Friday, March 29, 2019

End of March Blues

I was struck by all the blue flowers we have in our landscape at the end of March. Yes, there are some reds, pinks, and yellows, but the predominant color right now seems to lean to the blues.

(Note: For reference, I've included links to the species profiles on Atlas of Florida's Plants website where you can see the native ranges, other photos, and more.

Savanna iris

Savanna Iris


When I bought my starts for this Savanna Iris (Iris savannarum), I thought it was Dixie iris (I. hexagona). It was several years ago, but I think that's how it was labeled, but it turns out that it's not because it's not evergreen and the seed pods are not hexagonal enough. Also the Dixie iris is native to just a few counties in the Big Bend area, so it's preferable to have those that are native to my county.

It's done very well on a mound I built at the northern end of our front pond. (Click the link for more information on our pond.)

Savanna iris grows in a huge clump at the northern end of our pond.

Lyreleaf sage


Lyreleaf sage (Salvia lyrata) makes quite a show in several areas of our front yard in the spring. We delay mowing our yard in the spring for the wildflower show. I wrote about this several years back: The Lawn Less Mown, so this post is a follow-up in a way, but now I have even more diversity in our lawn areas. I do move some of the wildflowers from the lawn and into wildflower gardens. When I do this for this wonderful sage, the plants grow quite a bit larger and more robust. I saw that someone described this plant as weedy, but I don't see it that way at all even though it is prolific. In the lawn, it's easy to mow, in the wildflower beds, it makes quite a show, and in the vegetable beds, it's easy to pull if necessary and if not, it attracts pollinators.

Lyreleaf sage takes over whole sections of the front yard.
Lyreleaf sage beautifully fills in a wildflower garden.

Someone thought that the Lyreleaf sage's basal leaves
looked like a lyre.
A lyre for reference...


Forcing the focus on the toadflax

Canadian toadflax

Canadian toadflax (Linaria canadensis) is all over at this time of year. It's growing in the lawn and in garden beds, especially the edible gardens. Even though it's as tall as the lyreleaf sage, it's not nearly as showy because the flowers are smaller, the stems are more delicate and the basal leaves are barely there. 

The toadflax has a beautiful, delicate flower, but it's not easy getting a good photo because the camera doesn't focus on the flowers. so I forced the issue and used my hand as a shadow and the background. 


Canadian toadflax


Ohio Spiderwort

Bluejacket (Tradescantia ohiensis) self seeds quite effectively, so once you have it, you're likely to have an increasing population, but who could object? This plant has a long blooming cycle. each flower lasts only a day, but there are so many on each stalk.

Love the fuzzy stems of the anthers. Bluejacket

Venus' Looking-glass is almost purple


Clasping Venus' Looking-glass (Triodanis perfoliata) is a lovely spring plant that's native to Central and North Florida and northward through some of Canada. I get a lot of it in my vegetable gardens where the soil is rich as loose.

Clasping Venus' Looking-glass Out by the mailbox garden...


Almost blue...


Blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) Read my article Florida Blueberries and my more recent article Blueberry Hill, which relates the hows and whys of moving my blueberry bushes to a new location.

Almost blueberries... Maybe we'll get to enjoy some of these berries before the birds get them. 
The other almost blue plant is the blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium), which is looking very perky in our unmowed yard, but it's not blooming yet. I have moved some of the largest plants to wildflower gardens that need a low grower to fill in near the edge. It's a beautiful little perennial and lasts for several years.

Blue-eyed grass in a rain garden a few years ago...

I hope your End-of-March-Blues are limited to the blue flowers and fruits in your yard and in your community. Happy spring gardening!

Oh yes, and there are notable yellows at the end of March: Coreopsis and more in the mailbox garden.

Green Gardening Matters,
Ginny Stibolt

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