Monday, June 1, 2009

blueberry fields forever

Friday morning was magical.  I accompanied several friends out to Monteocha Gardens, a U-pick blueberry farm just ten miles north of Gainesville.  I was quite surprised to learn there were eight (yep 8!) varieties of blueberry found in Florida!  However, only two are cultivated; Vaccinium ashei (rabbiteye blueberry) and Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry).  To learn more check out this IFAS extension page.

The farm was beautiful.  Shady and tucked back off a country road.  I fell in love.  While the blueberries weren't exactly ready, most were still quite green/pink, if you patiently looked and danced with the plant ripe ones were there.  In addition to blueberries, the farm was home to several other plants interspersed here and there:  Tradescantia ohiensis (common spiderwort), Albizia julibrissin (Mimosa), Rubus cuneifolius (sand blackberry), Passiflora incarnata (purple passionflower), and Vitis rotundifolia (muscadine grape).

Vaccinium corymbosum

On the drive back into town, I was distracted by the beautiful roadside splendor.  A hazard of going anywhere with me, or my sister, is we continually check things out and make pit stops.  I yield to plants, she brakes for rocks, and we both stop for turtles.  We're quite a pair.  Luckily I drove myself so there was no one else to inconvenience.  I collected some specimens and geeked out over all the botanical treasures.

Rhychospora colorata (fine-leaved, white-top sedge)

Phlox drummondii (Annual garden phlox)

Phlox drummondii

 I know the post is called blueberry fields forever, but most of my blueberry pictures didn't turn out well... and I didn't take many because I was preoccupied with the eating/gathering of the blueberries.

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