Genus nemophila(Nemophila) family borage (Boraginaceae) previously referred to as water-leaved. It unites 13 species of annual plants growing on the American continent. Their range extends from the west of Canada through the west and southeast of the United States to Mexico itself. They grow in valleys, in meadows, among bushes, along the edges of pine and fir forests. Some species rise in the mountains up to 3100 m above sea level. The name of the genus itself indicates where the nemophila likes to grow - it comes from Greek words nemus - clearing, forest glade and phileo - be in love. She loves the sun or weak partial shade.
From the small variety of species in culture, two nemophiles were selected, which have been grown in America and Europe since the 19th century. These annuals are valued for the tenderness of pubescent lobed foliage and the unusual appearance of bell-shaped flowers, for long continuous flowering throughout the summer. And, of course, for the ease of growing from seeds and relative unpretentiousness.
Nemophila Menzisa (Nemophila menziesii syn. N. insignis) - most beloved for flowers of different shades of blue with a white spot in the center, up to 3 cm in diameter. For its heavenly coloring in everyday life, it is called American forget-me-not, as well as Baby Blue Eyes. Rarely, the flowers are white or slightly bluish. Large tracts of this plant can simulate water, because the stems of the plant creep along the ground, raising above them myriads of single cupped five-membered flowers. The bright green leaves create a luscious backdrop for the flowers. Blooms from June to autumn.
There are 3 varieties that have limited natural ranges:
- Nemophila menziesii var.atomaria, often referred to as Snowstorm - with white or slightly bluish flowers, dotted with black or blue dots along the veins of the petals;
- Nemophila menziesii var.integrifolia - with blue flowers, with five black dots in the center and dark blue veins;
- Nemophila menziesii var. enziesii - with bright blue flowers with a white center, which also has five black spots.
The popular variety Penny Black has a dark ink color that softens the white center and white border of the flower.
Nemophila spotted (Nemophila maculata) speaks for itself. Its flowers are larger, up to 5 cm, white with blue veins. Along the edges of the petals, it is amusingly decorated with rather large "ink" spots, for which it received the English name Five Spots - "five spots", and one of the varieties - the touching name "Ladybug". Leaves with 5-7 toothed lobes, the upper ones are sessile, spoon-shaped. Blooms from June to September.
Location... For nemophiles, choose a sunny place, in extreme cases - light partial shade. In the shade, plants become too loose and bloom worse.
The soil... Nemophila needs a loose, well-cultivated and nutritious soil close to neutral (from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline).
Sowing... Unlike many annuals, nemophiles do not require growing seedlings. They are sown directly into open ground at once to a permanent place, because they do not tolerate transplants. The distance between the rows is 20 cm, the seeding depth is 3-5 cm. Sowing should be done as soon as the weather permits, early. Plants are quite cold-resistant - so, spotted nemophila in nature is selected to the zone of mountain snow. The crops are covered with non-woven material, not forgetting to monitor the soil moisture. Seeds sprout in 1-2 weeks. With the appearance of the first true leaves, crops are thinned out at a distance of 15-20 cm.
Care... Nemophiles are unpretentious and require a minimum of attention. The bottleneck in growing plants is watering. The soil under the plants should not dry out, but the plants will not tolerate locking either. With a lack of moisture, nemophila can stop flowering. Mulching the plants will help retain moisture and reduce weed infestation.
Top dressing... Nemophila is fertilized with a complex mineral fertilizer with microelements. The first feeding is given 2 weeks after germination, the next two - during the budding period and during flowering. Top dressing can be applied not only fractionally. An alternative is to apply a long-acting fertilizer for flowering plants once, in the spring.
Pests... Only slugs harm the plant; they are easiest to collect using wet traps.
Nemophila has creeping shoots and a small height (15-30 cm), so it will be good in the foreground of a flower garden or in a border. It can be used to frame mixborders of perennials and roses. She will give very harmonious combinations with blue, white, pink forget-me-nots, bells, umbrella Iberis, daisies of suitable height and varieties of sea lobularia. A striking contrast will turn out with a feathery carnation of bright colors, poppies, as well as with Nemophila's compatriot - Californian satin Escholzia. The blue paints of Nemophila Menzis will be delicately emphasized by the graceful annual gypsophila. A spectacular sight is the carpet planting of Nemophila Menzis. Nemophila is readily visited by pollinators, bees collect pollen and nectar from it.
In a garden container, Nemophila behaves like an ampelous plant, hanging over the edge of the pot. In this case, it is better to use it for a composition of 3-5 different plant species. And don't forget about regular watering. As well as on the sunny side of the rocky garden, which nemofila will decorate with shoots "flowing" on the stone for the whole summer.
Unusual nemophila flowers will make a small summer bouquet original, especially since you will be provided with a cut until autumn.
In conclusion, some entertaining geography. Some species of nemophila Menzis have a very limited range - a mountain belt, a warm piece of California, or even a desert. But sometimes this species is found far beyond its typical habitat - even in Alaska!
This plant was very fond of the Japanese. The large (190 hectares) Japanese park Hitachi Seaside Park has become world famous, where 4.5 million blue flowers of Nemophila Menzis bloom in April. From late April to mid-May, the festival "Nemophila Harmony" is held here, which attracts so many Japanese and tourists from all over the world that it can be difficult to take a photo. This sea of nemophila can overshadow the famous Muscari rivers in the Dutch Keikenhof. However, both the azure miracle will be remembered forever!