Earth Day is today, Sunday, April 22, 2012. There's so much to celebrate. It's a beautiful morning in Camas, Washington and my favorite spring flower, Myosotis is taking center stage in a corner of the garden. It's a spectacular carpet of blue.
Myosotis, comes from the Greek word meaning "mouse's ear," so named because of the leaf's appearance. It is a genus of flowering plants in the family Boraginaceae that are commonly called Forget-me-nots - there are more than fifty varieties.
In Alaska, where I grew up, the Forget-me-not is the state flower growing wild along streams in woodland areas in the midsummer months. Forget-me-not flowers are very fragrant in the evening, with little or no scent during the daytime.
The legend of the forget-me-not is a bittersweet tale. Once a medieval knight and his lady love were walking beside a river when he fell into the water. Alas, heavy armor weighed him down and sinking, he threw the bouquet of blue flowers to her shouting, "forget me not."
The tiny and delicate blossoms remind me of clear blue sky and the yellow center, the sun. Five petals grow in a slightly disorderly fashion which makes them even more appealing to this nature lover. In short, they are quite charming with timeless appeal.
The forget-me-not is a perfect plant for a shady garden, or those damp spots that are normally tough to landscape. The true forget-me-not is the Myosotis sylvatica, and can be found growing wild in parts of North America, Europe and New Zealand.
The second forget-me-not is the one that is often seen in Alaska, or spots near a stream bed. It's the M. scorpiodes, or the water forget-me-not. It grows low to the ground and blooms longer, plus, it's a perennial. These will do well in a shady garden if kept moist.
There is another variety called the Chinese forget-me-not, or Cynoglossum amabile, but it's not a true Myosotis. These are annuals and don't need to be kept as moist as the other two true forget-me-not varieties. Chinese forget-me-nots can be grown in sun or light shade.
In my Camas, Washington garden, two varieties are growing and both are the true forget-me-not. While I can appreciate the Chinese forget-me-not, I'm partial to wildflowers and enjoy their hardiness and return visits to the Spring garden.
Yes, it's Earth Day, Sunday April 22, 2012. There is so much around us to celebrate. Today, with the sun shining and temperatures near 80 degrees, this Camas, Washington EcoBroker will soak in the beauty of nature - and listen to its message of "forget-me-not."