I looked at it today, for a moment I thought there was a purple clematis growing beside it, so dark were the newest flowers.) The soft blending of mauve and blue shades in Arabella’s petals delights me. That means there’s good chance that I’ll be trying to grow this small clematis elsewhere in the garden too.

Soon, these beauties will be joined by different shades of blue, as the flowers of campanulas, scabious, geraniums and catanache start to open. I’m looking forward to some summer blues!

Clematis Arabella

20 thoughts on “Beautiful Blues

  1. These colours are glorious Ann! you’ve captured and showcased the splendid colour gradients so brilliantly!!! I’m in awe and the photos are awesome! No exclamation marks are ‘too many’ in this instance πŸ˜€

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  2. I especially enjoyed seeing your Baptisia. We have two native species here that I’ve seen — one yellow, and one white/cream — but I’ve also seen the blue growing wild in Kansas and Missouri. Those plants were quite tall, and the blooms didn’t seem as tightly clustered, but the magnificent color was the same.

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    1. I think that this plant may get quite tall too. I’ve been lucky with the colour. Some photos I’ve seen of it look a paler blue – I much prefer this darker version. (I guess the variation must be through growing from seed.) It must be lovely to see these growing wild, whatever the colour!

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    1. No problems so far….hope I don’t speak too soon, LOL! (And I know there are S&S in that area because they like to eat a bearded iris that grows near it.)

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  3. The Honeywort has an unusual looking flower – almost like velvet it appears. I like the blue flowers too! I have the light blue plumbago plants growing along my backyard and they seem to bloom year round which I love. Lovely flower images!

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  4. Blues always look purple to my eyes for some reason but I always prefer these kinds of colours in flowers to what would be a bluer blue if that makes sense πŸ˜‚ purply blues look so soft and velvety.

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