How many colors in the crayon box would you need to depict a blueberry bush accurately throughout an entire year? Surprisingly, you would use the whole box in coloring blueberries. When you think of this plant, you probably envision it in summertime with green leaves and blue berries. The berries, for which you would obviously use a blue crayon, actually start out a light green, then turn pink, then to reddish purple, and finally a rich bluish/black.
The juice when you squeeze blueberries is actually magenta. Here is a photo of some blueberry juice, from which I made some mead. The color is actually more of a brilliant fushia-red. Who would think blueberry juice was red? When the juice is on your fingers or your face, its purple. When you get blueberry juice on a white shirt it will be pink until you wash it with regular soap, then the stain will be a blue gray. Its weird, but true.
Have you ever looked at a blueberry plant in the fall? Their leaves turn from green to a beautiful gradation of yellow to orange and red. This photo was taken December 2, so this was really late fall. Not all of the varieties kept their leaves on but the ones that did really put on a show. Not every year is a great year for color either, but 2016 was terrific. I think of December as being winter, but really, in Georgia, its more like late fall.
A look at the blueberry plants in January doesn’t look like much, only brown. Its hard to distinguish them from the pine straw, which is kind of gray and brown at the same time. Last year, we mulched in February, but this year, we had to bump that up as a January task because it got so warm. We had several days that were near 80 degrees. Some nights the temperature stayed around 60 degrees! That’s pretty warm for January. It is imperative that we get the mulch down before the plants bloom, and the buds were already starting to swell in the warm temperatures of January. So, I’m using the term “Winter” loosely.
So, here it is February 9th and earlier this month, Punxsutawney Phil, the Punxsutawney groundhog said we would have “six more weeks of Winter”. Well, maybe up north, but not so far in Georgia. The mulching is done now, and yesterday, February 8th, I took this photo of a blueberry plant just about ready to bloom. The blossoms are a delicate white and pink. Shown here, the buds are ready to open. Thankfully, only two plants are this close to blooming so early. Early blooms can easily be ruined by frost. Frost is also white, but the only white I want to see on my plants is the bloom. Keep your fingers crossed, and hope Punxsutawney Phil is only predicting Pennsylvania weather.