It’s true that, in this respect, while I know more than most non-gardeners, I often feel that I know considerably less than my horticulturally-inclined peers. In an excess of public feeling I’ve even been known to flaunt my ignorance before a keen amateur gardener, allowing them to bathe in the warm glow of feeling that invariably accompanies the knowledge that you have just ‘got one over’ an individual who, by virtue of their professional occupation, really ought to know better.
All this wordy preamble is really by way of setting the scene for last week’s plant-ID hiccup, which occurred when I got myself into a right old pickle over my Boraginaceae. This is a fabulous family if you’re fond of the colour blue*, including the forget-me-not (Myosotis spp.), lungwort (Pulmonaria spp.), vipers bugloss (Echium vulgare), and Brunnera macrophylla – all of them instantly recognisable, even by me. I’m fine with comfrey too, whether the tall, gangly wild comfrey Symphytym officinale – of smelly-leaf and compost-tea fame – or the much more dwarf, cottage garden favourite, Symphytym grandiflorum, which now oddly seems quite tricky to get hold of.
|Comfrey, Symphytum officininale|
* Or pink. There's often quite a bit of variation with this gang, sometimes even on the same plant. Flower buds are often pink, even with blue flowers. And then there’s the white and the cream. But I don’t think any family beats it for startling sky blues.