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“I got the blues, I got the blues, I got the blues”

Springtime seems full of blue – April showers, bluebells, forget-me-nots, grape hyacinth, scillas – perhaps a reflection of nature’s need to balance the predominance of yellow in spring flowers.

Tight Blue Double Aquilegia

Tight Blue Double Aquilegia

Primula 'Blue Denim'

Primula ‘Blue Denim’

Orlaya grandiflora, the true blue Anchusa azurea 'Loddon Royalist', and Geum 'Mrs Bradshaw'

White umbellifer Orlaya grandiflora, the true blue Anchusa azurea ‘Loddon Royalist’, and orange Geum ‘Mrs Bradshaw’

Blue Himalayan Poppy Meconopsis

The lustrous Blue Himalayan Poppy Meconopsis

Forget-me-nots

Forget-me-nots, a super biennial to plant with tulips

Woodland Phlox divaricata 'Chattahoochee' and Omphalodes 'Cherry Ingram'

Woodland Phlox divaricata ‘Chattahoochee’ and Omphalodes ‘Cherry Ingram’

The true blue of Ceanothus (California Lilac)

The true blue of Ceanothus (California Lilac) against a white-barked birch

Perennial Forget-me-not (also called Siberian Bugloss),  Brunnera macrophylla 'Variegata'

Perennial Forget-me-not (also called Siberian Bugloss), Brunnera macrophylla ‘Variegata’

A tiny blue spring bulb, Scilla siberica

A tiny blue spring bulb after heavy rain, Scilla siberica

The silver blue Iris 'Jane Philipps'

The classic silver blue of Iris ‘Jane Philipps’

Native bluebells in Prior's Wood, Portbury, North Somerset

Native bluebells in Prior’s Wood, Portbury, North Somerset

Phacelia tanacetifolia, a green manure cover crop from the Borage family, and very attractive to hoverflies and bees

My penultimate blue where the blue is actually not in the petals … Phacelia tanacetifolia, a green manure cover crop from the Borage family, and very attractive to hoverflies and bees

My last blue: cucumber-flavoured Borage, also known as Star flower, in latin Borago officinalis

My last blue: the cucumber-flavoured herb Borage, also known as Star flower

One of the bluest of blues is borage, Borago officinalis. Here in North Somerset, I photographed it on the edge of some village allotments. Borage is an un-fussy self-sowing annual. To avoid self-sowing, the flower heads need to be picked regularly. Borage does best in full sun in well-drained soil. Direct sow in April and May in full sun to partial shade. Borage develops a delicate taproot, so it’s best direct sown where it is to grow as it does not transplant well. Optimal soil temperature for germination is 21°C (70°F). Seeds should sprout in 5-15 days. Sow seeds 1cm (½”) deep and thin to 60cm (24″) apart. Borage will get large and fill in spaces between plants. Pick fresh flowers for freezing or drying for bouquets. Cut the fresh leaves during the summer to add to salads or spreads. The leaves and flowers are edible with a flavour reminiscent of cucumbers. It makes an excellent all around companion plant and a wonderful choice for attracting bumblebees. Borage deters tomato hornworm and cabbage worms, and is particularly good planted near tomatoes and strawberries as it is very attractive to pollinators, and excellent for the soil and compost. Borage is also deer-proof. (see also  http://www.westcoastseeds.com/product/Herb-Seeds/Borage/#sthash.Si90tcHg.dpbs )