Flowering Blues

Saturday, June 08, 2019

This spring of frequent rains on the high desert is offering residents unusual wildflowers, they’re popping up everywhere. While walking on the little path that runs between my property and that of my neighbor, Frank’s, these brilliant blue penstomen–a small clutch of them almost hidden behind a tree–caught my eye. Blue flowers are amazing, for primary blue is beautiful–and powerful. Blue joins other colors and influences innumerable shades and variations. It’s a gift to us, finding blue natural in nature.

These sudden flowers, which my phone app identified, got me interested to learn more about penstomen. They’re in the “beardtongue family”–related to Foxglove and Lupine (and Snapdragon, a favorite of my dear friend Gloria)–all gorgeous plants.

It’s interesting how the color blue can invite feelings of great delight. For also, there’s a long tradition that refers to “blue” as a psychological mood, way on the opposite side of joyous. There’s a phenomenon of “color psychology” which suggests that colors on the “cool side” of the spectrum (or the “calm colors”: blues, purples, and greens) can bring to mind feelings of sadness or indifference. These ideas beg a philosophical question: Could one standing in a natural environment and seeing the color blue not experience sheer pleasure?

Dear Friends, Our emotions are complex, and all stories have multiple sides. Diana

One thought on “Flowering Blues

  1. I think the penstemon is P. humilis. I love the beautiful blue. I used to see a couple of plants on my property every year but haven’t seen any for a while. They seem to be a short lived perennial, 3-4 years. Never had any luck getting more plants by scattering the seeds. Successfully divided one plant to three but I don’t think the divisions lived in total longer than the original.


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