This spring B.J. put a potted (20 inch) PASSION VINE with its own little 3 foot trellis under the edge of the REDBUD TREE. As I write this on September 15th there are huge blooms 10 to 15 feet up in the tree as it reaches for the top. They are deep lavender and at least 5 inches across. Each of the 10 petals spread into a bowl. Surrounding these is a stalk of a ring of filaments enclosing the ovary and pollen making a very dramatic and different flower. After frost pot and all will go back into the garage for the winter. The REDBUD is strange looking without the vine.

          Climbing over the top of the HOLLY shrub is the fall blooming CLEMATIS in a solid white, sweet smelling mass. It is a volunteer seedling from the one on the patio fence some ten feet away. It is a very vigorous climber anywhere in sun I put it. Since I have many feet of 6 feet high chain link fence, I have several of these. They can get 6 feet wide as well as to the top of a tree. There are more than 200 species of woody, semi-woody, twining leaf CLEMATIS. The new hybrids of many colors are larger flowered. They do not live forever like the older varieties. Seed heads are fluffy and work well in cut flower arrangements.

          Big dramatic blooms of pink and red are on a trellis either side of my front door. These are MANDOVILLA that need I to find at the garden center each spring. Much slower growing than the FALL BLOOMING CLEMATIS but their blooms are many times the size. They will bloom from late July until frost in large clay pots.  I have never tried to keep them alive over the winter.

          The MORNING GLORY family (Ipomoea) is full of vines that like Nebraska. The biggest, most dramatic one I have had is the MOON VINE (Ipomoea alba) We treat it as an annual here and it will reach 10 to 15 feet easily with huge (5 inches across) white blooms that open in the evening.

          The seed is large and needs to be chipped or soaked overnight to get moisture inside. This helps it to get the plant out. Mine grows 8 to 10 feet on and around a trellis as well as up a tree. It will need some fertilizer and water to support that growth. In the tropics it may climb 70 feet.

          My favorite in the Ipomoea family is the SPANISH FLAG. I can not always find one each spring but it always spreads 3 feet wide and 5 feet tall against a fence or a trellis. It comes from Mexico so it is not hardy here. It has curved, tubular red flowers arranged in double rows along the stem. As it ages they fade orange to yellow covering the entire vine. It blooms all summer until frost. I have never had one survive winter so I need to hunt up a new one each spring. The stems are red adding to the colored “flag”.

          There are about 500 species of Ipomoea and the seeds of all are toxic. The ones I have called “SWEET POTATO VINES” hang from a tall pot rather than climb up. I have a black leaf one in an orange pot and a vigorous lime green one covering the side of a tall pot. They never seem to bloom but those gorgeous colored leaves do very well instead.

          The vine we all grew up with is an annual that seeds quite well. This is the MORNING GLORY. Another IPOMEA, this group all have tubular or funnel shaped flowers. MORNING GLORY’S come in many colors with large seeds that have to be soaked the night before planting. It will twine around a fence, trees, or a trellis up to 10 feet. They too have toxic seeds. It is believed they came from Mexico. As a kid some 90 years ago it was the first vine I met climbing up a windmill on a cattle ranch.

          Vines attach by twining stems that wrap around or have aerial roots that stick to surfaces.

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