Monday, December 21, 2015

Blues in the Garden

Do you have blues in the garden in the dry season? Wondering what you should do with your blooming plants, should you fertilize, will it get too cold or warm or wet or dry???? And the big question, how to get more color for the holidays without planting annuals that will wilt in the heat of March/April?

Garden masters are always thinking ahead, planting today what will flower or fruit in the future. Not to worry if you are just starting to get a taste of the gardening bug, your skills will grow as you explore a whole new world. Let's take a moment to look at blues in the garden, the color blue, and some of the lowest maintenance landscape plants that bloom true and blue in the dry season.

Jacquemontia Pentanthos or Skyblue Clustervine is listed as native to the Florida Keys but my first sight of this plant was 20 years ago at Jumby Bay, St. Johns Island, Antigua. I was on a construction sight meeting with the project architect and could not keep my focus on selecting wood molding trims. Looking thru the window openings to the vivid blue Caribbean sky and aqua/blue water beyond there lay another blue wonder. Growing wild in the dune scrub and covered with sulfur butterflies this sprawling vine lay scattered along the ground in many locations. Unfortunately no photos exist of my first sighting however you can enjoy the spectacular photography skills of Roger Hammer as found on the Institute for Regional Conservation's website. Follow this link for an introduction and information on how to grow this beauty.
http://regionalconservation.org/beta/nfyn/plantdetail.asp?tx=Jacqpent
I found both the Skyblue Clustervine and Whitemouth Dayflower at Tropical Audubon's plant sale this past November. You can also look for these at local nurseries and at Fairchild events. You may even find one on the raffle table at a Native Plant Society Meeting.

Commelina erecta/Whitemouth Dayflower.
My first siting of this plant was quite tricky. I spied a whole field of these in full blue bloom on my way to a Saturday morning class at MDC-North Campus. When I returned they were no where in site. The flowers on this native beauty actually melt by late morning. The "field" in question was a sandy, dry lot along 119th street that has now been developed. Visit the Institute for Regional Conservation's website for information of Whitemouth Dayflower.

Both of these native blues bloom most profusely in our dry winter season. So far we are experiencing a wet winter season as predicted by El Nino conditions. For information on what to expect in the garden during a strong El Nino Dr. McLaughlin has detailed problems and solutions in the fall and winter issues of Miami Green Bytes.

For more blues in the garden link to Dr. McLaughlin's (aka "the Plant Doctor") publication, "The Garden Blues and How to Enjoy Them."

And last, with El Nino rain, be sure you are using a rain sensor if you plan on using irrigation, find out why on one of the many irrigation videos produced by the UCU Team.. For rain barrel/rain water collectors, our next workshop will be Sunday, January 17th at the Doral Farmers Market.

Happy Gardening, Happy Holidays!
Barbara McAdam


1 comment:

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