Baby Blue Eyes are the Druids (Celtic seekers of wisdom in trees) of the wildflower world. "Grove-loving" is part of the translation of these flowers' Latin name, Nemophila menziesii. They add sacred spots of blue at the base of oak groves in California.
In California, oak groves don't fit the definition that I picture of so many trees clustered together that they form a mysterious, dark world. Valley oaks are often spaced fairly fair apart, and it is in the grassy, shady spaces between them that Baby Blue Eyes grow.
These wildflowers are soft blue, an unusual color for flora and fauna, on the edges of the petals and lighter inside.
The flowers of Baby Blue Eyes get all of the attention, but the rest of the plant does feature grayish, fuzzy leaves with many lobes. The stem has a reddish tone.
The flowers are easy to grow from seed, even in a paper cup according to the book Central Coast Wildflowers. They are cultivated in Europe as a garden flower.
Baby Blue Eyes bloom between 20 and 5000 feet in shady places in California.
I hope that I did indeed find Baby Blue Eyes wildflowers at the base of Valley Oaks in Indian Grinding Rock State Park near Jackson in California's Gold Country. Unfortunately my photos did not come out as clear as I would have liked (possibly due the need for me and my husband to keep track of our one-year-old daughter who was running through the meadow at the time). We arrived in the early morning and the meadow was still dew-filled and shady.
I love just the color of these flowers since blue is my favorite color and so rare for animals and flowers.
The name, Baby Blue Eyes, reminds me of the way that newborn babies of European heritage usually have blue eyes, no matter what color their eyes are destined to be. Our daughter had grayish blue eyes for such a short time (much like the short duration of Baby Blue Eyes blooms), before they turned to the dark brown color so prevalent in the rest of her family.
In the iconography of the Middle Ages, blue was associated with Mary and a call to pray for spiritual purification. To this day, some churches and individuals still plant "Mary gardens" featuring specific symbolic flowers and symbolic flower colors to convey a spiritual message.