A green space for urban gardeners

A quest for true blue? Prepare for shades of gray along the way

This hydrangea is blue, but some petals are replete with hints of purple.

Even though this hydrangea is a vibrant blue, some of its petals display hints of purple.

It may not be up there with the search for the grail, but gardeners’ quest for “true blue” flowers can be equally elusive.

For a couple years now, blue has been the object of my garden affection. I’ve built my color scheme around blue and hunted for seeds and plants of that hue.

That passion took hold of me at the grocery store the other day — the holiday display offered a selection of gorgeous potted lilies and hydrangeas. I felt an impulse purchase coming on… Did I mention they had BLUE hydrangeas? Well, you don’t need the photo above to figure out what happened (smile).

However, I’ve learned through experience that everything billed as “blue” is not created equal. For instance, a couple of years back I ordered flowers for my balcony garden that were described as “sky blue.” As far as I was concerned you couldn’t get more exact than that. Had it said they were “azure” I would have felt it was open to a certain degree of interpretation, depending on whether we were gazing at the same box of crayons. But come on, “sky” blue!

Alas, when I took delivery the flowers were straight-up purple. Not bluish purple, just purple. I called the customer service line and the conversation went something like this… “Did you get my order mixed up,” I asked. “No, they are more purple than blue,” the rep responded. “But they were definitely sky blue in the catalog photo… this isn’t even close, are you sure I got the right order?” I countered.

To make a long story short I was graciously offered a refund, but since I wasn’t going to ditch the posies I said it was OK, and chalked it up to a lesson learned: mainly, that there are definitely some gray areas when looking for that perfect blue. Especially when it comes to purple. And though I haven’t ordered that particular flower again, I have become more flexible in the blues I allow in my garden. I let them dance along the color wheel a few notches south of “true blue,” but unadulterated blue is still the ultimate goal.

By-the-way, I stumbled upon a packet of seeds when digging through the display rack at my local home improvement store — it’s for the wildflower Texas bluebonnet, and the package reads “true blue blooms.” I wonder if it will live up to that description? Here we go again…

[If you’ve found your “true blue” I want to know. Send a comment telling me about your favorite blue flower and how you found it.]

[Thanks for visiting City Diggity, please check out my archives for previous posts that you can take into your garden. And don’t forget to leave a comment; I want to know how your garden grows.]


  bangchik wrote @

You are right …. prepare for a shade of gray … as LIFE is …. cheers! ~ bangchik

  Stephanie wrote @

Nice blue! Sometimes the Morning Glory does look blue, but I think they are actually purple. Hmm… true blue is hard to find 🙂

  bughunter99 wrote @

Himalyan Blue Poppy. Sigh….

  Lynne Jordan wrote @

I think it is very brave that you purchased “true blue blooms” seeds. Good luck!!

  Alice Joyce wrote @

I’m on board re: the quest for blue. The first time I saw a blue himalayan poppy, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven, to use a cliche.
fyi Did I mention my garden was in Wrigleyville before I moved West? Small town garden, no grass! All perennials in front and tiny back yard. A pic or two on blog. Best, Alice

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