Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pretty in Pink

We can never really decide which color of flower we love best in My Florida Backyard. The happy yellow of sunflowers and voilas, the cheerful red of honeysuckle and tropical sage, the deep blues of salvia, the soft purples of asters and passionflowers... we love them all. One color we can never pass up, though, is a bright vivid pink, the kind that catches the eye and makes you say, "Oh, what is that? It's so beautiful!"

Hence the addition of two new plants to My Florida Backyard, both recent impulse buys at Lowe's on a sunny afternoon. The first is Skullcap (Scutellaria suffrutescens), a native of southern Texas and Mexico. It's a fairly small plant that is very drought-tolerant once established. It prefers full sun, and is frost-tolerant, so in zone 9 it is evergreen and requires very little care.

Skullcap is a perennial herb, and has a history of medical applications. The tiny tubular flowers appear all summer long and are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

The other new resident is Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri), a must-have for any butterfly gardener. We actually already have some, but the plants are still in the seedling stage and haven't produced any flowers yet. While we wait impatiently for them to bloom, this new addition provides instant gratification.

Gaura is native to the Southeastern US, and comes in many varieties. Some species of gaura have nearly white flowers, and others are the brilliant pink of our new resident. It's a wildflower, and can grow 2-4 feet tall and wide. It loves full sun, but grows well in partial shade too. This was one of the first plants to recover in the MOSI butterfly gardens this winter after the hard freeze, and the flowers are a constant draw for butterflies.

Leigh Hunt said, "Colors are the smiles of nature". My Florida Backyard is full of the cheerful grins of red, orange, and yellow and the sweet smiles of pink, purple and blue. It's impossible to pick a favorite, and we wouldn't even want to try!

1 comment:

  1. The skullcap is very cute. I will be interested to see its frost tolerance.