April 12th, 2005
Nemophila insignis/phacelioides

photo: Nemophila insignis baby blue eyes
2010-04-03. Two shades of blue in a central Texas garden: baby blue eyes and Texas bluebonnets.

Valerie shared some seeds for baby blue eyes and now in their second spring in my garden they have really spread themselves around. Like the bluebonnets, larkspur, and Love-in-a-Mist, in central Texas they grow over the winter and flower in the spring.
photo: Nemophila insignis baby blue eyes
2005-03-25. Nemophila phacelioides. Austin, TX

I’ve learned recently that there are various species of baby blues eyes. My plants are descended from seeds gathered, I believe, along the roadways of south Austin. Given that information, I realize it is probably our Texas native Nemophila phacelioides. The N. insignis (aka N. menziesii) sold by some seed companies is native to California and Oregon. This is one time that the Latin names prove more confusing than the common ones.

photo: Nemophila phacelioides baby blue eyes
2005-03-30. Baby blue eyes in front of a mass of spiderwort. Another week or so and this section of the yard will look very weedy.

Update: 2018-03-12

I notice that the self-sown baby blue eyes in the pond path garden are large, bushy, and covered with large flowers. They look stunning this year. In sharp contrast, the ones by the back fence, which had looked nice in years before, are stunted, yellowed and not started to flower.

Is it the acidic sifted pine bark mulch from the paths. I covered this area with it in the fall when I was moving path. It was too much for the bluebonnets causing them to get moldy (or something) and wither. So maybe baby blue eyes like a rich humusy mulch.

Although I tend to disregard them, they can be very beautiful in a well-mulched drift.

by M Sinclair Stevens

2 Responses to post “Nemophila insignis/phacelioides”

  1. From Debbie Reid:

    I love the Baby Blue Eyes. They are a sure sign of a intact riparian area. We need to band together to grow this seed and make it available especially to Texans.

  2. From Jennah - MD:

    I just took some pics of this flower today with the intent to post them on my blog and inquire what it was! It’s a weed here, but I’ve always found it to be a very, very pretty weed. It grows in my front yard around my stepping stones. Thanks for a very timely twitter to tell me what it is 🙂