Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

100 Flowers : Come on the Blues! #032, #033, #034

Spring is racing onward in our corner of Suffolk, warm days and sunshine have turned up the pace and the prelude of white and yellow is now a sea of blue . . .

#032 Mysotis arvensis


It's well worth encouraging Forget-me-nots to self seed around the garden )and they will!) the froth of tiny blue flowers makes a wonderful backdrop to other colours especially red and orange.

The tiny flowers are worth a closer look – and you can see why the little flowers were so loved by Victorian jewellery designers who loved sentimental symbolism, engraved into silver or made of blue beads or stones on brooches and lockets.

The scientific name mysotis means 'mouse ear' – referring to the shape of the soft velvety leaves and arvenis means 'of the field' - it loves to self-seed on open soil, like the vegetable patch or flower border. Of course you may need to weed some out, but leave some to flower and set seed for next year and as a snack for the Gold Finches.

Forget-me-nots are members of the Borage family, you can see the similarities in the plant structure . . .

#033 Borago officianalis


Another enthusiatic self-seeder! I pull up lots of seedlings (the young leaves can be cooked like spinach or added to soups) but I let a lot of Borage plants grow and flower – bees love them!

And the star shaped flowers are a beautiful rich blue colours - you can pull the star shaped petals from the stem and float in a cordial or G&T.

Borage has been used as a medicinal herb for thousands of year, the clue is in the name officinalis means 'of the officina', the store room of a monastery where medicine was kept.


Of course the iconic blue flower of England in Spring time is the Bluebell . . .

#034 Hyacinth non-scripta
(and H. hispanica)


The Bluebells in our garden are most likely to be the imported Spanish Bluebell (H. hispanica) rather than the smaller native Bluebells (H. non-scripta) of the local woodlands, actually they are likely to be hybrids between the two (H. x massartiana). Nevertheless they are beautiful and make the area beneath the Walnut tree near the Dragonfly Pond look like a patch of a Bluebell Wood. You can find out how to recognise a native Bluebell here.

If you've never walked in an English Bluebell Wood (or if you have but haven't for a while) you have about a week left before the spectacle begins to fade. We visited our nearest wood last week and the shimmering carpet of blue was breath-taking! Su has written about her local Bluebells on her blog this week, I think two wet years and the early Spring this year have resulted in bigger and taller flowers so find your nearest Bluebell Wood and enjoy them over the May Bank Holiday this weekend.



  1. Borage certainly is happy to volunteer. Even in my dry climate garden it finds all sorts of places to grow. Unfortunately blue bells and forget-me-nots aren't quite up to the task in my garden.

  2. My garden is full of forget-me-nots and the hybrid bluebells too. In the evening the forget-me-nots almost seem luminous. I've not grown borage before but I did sow some seeds last week so I can start to have seedlings of that appear all over the place too :-)

  3. What an interesting post, I love learning new things. I can see those mouse ears, and the officina is very evocative of a time hundreds of years ago when herbs were so very important. Lovely to imagine the monks growing and collecting the flowers. If only we could step back in time for a while and watch.

  4. Celia, seeing these glimpses of the beautiful blues in your garden is a great treat! I love each of these flowers and agree with you about how much they add, each in a unique way, to the spring parade.

    What I didn't know before was the forget-me-not name being a translation of mouse ear. Wow...now that I know, I can definitely see the connection. Velvet indeed!


  5. One of my favourite phases of the garden year - the blues. For the first time ever, I now have a patch of Forget-me-nots and their colour is stunning. I had no idea of the mouse-ear origin.

  6. I FINALLY found a proper English bluebell plant in the 'poorly' section of my local garden centre. For £2.49, it seemed a bargain so I snapped it up and will plant it in today under the trees. I have tried to germinate bluebell seeds but they are notoriously difficult, so I am happy to have finally found a little plant to start off a few more in my garden. I would love a bit of wild garlic too but with its reputation for spreading like wildfire, I think I'll just enjoy it in my local woodland ;)

  7. Another lovely evocative positing. The traditional saying is "borage for courage" (some modern practitioners recommend it to support the adrenal gland as it helps with our stress response) and the bees certainly do love it. But a word of warning - Monty Don's "Ivington Diaries" record how the hairs of the borage plant can do damage if they get in the eye - particularly if the eye is then rubbed - so be careful when pulling up any mature plants that are being enthusiastic in the wrong place!


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