Morning Glory Mishaps

Doreen Taylor wrangles with beautiful bindweed

Morning Glory 2
Although I love painting flowers I'm a gardener first. Give me some earth or a wall and I'll smother it with plants. Hence my dismay at a bare strip of fence set aside for an Iceberg climber that is taking it's time to get going.

'I know - Morning Glory will do the trick' thinks I. That's like an annual bindweed in bright blue.

They need to soak their feet overnight before sowing and started off in a seed tray, or, in the absence of a greenhouse, pots on the windowsill. They germinated quite quickly and being spindley and floppy, were soon in need of supports. They can't go outside until after the frost.

That happy time came at last and out they went, provided with a little wigwam to support them while they made their way towards the fence. So far so good.

Now they might appear to be fragile and delicate but believe me, they have an iron will of their own! Would they oblige and fill up the gap on the fence? Despite a lacework of twine carefully provided for their needs, their thread thin tendrils groped blindly and persistently for their next door neighbour, my Mermaid rose. Every morning I carefully unwound them and coiled them back into their rightful place and by evening they were back around the Mermaid rose.Every morning I carefully unwound them from the rose and reattached them in their rightful place and by the end of the day they were back again, obstinately clinging to their chosen host. In the end I just had to give up and learn to live with my grotty undisguised bare fence panels.

But that wasn't the end of my anguish. Oh no. The worst part was yet to come

The day dawned when I had buds at last. Right at the top, slender and coiled like barleysugar twists, very pale green and with light smudgey grey looking tips. Flowers at last. The next morning I could see them from my bedroom window. All open, spectacular trumpets of dazzling purple blue - and all of them peering over into next door! Not one of them facing me! How could they? Me, who had nurtured the and, like with the children, let them go their own way. And now they were turning their back on me!

Yes, I did sulk, of course I did. Their lovely flowers last for less than a day and by next morning new ones open to relace them. And the next morning it was the same, all the new buds preferring the family next door to me. Just like the children.

It took me a whole week of disappointment to realise why. I had planted them in full sun, exactly the right thing to do. My garden faces south, what more could they want? The answer? By scrambling to the top of the fence the buds were facing the east - and the first rays of the rising sun, their glorious early morning bugle call.

You'll be pleased to know that my story has a happy ending. As the plants grow of course they produce buds lower down that catch the sun as it moves round to shine onto the fence itself and so most of my naughty children open their eyes facing me. And, in doing so, they know that come next spring I'll be sowing Morning Glory seeds once more.

Morning Glory 1