Tuesday, March 10, 2015


I like blue flowers. Not the lavender or purple that gardeners and marketers think of as "blue," but true blue, like the sky or the sea or bluebirds and sapphires. Fortunately, though true blue garden flowers are not common, you can easily find and grow what is available, such as bachelor's buttons or "Heavenly Blue" morning glories or delphinium. Even the weedy Asiatic Dayflower can add a touch of sapphire to your garden. But if you want a big true blue splash, you go to hydrangeas. These woody shrubs bloom in an eye-catching shade of electric blue, as long as you feed them with the right chemicals, including aluminum. 

The hydrangea whose image you see here is a variety whose flowers bloom in loose clusters rather than the more familiar hydrangea blossom spheres and ovals. It grew in front of a house in my Cambridge, Massachusetts neighborhood in 1984, when I made this sketch. I also grew blue flowers in my back yard. 

Ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, 7 1/2" x 9", July 15, 1984.

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