73 and still gardening

Posts tagged “blue flower(s)

Vanda Rothschildiana

To those who are feeling blue, here’s a pretty orchid to brighten up your day… – Mama Nene

Mama Nene's Garden

In gardens, beauty is a by-product.  The main business is sex and death.

– Sam Llewelyn

These indigo flowers come from the Vanda Rothschildiana,  a hybrid orchid between of the Blue Orchid (Vanda coerulea) and the Euanthe sanderiana. I’ve enjoyed looking at the 5 inches wide flat flowers bloom for at least 4 weeks.

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Tillandsia ionantha

I was so happy to see the blue flowers of my Tillandsia ionantha. When I featured this air plant in my driftwood composition (post last June 23), its leaves were just grayish-green (or a yummy color description would be green sprinkled with sugar-like coating). After barely two months clinging on that driftwood, some of the Tillandsia’s leaves turned red and two striking purplish-blue flowers bloomed.

This plant originally came from Mexico and some plant collectors brought this species into the Philippines.  I happened to acquire one specimen thru my friend Hermie (she found this in a garden show in Manila). Hermie told me that she winced when she saw the price tag; she couldn’t comprehend why such a tiny plant would cost that much than a Philodendron. Well, to me it was justly priced because it’s rare and I’m a collector of rare air plants.

Torenia fourneri in bloom

double purple

hot pink on white

blushing pink on white

I got my wish granted. The other week as I was tending my orchids, I saw a single flower peeking in between the pots of Vanda teres. I was so glad for it is a hot pink variety of my Bluewings plants (Torenia fourneri). So, I immediately secured and bagged the herbaceous bluewings surrounding it. And surprise, surprise… After a couple of days, a stalk bloomed with a paler version of the hot-pink. It’s the palest pink I’ve seen so far on Torenias and I have to get closer to it to see its tint.  This species is a perennial; yet, somehow the plant manages to give surprises every now and then. Its flowers are white-plus and the plus could be a variety of hues from blue, purple and pink.

bluer and blue

just lovely flowers in bloom

blue on white

free-blooming perennial

A.P. Blue blooming

While I was tending my plants yesterday, I witnessed a violation committed by a furry black winged-insect with bright yellow bands — a bumble bee (Bombus hortorum). I caught the drone in the act when he punctured one of the buds of my Dendrobium ‘A.P. Blue’. I dashed to my Dendrobium cluster as fast as I could. When I got to my orchid, the culprit had flown.

Bombus hortorum

It was too late. The damage has been done. Obviously, the bumble bee got the nectar he wanted for I saw a hole through the blue bud.

t’s a bit disappointing whenever this happens because once bees harvest the orchid’s nectar, the bud or full-bloom flowers begin to wilt. It doesn’t really matter to them as to who cultivated the flowers as long as they got there first before the stingless bees.  Though I understand the competition going on in my garden, I simply wish that the drone would’ve just waited for a few days when the blue flowers are in full bloom.

Blue Dendrobium orchids are indigenous in here in the Philippines and decades ago, these are found mostly in the forests in Mindanao. Due to the flower trade boom, most of these species scarce in the wild but are presently cultivated in orchid farms and in private gardens.

Like most of my orchids, Dendrobium ‘A.P. Blue’  is an easy-to-care hybrid variety from the original blue Dendrobium. The moth-like flowers are about 3 inches wide across and its blooms last for at least 4 weeks.


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.

Vanda Rothschildiana

In gardens, beauty is a by-product.  The main business is sex and death.

– Sam Llewelyn

These indigo flowers come from the Vanda Rothschildiana,  a hybrid orchid between of the Blue Orchid (Vanda coerulea) and the Euanthe sanderiana. I’ve enjoyed looking at the 5 inches wide flat flowers bloom for at least 4 weeks.