Tag Archive | vines

It’s Time To GARDEN Once Again!

lablab
Purple Hyacinth Bean, or Lablab
(Photo found online)

Wow. Summer is leaving, thankfully, and cooler temps are beginning to pop up, a day here, and a day, there. That means I can start to spend an hour or two in my yard again, clearing out “excessive horticultural overgrowth” and planting winter annuals and veggies. For the last four months, I’ve been trapped inside, but I’ve been so busy working on my third novel, I didn’t have time to go outside, anyway, so I guess it worked out okay. Now as I near the end of my first draft, I can afford to take a few hours off a week to do the other thing that’s good for my soul. Plant stuff! 🙂

Question for any of you loyal followers who have stuck around while I was busy elsewhere. How many of you grow lablab, or purple hyacinth bean? I ordered some seeds from amazon a few weeks ago, and have been very pleased. I found a supplier offering 100 for $4.95 (the same price as those offering TEN!) I crossed my fingers that the seeds were viable, and planted them in a container by the framework of my patio gazebo. It said germination was ten days to two weeks. In three days, sprouts were popping up everywhere. In 3 weeks the first vines were nearing the top of the gazebo. And now, roughly 8 weeks later, the vines have flowers galore and purple bean pods coming out.

I’m really pleased with this one, and am planning to do the same thing on the opposing corner of the gazebo, so the vines can meet in the middle.

I’d like to hear from others who’ve grown this. There is an online argument as to whether the beans are edible, and from what I can gather, MOST sources say they can be toxic in large amounts, and recommend boiling them twice, throwing away the water each time. I don’t think I want to eat anything enough to go to that much trouble. I’ll just grow mine for looks, because the color of both the blooms and the bright purple pods is beautiful. What do you think?

My Poor, Neglected Garden…

…and my poor, neglected blog! I’m so sorry to have been AWOL yet again! My only excuse is that writing a book is a major time-suck beyond all imaginings. I am in the revision and editing stages, and it seems like I’ve been sitting at this computer at least 8 to 12 hours every day.  The house is full of dust bunnies the size of small ponies. Some of them are asking to be fed, now, along with the real animals. And the garden? Well, let’s just say it’s best not to go out there  without leaving a note indicating what part of the yard you’ll be in and when you expect to return—just in case search parties become necessary.

Okay, you get my drift, here. No time in the garden tends to mean not too many posts on Who’s Your Granny. But I did go out there yesterday and take note of the most offensive areas, hoping I might be able to do some yard work over the weekend. My granddaughter is coming to see us next weekend. She’s 8. And not very tall yet. I don’t want her to get lost amid the rampant horticultural overgrowth. And while I was walking around making notes on what should be done, but probably won’t, I found that my volunteer gloriosa lilies (Gloriosa superba) are blooming. Because they have popped up in various places, I have little control over where they wander, and their tiny tenacious tendrils (how alliterative!) cling to neighboring plants as well as any supports in the area. Thus, their spidery red flowers are dripping off of bushes, trees, and weeds, instead of being neatly organized on the supports I offered them, but never got around to tying them to. 

I cut several for vases, and have discovered the fragile looking flowers last quite a long time in water. It’s raining today, (oh, no…no yardwork for me, darn it!) so I’m sharing a picture of the ones inside my house, instead of outside. If you have never grown these wonderful vines, you really should. They grow from tubers that you can buy as you would other bulbs, and they die back to the ground every year. But they multiply underground, like many other tubers, and soon you will find them popping up in the warm months to cover an entire trellis with their wonderful blooms. They come in yellow and a few other shades, but none so truly worth of the name “gloriosa” as the red one, which is sometimes sold as the variety “Rothschildiana.” 

Without further ado, I present to you, the gloriosa lily! Enjoy!

gloriosa

If you notice, the top leaf in the picture has a curled tip. That is the tendril. This is the only vine I’ve ever seen that clings via leaves that modify themselves into curling tendrils. Maybe some of you know of another that does, but I don’t. And that little curl can extend to wrap around and around a support stem.

gl1

Another angle. BTW, that “Green Anthology” you see lying there is a great little book of collected poems, short stories, essays, and book excerpts, all featuring the theme of “Green.” I was very lucky to have been asked to contribute, and have one of my poems in the book. And June 15, the “Summer” anthology comes out, in which I will have three of my poems. I’m really excited about having some of my work published, and can’t wait until I have a novel out there, too. I guess it’s been worth neglecting my garden for a while. The book is available here, should you want to check it out. 

What’s Blooming In Your Garden Today?

In spite of the muggy heat and excess rain lately, I managed to find a couple of things blooming here and there.  Most everything else is buried under vines and weeds, waiting for my return to yard work.  I reckon it’ll keep a few more weeks.  In the meantime, here are a few pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Nothing is more colorful each morning than ruellia (also called Mexican Petunia, though it is neither from Mexico, nor a petunia).  While this plant is known to be an invasive species in Florida, please be assured that there is a non-invasive, sterile variety, and I only grow that one in my yard.  I will be happy to provide more info on that, if anyone is interested.  You can’t grow a tougher, more resilient plant.  And they’re pretty, too.

Here is an example of the one of the vines running amok in my garden this summer.  This is a volunteer native called Scarlet Morning Glory.  The flowers are only about an inch across, very pretty, and attractive to hummingbirds.  On the negative side, the vine will cover anything in its path.  But on the positive side, sort of, it dies completely every winter after the first heavy frost.  However, it seeds like crazy, so you will find yourself pulling babies all spring.  My advice is not to plant scarlet morning glory on purpose, but if it volunteers as this one did, and you find it running rampant in the late summer, you may as well enjoy it for awhile.   My thryallis peeking out from underneath this one it might disagree with me.

I found one last purslane blooming in a hypertufa bowl.  It looks pretty happy, where most of  its brothers and sisters have succumbed to way too much rain in recent weeks.  They will reseed a bit, here and there, and the parent plants will come back, but they never seem to  look as good as the originals purchased from the nursery.  At least not in my yard.  Other than that, they provide dependable color for a fairly long time before they begin to decline.

What’s blooming in YOUR yard today?