A Book of Blue Flowers

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Overview

Perhaps the most uncommon hue in the plant kingdom, the color blue strikes a distinctive note in any garden. In this fascinating book, now available in paperback, Robert Geneve provides a wide selection of blue flowers that will help readers expand the range of colors in their gardening palettes — from powder blue and turquoise to navy and violet. A well-traveled garden visitor and gifted photographer, the author has included more than 150 stunning photos of blue flowers from gardens around the world. A Book of ...

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Overview

Perhaps the most uncommon hue in the plant kingdom, the color blue strikes a distinctive note in any garden. In this fascinating book, now available in paperback, Robert Geneve provides a wide selection of blue flowers that will help readers expand the range of colors in their gardening palettes — from powder blue and turquoise to navy and violet. A well-traveled garden visitor and gifted photographer, the author has included more than 150 stunning photos of blue flowers from gardens around the world. A Book of Blue Flowers is an ideal handbook for gardeners of all skill levels and in any climate.

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Editorial Reviews

Gardens Illustrated - Christine Shaw
"By including plants from the USA, Australia, Asia, and Europe the author has ensured that this book's appeal is wide-ranging."—Christine Shaw, Gardens Illustrated, September 2001
American Gardener
"If blue is the color you seek in garden flowers, this book has plenty of ideas for you."—American Gardener, July/August 2001
Fine Gardening - Barbara Blossom Ashmun
"Every gardener can use this book to get the most blue flower color into beds and borders."—Barbara Blossom Ashmun, Fine Gardening, May/June 2001
From the Publisher
"Every gardener can use this book to get the most blue flower color into beds and borders."—Barbara Blossom Ashmun, Fine Gardening, May/June 2001
Booknews
Geneve (horticulture, U. of Kentucky, Lexington) looks at 150 or more genera of plants, and hundreds of species and cultivars, whose flowers range from aquamarine to violet blue. He begins with a wide-ranging discussion of such issues as the technical aspects of the color blue and the use of blue in the garden, followed by an A-to-Z description of blue-flowering plants and their cultivation. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From The Critics
Blue is a rare, sought after color in the gardening world and this provides a review of those hybridized species which provide blue flower. Robert Geneve's Book of Blue Flowers presents over 150 genera whose flowers cover all types of blue hues: while many would be better described as 'purple', some ' as menconopsis horridula - are pure blue. Packed with details gardeners will appreciate.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781604695113
  • Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/15/2013
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Geneve is a professor of horticulture at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. He is the coauthor of two other books, one on plant propagation and another on the biotechnology of ornamental plants, and is a frequent contributor to popular gardening magazines. He received his doctorate in horticulture from the University of Minnesota, and his master's degree in ornamental horticulture from Pennsylvania State University. In his research appointment at the University of Kentucky, he has written over 60 technical papers. Geneve is also a photographer and lives in Kentucky with his wife and three children.

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Read an Excerpt

Blue is not a common color in plant organs other than flowers. Our view of the world would be quite different if a segment of deciduous plants had brilliant blue-colored leaves included with the reds and yellows that dominate fall. Red as a fall color is the result of unmasking and intensifying anthocyanins as chlorophyll breaks down in the leaf. Since blue is one manifestation of anthocyanin pigments, I am not sure why it is not found in fall colors except that it may be related to the cellular pH in senescing leaves. It suggests that blue as a flower color has advantages for attracting pollinators that warranted its evolution in flowers.

Even so, some types ot plants normally have bluish leaves. They can complement species with blue flowers by repeating their color in the garden. Blue foliage color is more common in certain plant groups than others. It is most common in conifers such as fir (Abies). juniper (Juniperus), cedar (Cedrus), and spruce (Picea); ornamental grasses such as fescue (Festuca) and oatgrass (Helictotricon); and desert species such as Agave, Echeveria, and Euphorbia. It is even found in perennials like hostas and rue (Ruta). The blue coloring is not always due to additional anthocyanin pigmentation in the leaf. Rather, many of these plants have a glaucous bloom made of waxes. This bloom provides a "cloudy window" over the leaf. When seen through this covering layer, the normwal green color of the leaf appears blue. This ecological adaptation helps the leaf to reduce water loss in harsh environments.

Blue color can also appear in fruits. These are not as common and have more subtle appeal than the boisterous claims of red or orange fruits. My favorite choice in this category is the porcelain berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata). I first saw this plant trained in a zigzag pattern atop a railing alongside descending steps at Dumbarton Oaks Gardens of Georgetown, Washington, DC. This arrangement was a wonderful way to "tame" this vine to provide close inspection of the multicolored berries that appear in late summer into fall. Other plants with ornamental blue fruit include barberry (Berberis) fringe tree (Chionanthus), Clintonia, Clerodendrum, Juniperus, privet (Ligustrum), Oregon grape (Mahonia), Solomon's seal (Polygonatum), skunk cabbage (Symplocos), Vaccinium, and arrowood (Viburnum).

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