Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summertime is Vine Time

On the first field trip our garden club made to Hills and Dales in Lagrange, I noticed plant seedlings for sale as we exited the visitor center. Instead of something in the gift shop, I bought two vines that would remind me of our fantastic day. I put them on my kitchen window sill until I decided where I should plant them and in my search for the perfect spot, I realized how many other vines were already growing around my house and in my yard.

One of the vines I bought, seen above, was a "Cardinal Vine" or "Ipomoea Stoleri", it is an annual vine that attracts bees, butterflies and birds.  This vine likes a spot with full sun to partial shade and soil with good drainage. All parts of the Cardinal Vine are poisonous, the foliage, the flowers and the seeds. Once the seeds pods dry, you can pick them to plant next year or let them re-seed at the same spot. The flower size is medium in red color and resembles a morning glory.

The other vine I bought was a "Hyacinth Bean Vine." Their blooms are purple and white clusters that bloom all summer long and in our southern climate, through the early fall season. This legume is used in window boxes, on trellises, as a ground cover and on any available pole. Similar to a pole bean it adds nitrogen to the soil,  it also loves sun, good drainage and will grow ten to fifteen feet under the right conditions. However, like the "Cardinal Vine," it's purple pods are poisonous, but will re-seed or can be gathered to plant the next season in a different location.

The "Hummingbird Vine," pictured above is one of my favorite. The small red flowers DO attract hummingbirds. I have been re-seeding and growing this same family plant for over seventeen years.
I just hope the same families of ruby red throated hummingbirds have enjoyed the nectar every year.

The plant above may look like a weed growing in the edge or somewhere else in your yard, but if you don't recognize this native it's OK. The "Trumpet Vine" grows everywhere along our roads and
by-ways. One of the biggest vines I've ever seen grows on the Lower Fayetteville Road bridge overlooking Interstate I-85. The orange trumpet flower is an attraction for all our friends of the garden.

Not all the vines in my yard bloom, the "Virgina Creeper" or "Parthenocissus Quinquefolia" starts out a dark green in spring and summer, loves a wall or any sturdy support. In the fall it turns red to scarlet and bears small bush berries that birds love. This woody climber makes it's way up a house or tree by suckering, amazingly, without damaging the anchor and will climb thirty to fifty feet.

Periwinkle will bloom violet flowers in the spring and I use it like a mulch around several islands in my back yard. I transplanted these periwinkle plants from an old home place when I moved to my home in 1993. I can honestly say, it has survived several drought seasons and I don't remember ever applying fertilizer.

I don't know about you but I see a pattern to annual summer vines. Most love a sunny, well drained spot to grow, attract friends of the garden with their blooms and seeds, love a good place to climb, and will sustain themselves, year after year if planted in the right spot. The down side is most are poisonous if consumed, not through contact.

If, your not partial to the vines I grow, there are hundreds you can plant in your yard and garden....
so happy planting........and until next time...

Happy Gardening 2012!

Posted by Wilma Smith

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