Sunday, March 20, 2011

M is for Myosotis

"Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of Heaven, Blossom the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels." 
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow "Evangeline" 

 Myosotis is the Forget-Me-Not - that little blue flower many love and a few despise.  It's so easy to wonder how anyone could dislike such a sweet flower until we learn some types in some locations in some conditions are so invasive they are considered a noxious weed (can not be bought, imported, or planted in Connecticut or Massachusetts.) 

Those somes are not my acres and I'm glad with that bit of fortune.  Just read the particulars to see if your area would be fortune or introducing a weed.

The perennial, Water Forget-Me-Not must sit in damp soil (always) and self seeds with abandon.  Don't plant it in your water garden, beside your pond or stream unless you enjoy the billowing waves of pretty blue flowers.  It will be carried outside your property if the conditions are right.  From my side of the fence, it is beautiful in those blue drifts - from yours - maybe not so much.  Purists consider any "introduced" plant (meaning not native to the US) a bad idea and all should be gone.  Especially if they bully out native plants.  That's a debate with many sides that I'll leave lay today and I'll just talk about the flower.

 There are approximately 50 species of the Forget-Me-Not - from annual to very hardy perennial.  Their requirements differ enough that most gardeners could find one that "calls his or her name." 

A little history about the name recalls Myosotis is from the Greek "mouse ears" referring to the shape of the leaves.  The current name is from the French  "ne m'oubliez pas".

Most Forget-Me-Nots prefer moist soil and part shade.  Put them in dry clay and they seldom last a year.  They are about 6 to 18 inches high.  They tend to branch and wave making them perfect for informal and cottage gardens.  They fill in around tulips and other spring blooming flowers.     

For the record:  It is the state flower of Alaska.  Newfoundland used the flower as a symbol of their war dead.  Free Masons used the flower as the symbol of members killed by the Nazis.  It was often worn by women as a statement of their devotion and undying love.  Henry IV adopted the flower as his symbol during his exile.  And because it is such a descriptive name, it has been widely used in literature - as recently as in book I of "Lord of the Rings".

The flowers are blue with a yellow gold eye.  I consider them tiny in size.  They are not considered an allergy trigger and have no poisonous parts.  They are not considered a fire factor in areas where wild fires are a problem.   

"Art is the unceasing effort to compete with the beauty of flowers -- and never succeeding."
- Marc Chagall, painter, 1887-1985

Photos of the flowers are credited to the USDA web site and used with permission of Patrick J. Alexander and from the Wikipedia web site as credited with their permission.

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