Wednesday, May 13

Garden Pic Wednesday: Amazing 4 O'Clocks!

Today was mowing-the-back-yard day, especially since thunder showers are possible this evening.
I also tied up tomatoes & hibiscus, trimmed off the outer edges of both Pampas Grass out front and watered the veggies & blackberries with Miracle-Gro.

Today's interesting Garden Pics are 4 O'Clocks, which are an old-fashioned flower.
It also has a more elegant nickname: "Marvel of Peru," which comes from it's genus-species name, "Mirabilis Jalapa."
4 O'Clocks were exported from Peruvian Andes around 1540.

Three years ago I bought seed from Park Seed for 2 specific colors of 4 O'Clock: Limelight & Broken Colors.
And they've performed beautifully. They are short & bushy in form and bloom profusely at dusk every evening. They also come back faithfully every spring.

Pictured below: Limelight 4 O'Clocks
Bright lime green leaves with fushia blooms.

Next: Broken Colors:
An heirloom, this is the original 4 O'clock color with blooms of mixed colors like paint was spilled or spattered on them!
Leaves on this one are a dark green.

Normally, 4 O'Clocks are classed as an annual.
I assumed mine were coming back because they re-seeded themselves--but I made a huge discovery this year when I decided to dig some up and move them to other locations!
Here in the Deep South where the ground doesn't freeze, 4 O'Clocks become become perennial
They develop fat little tuber roots and come back from that root as well from any seeds they drop with each new seedling, in turn, developing a tuber root, too.
So all my Limelight & Broken Colors that have been coming back every year are the same ones I planted from seed 3 years ago! 

Pictured Below: 4 O'Clocks with Tubers:
I dug up some of the Broken Colors to move and took this shot of their tuber roots to show. I noticed older plants have bigger tubers; younger have smaller. 
They put up multiple stems from one root.

Because it's coming back from root, that Limelight 4 O'Clock in the first picture is still growing in the same place as when I took that picture! 
In a climate where getting good performance from anything I plant is troublesome, these 4 O'Clocks have proven a surprisingly good investment!  I just didn't realize till I dug them up how good!
Next spring I'll have to check the seed catalog for any other interesting colors!
What's something amazing growing in your garden?
That's it for today! Stop back for Mama Kat tomorrow!

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