Portuguese squills (Scilla peruviana) are bulbous plants from southeastern Europe and North Africa. Quite at home in our Blue & Yellow Border, each plant produces a magnificent spike richly endowed with numerous flowers. The purple petals surround conspicuous blue stamens and ovaries in the center of each flower. The outermost buds open first, surrounding a dense cone of deep purple buds. The sharp-eyed among you may have noticed that the Latin name of this plant doesn’t match its geographical origins. Apparently, Swedish taxonomist Linnaeus believed the plants hailed from Peru, when in reality they had been transported aboard a ship called Peru.
For an even purer blue, it’s hard to beat gentians, and several are shining in our Back Garden gravel border. We tend to think that all gentians have blue flowers—perhaps because gentian blue is such a well-known color—but most Andean gentians have red flowers, while white predominates in New Zealand species. With sunny weather forecast this weekend, it’s the perfect time to visit and marvel at these miracles of nature. You certainly won’t leave feeling blue! And don’t forget, our Plant Sale runs Saturday and Sunday with many beautiful blooms on sale, including a few blues.
Ross Bayton – Heronswood Taxonomist