30 April 2015

Our Thunbergia Blue and White Sky Vines

In 2008, we finished the construction on our little casita and this became our vacation home until we retired in 2011. For the first couple of years our property was protected from the neighborhood livestock by a barbed wire fence. I made a trip from Texas to Costa Rica to see about building a proper perimeter wall around our property, installing a lawn and sprinkler system, and doing a little landscaping. John joined me for the latter half of this trip and we finished the landscaping together.

While enjoying our frequent mini vacations here, we had noticed the inside of the casita would heat up considerably during the day simply because there was no protection from the sun on our east side.

Looking for a remedy, we went to one of the local nurseries to see what was available for a sun block. One of their employees recommended a fast growing vine with flowers. So we decided to buy 10 starter plants, 5 blue and 5 white. Without a clue as to what we had purchased, John set about planting the vines all along the east side of the casita. The young vines needed something to attach to, so John nailed horizontal strings to the property wall about 12” & 18” above the ground. This was all that was needed for the vines to grab a hold and take off.

Within 5 months the vines had completely taken over the fence, completely covering it with vibrant green leaves and beautiful blue and white flowers.

The best part of all is the temperature in the casita dropped at least 10° F. The fragile little tendrils we planted in 2010 have now grown into the size of tree stumps and the vines throw daily runners so fast you can almost see them growing.

Today we know these vines are actually Thunbergia Blue and White Sky Vines. We have been amazed at how hearty they have been, especially with the dry, windy season we just endured.  They never slowed growing, whereas all of the other plantings around the property went dormant or turned brown.

A couple of weeks ago our housekeeper discovered the ground along side of the casita was very damp and she suspected a leak – right in the middle of those green green vines. John confirmed there was indeed a leak, but he couldn’t get to the leaking spot because it was half buried in concrete. So, he called a local plumber. The plumber came out to determine the cause and find out what parts it would take to fix it. Two days later, the plumber resolved the leak and we expect our water bill will drop substantially.

No telling how long the pipe had been leaking. Clearly our vines certainly enjoyed all the extra moisture. They have been in full bloom throughout the dry season and they are gorgeous. Their extra “water supply” has been cut off now, but the rainy season is just starting, so they will continue to flourish.

Anybody need some cuttings from our Thunbergia Blue and White Sky Vines? They are yours for the taking.

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