One of a Kind

We can all blame Joan, but I’ve been taking lots of flower pics the past few days. It’s always on my summer to-do list, but I rarely do it. The blog and Joan were just the nudge I needed. Thanks!

First, this might give you a better idea about what I’ve come to call the “sea of tea” around here. That would be labrador tea, which by the way, has tremendously fragrant leaves. Mixed in with the tea shrubs are blueberries, so come August when I’m tramping through the tundra picking blueberries, I’ll be crunching through this stuff and sending up great wafts of spicy scents. Soaking in the labrador tea scent is one of the joys of picking blueberries. For now, however, we revel in the white sea of tea.


See what I mean? Endless acres of this stuff!

A couple of days ago, Mike discovered this flower in the ditch as we walked to the mailbox (do we ever go anywhere else?!) and asked what it was. It looked like columbine, except it was purple and white, not red and yellow. Columbine is one of my favorite wildflowers, and I’m sad I haven’t found any in the immediate area (I plan to change that), but I have never ever in my entire life seen a purple one.


But here it is! I looked it up in my field guide and sure enough, under the Western Columbine entry is a note that another species, Blue Columbine, is found in Eastern and Southcentral AK and the Yukon Territory. It is shorter, with smaller lavender and white flowers.

So tell me, if the flowers are lavender (I say they’re purple), why is it called Blue Columbine? Why are purple flowers called blue?

One columbine plant, and it happens to be purple. You can bet I’ll be watching to harvest some seeds. A ragged and torn leather boot that I picked up off the highway now lives in my garden as a flower pot and awaits a plant. I think I will plant blue colmbine seeds in it. Any bets as to whether I can get one to grow?

Categories: Alaska

3 replies »

  1. Hi Jen,

    I’ll take the blame! I love to see pics of the flowers everyone is growing or finding.

    I’ll send you a shot privately of my favorite hanging basket from the patio this year.

    By the way, I’m posting a beauty of a quilt on Monday that has your name written allllll over it!

    My best,

  2. Blue columbine are common in Colorado and there is one in my flower garden (of the not wild variety). We had a very wet spring here in high desert country and the wild flowers were/are wonderful. I also took pictures trying to capture the masses of flowers and color, with some success. I need to go out and collect lupine seeds. I hope I can find my favorite patch, now that the blooms are gone. There was a single white bush (I’ve never seen another white one) and one that was the clearest blue. Oh, speaking of colors- to you know the English folksong Lavender’s blue, dilly, dilly, Lavender’s green? It doesn’t explain *why* we would call colors by different names, but does demonstrate the confusion.actually, the song probably refers to the lavender plant (I have one of those in my herb garden), in which case it is green. Okay, I’m rambling. Let Joan take the blame and keep the pictures coming.

  3. Yes, I know the Dilly Dilly song. I don’t think I’ve ever thought about the words demonstrating flower-color confusion. My brain doesn’t process song lyrics the way it processes other words. There’s no explaining it, but it’s true.

    Aside: Once upon a time, when I was a teen singing along to some song, someone commented on the words coming out of my mouth. My mother shrugged and said, “She has no idea what she’s singing.” She was right.

    I can sing along to anything whether or not I know the words!