Not all plants are created equal. There are some plants that are difficult to grow, fussy to the point of frustration, needy, disease ridden, or completely incapable of facing any environmental challenge without curling up and moving on to that great garden in the sky.
Then there are plants that are so easy you keep asking yourself is it luck? any day now will whatever magical charm has been placed on them evaporate and leave me with a pile of dead brown sticks? can gardening be this easy?? As a group, annual ornamental vines fall squarely and securely into the latter category.
For mere pennies, ok 200 pennies , you can buy a packet of seeds at the hardware store( or if you are fussy 300 pennies plus shipping and handling will get you specific cultivars from the likes of Johhnys Select Seeds or Burpee), dig a little hole, water until germination and Viola! you get to enjoy bloom covered masses of plants from late summer until hard frost.
Cypress vine ipomoea quamoclit, morning glory, purple hyacinth bean , scarlet runner bean,moon flower ipopmea alba ,cup and saucer vine cobaea scandens , purple bell flower rhodochiton astrosanguineum , climbing spinach basella rubra, spanish flag mina lobata, love in a puff caardiospermum halicacabum ,climbing black eyed susan thunbergia spc,nasturtiums, mandevilla ,even bottle gourds are all quick easy and almost foolproof additions to the late summer garden. *
A few others, like asarina scandens which needs a 10-12 week head start indoors , and climbing aster aster carolinianus whcih needs things a little more damp, are worth a try as well.
This time of year anything you can add to your garden to help assuage that sinking feeling summer has past by and soon another winter will be here is essential. Not a year goes by that I am not grateful for the bevy of ornamental vines that are now coloring my garden, check out some photos below.
Next year I am going to try again ( third time is the charm?????) to start climbing monkshood aconitum hemsleyanum ,if anyone has ever started it from seed successfully or better yet knows of a vendor who sells started plants let me know.
*in New England, where all of these are annual, feel free to grow and enjoy…in southern states where these vines are perrenial or seed can oerwinter many can be thugs