My first encounter with this plant was in late 1990’s, in 1997 to be exact. I remembered that bought Agaves and Ti plants in black plastic bags at a trade fair in Mugna, Iligan City. When I got home, I just placed those newly bought plants in a vacant area of my garden. Since I was still teaching Home Economics that time, my gardening hours were done after school or at weekends.
After a few days, some sprouts appeared alongside the Ti plants and the Agaves; they look like weeds and I almost pulled them up. However, I noticed the toothed leaves looked like mint, so I decided to let them grow a while. A few weeks passed, those unknown plants grew into an upright bush of 8 to 12 inches in height.
They have small and unusual blue, purple, pink and white blossoms that resemble trumpets. The pale blue flowers have dark blue blotches at the end of the petals; the lavender ones have deep purple blotches; and the white ones either have light or dark pink blotches or none at all. Also, each flowers have prominent markings at the petals, like bright yellow throats.
When I re-potted my Ti plants, I also moved these plants (with compact soil attached to the plants) to disposable plastic cups. Experience taught me never to pull plants from soil for most plants tend to wither when transplanted when pulled and roots exposed to air.
I placed some them in semi shaded areas in my garden and I also brought some of these plants at my H. E. garden in school. I should say that I got rave reviews from my students and co-teachers alike; they were captivated with the blue flowers. When they asked what they’re called, I simply replied: bumblebee.
Most of my friends, plant buddies and acquaintances asked me for cultivars of “bumblebee”. They either planted them in the ground, containers, window boxes, hanging baskets or in formal flowerbeds. From then on, these plants were spreading here in my hometown used as garden borders or edging, or featured in rock gardens.
Honestly, I really have no idea of its name or origin until today. Thank God for the internet, I finally learned the plants’ name is Torenia fournieri. They are commonly called Bluewings, or Wishbone Flowers.
After the Bluewings reached the peak of its blooming season, the whole plant withers. After four months, I noticed they were sprouting everywhere in my garden. That’s how I realized they must be propagated by seeds; that’s how they got here in my garden. I have no complaints though, they bloom all year round.