What is it about blue flowers that causes such an obsession among plant breeders and gardeners? I’ll confess my own devotion to the deep blue volunteer hydrangea at the end of my driveway (I plan to take cuttings this year so that it’s beauty can be spread all over my garden) – I am not immune to the phenomenon.
So I found this little tidbit of a story quite interesting. It is about petunias and how scientists may have discovered a way to grow them in blue. But what is more interesting (to me) than the breeding science, is the acknowledgement that pollinators aren’t attracted to these blue flowers (petunias), so they have to be exclusively created by breeders because natural selection would have them die off. I am curious why bees won’t go for the blue petunias (they cover my blue hydrangea)?
And I also wonder why we are pursuing blue flowers that bees won’t pollinate. There is clearly a commercial demand for the color but should we not be judging plants on more than just commercial demand? I don’t have any serious issue with trying to breed new colors, or for other traits but shouldn’t (at the very least) these new plants be welcome additions the ecosystem that is a garden? Should we have a sort of code of ethics related to plant breeding? I know there are rules to protect patents, but that seems completely business oriented. What about sustainability? Why aren’t alarm bells going off when natural pollinators won’t do the job they were meant to? Is this a trend towards an over engineered version of unsustainable beauty?
I admit, I don’t know enough about this and have lots of questions…if you know something…by all means jump in the conversation.