Sky-Blue Pink

Grass pink ~ Calopogon tuberosus


Many years ago, a fellow blogger used the phrase ‘sky-blue-pink’ to describe something in one of her posts. I no longer remember what she was describing — a sunrise? a flower? a piece of clothing? — but I’ve never forgotten the phrase.

It usually comes to mind when I see the Belt of Venus, but it also seems appropriate for this grass pink orchid framed against a perfectly blue sky. By the time I return to the Big Thicket, these orchids will be near the end of their bloom period, but new delights will take their place as the cycle of the seasons continues.


Comments always are welcome.

69 thoughts on “Sky-Blue Pink

    1. Thank you, Ann. It always helps to start with a beautiful model, you know! These flowers were just glorious this year, and I’m so glad I got to see them at their best.

    1. Isn’t it great what a little back-lighting will do? With the sun shining on these directly, they tend to appear monochromatic, but the variety of shades in this one is lovely.

      When you mentioned an opera star, the first person who came to mind wasn’t Callas or Kiri Te Kanawa, it was Florence Foster Jenkins. She hardly had a voice at all, let alone a beautiful one, but she bloomed as beautifully as this flower — at least, in her way. I may watch that film again, just for a few grins.

    1. The blogger who came up with the phrase has closed her blog, but I happened to save her comment in the body of one of my posts, so I know exactly when we were talking about it: 2009! It’s hard to believe that was over a decade ago.

  1. So that’s what sky blue pink means!! Thank you, Linda. This photo is so lovely it belongs in a magazine — maybe one of those coffee table books on plants or scenic spots in Texas.

    1. It’s simple enough that it would transfer well to something like a canvas bag, too. I’m so glad that I found one of the flowers I could isolate like this. They’re pretty when they grow in the middle of the grass or the ferns, but the details really shine in this one. Now I want to see the Belt of Venus again — and can’t you just imagine one of these flowers against that pink and blue sky?

    1. Remember ds, of Third Storey Window? She’s the one who came up with the description. She’s closed her blog now, but I quoted her in one of my 2009 entries:

      “The magic, of course, is color, and at least from this window it is brief, intense, and unusual. It is sky-blue-pink. Take those tints right out of the old Crayola box–the one with 64 upright crayons and the sharpener on the outside– “sky blue” and “pink.” Let them swirl and blend, dodging the occasional cloud, yet remaining distinct. Try not to let them morph into purple. No hint of gold or yellow remains; the sun is already gone. Sky-blue-pink. Say it as a single word; see it as a single hue.”

      We’d been talking about language as a palette, and a certain marmeladegypsy chimed in, saying, “I find (language as a palette) a beautiful and fascinating concept. There are so many variations of color, and when they blend together, even more. Why say “blue” when azure or teal or slate might tell the story better?”

      We’ve both expanded our palettes since then, don’t you think?

    1. I think maybe you did, but it’s always nice to hear it again, Ellen! By the way: have you seen the new dates for the 90 on 90 garage sale? It’s scheduled for September 18/19 now. I get the Schulenberg newsletter, and it was in there.

    1. I don’t usually click the footnotes on a Wiki article, but I did on the one you linked, and found even more information. The phrase is older than I realized, and has been more widely used.

      I was pleased that the saturation of both blue and pink were so well balanced in the photo; neither overwhelmed the other.

  2. Sky blue pink, yes. Quite distinctive and it returns to the importance of backdrops we were taking about the other day, Linda. Plenty of other colors here to admire as well: The tuft of yellow, the striking green stem, the grayish, slightly purple bud! –Curt

    1. All of the colors are wonderful, but you know what tickles me just as much? The way the tip of the petal just meets the stem, and doesn’t overlap it. That’s pure happenstance, but it’s perfect.

  3. This must have been one of those times you thought someone would happen by and think they had discovered a cadaver in a meadow.
    An interesting perspective that I should try although my meadow often has standing water to make it a soggy attempt.The pink does please with that nice blue sky and this particular stalk still has plenty of life with those upper buds remaining. Another lovely C. tuberosus shot, Linda.

    1. You know enough about the growth habits of grass pinks to know the sort of contortion that was needed for this one. The orchid was near a boardwalk, and that helped, but I had to lay on my back on the boardwalk with my head and camera below boardwalk level to isolate the flower. I might not have tried it if there had been other people around, but there weren’t, so I did.

      1. Lol, what a visual! But one which also takes me to full-on summer when dipping one’s hair to kill oppressive heat (without benefit of either bathing suit or total immersion; )

        1. Sometimes the invitation to “go soak your head” is perfectly good advice, and not a bit of gently contemptuous dismissal. We’re in the midst of real summertime heat now — 33C or so — and it’s time to start adjusting the schedule and getting serious about coping mechanisms. I noticed today that the mallards have started seeking shade in the afternoons; it’s a sure sign that summer’s arrived.

      2. One of the places I photograph the GPs is at a bog and we are required to remain on the boardwalk. I have lain there most every time, not just for the orchids but the pitcher plants and sundews too, band the only time there was someone else there it was a companion for the morning.

  4. I can only echo others about how beautiful the sky blue pink in the photo is. But even more than that, you made me go look up Belt of Venus. I’ve often been intrigued by the colors in the sky opposite the sunset or sunrise, and now I know what I’m seeing.

    1. Are you familiar with the Atmospheric Optics site? I use it frequently; it’s fun to browse the categories, and it’s useful for sorting out questions like, “Is that a rainbow, or a corona, or something else?” The Belt of Venus is especially beautiful with a setting or rising full moon pinned to the sky like a brooch.

    1. Isn’t it interesting that ‘sky-blue pink’ seems somehow different from ‘gray-green’ or other such combinations? And there’s this: ‘sky-blue pink’ seems far more appropriate than ‘sky-pink blue.’

      1. Linda – did you see this on the internet recently, from the BBC I think: “French, little, rectangular, knife, whittling, green, lovely, silver, old.” You have to put the words in order, and according to the article, there is only one correct answer. You may have been taught this Law of Adjectives, but I don’t remember learning it.

        1. I think I did read about such a ‘law’ in the dark, dim past (see what I did there?) and my reaction at the time was roughly the same as it is now: “Whatever.” There well may be patterns to our use of adjectives, but to say there’s a ‘law,’ or that only one way exists to combine words, is silly.

          Since I had such a strongly negative reaction to the proposition, I looked for an article, and found this one. When I read that the person whose tweet they quoted is a NYT’s culture editor who likes music made with computers, I wasn’t surprised.

          As for the example used to prove the point, the first thing that occurred to me was that anyone who’d pile up that many adjectives in a single sentence probably isn’t a very good writer anyway; even if they got the order messed up, most readers wouldn’t be around to notice.

          1. Both articles cited were British, our cousins defending the Queen’s English I guess from our uncouth lot. I like your thoughtful sweeping fresh rounded black-and-white original whole-cloth grammatical response.

    1. I think ‘dainty’ describes them well, although you’d be surprised how they stand out in the landscape. Part of that’s their color, of course — and they are about two inches across, so it’s quite a splash of color in the midst of so much green. I really was pleased to be able to get this particularly photo — and I was pleased to be able to get back up without too much difficulty.

  5. I adore these dainty orchids in all their delicious colors. I commented once and WP told me my comment was duplicate. I keep getting them only on this site. Ever so strange.

    1. I keep an eye on WordPress, but I’ve stopped trying to figure out the various glitches that show up. I just try to solve them, and move on. I keep getting “this reply cannot be posted” notices, but if I refresh the page, the comment posts. Weird.

            1. Now that I think of it, I do that, too. The other time it works is when my avatar and information suddenly disappear from the comment form and I’m being asked to enter information and sign in. I just save my comment, refresh the page, and voila! I’m shoreacres again.

  6. We were all down to the sunset last night as it threw those exact shades across the sky (which was spectacular enough on its own) and tinge everything in its line or sight, to bathe in those rays – a benediction of better days to come…

    1. As beautiful as sunrises can be, I think I do prefer sunsets, and that quality of benediction is part of the reason. If I had trouble sleeping, or feared things going bump in the night, that might be less so, but as it is, there’s just nothing like slipping into darkness surrounded by such rays.

  7. “Sky-blue pink” might be the pink that is the exact opposite in hue and saturation as sky blue. I do like the juxtaposition of color in that photo. It brings out the intensity of the orchid purple and almost makes the sky shade look like a neutral background.

    1. You’re right, about the quality of the blue. I mentioned that I like the way the blue and pink/orchid/lavender seem balanced in this photo: neither seeming harsh, nor overwhelming the other. Even the bit of yellow and orange seems just right. Any more, and it would have been too much.

    1. I think a lot of common names have come about in just that way. I like the thought of flowers as poetry. I’ve been sitting here wondering who nature’s novelist would be — the sea, maybe.

      By the way — I found the video about Papa Joe and Charleston. The whole thing is interesting, but Papa Joe shows up about 5:00.

  8. What nice framing! You’ve caught so many angles of this orchid with different kinds of light. I’ve really enjoyed them all.

    1. I was lucky to be able to see them at the height of their bloom, which gave me plenty of opportunity to find pretty, fresh ones with good color. Now, their time is over for this year, and summer flowers are beginning to appear. That means more orchids — if they bloom this year, and if I can find them!

    1. Neither color is one I’d choose for clothing or walls, but in nature? They’re both beautiful, and even better in combination. ‘Sky-blue pink’ is the perfect description of that orchid’s color, I’d say; it’s as though it’s taken a little of the sky into itself.

    1. Isn’t it, though? It occurs to me that this kind of contrast (or color combinations generally) must be a good part of garden design. I suppose that’s part of the value of garden tours: getting to see combinations that might not have come to mind otherwise.

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