Saturday, October 11

Glory Days

Last year Linda  - The Tenacious Gardener sent me some seeds as part of a giveaway. One packet  contained Morning Glory - Heavenly Blue. It wasn't the type of seed I would usually sow but I was happy to give it a go.

Seeds were sown at the end of April and middle of May under the growlight in an upstairs room.  The seed leaves are a rather strange shape.
We ended up with about half a dozen plants. All except one were planted outdoors and all except for one disappeared without a trace. The one surviving plant was in the garden greenhouse in a pot. This was more or less an accident, we had nowhere to put this plant and so decided to try it in a pot. 

If you have read my greenhouse updates you may remember that each month a flowerless Morning Glory has been a feature. In the photos below (taken in September) the plant bears heart shaped leaves and nothing else.
As room became available in the greenhouse we have been moving fruit trees inside. The last one to take its place was the peach and so I took a photo  on 1 October to record when it was moved. It was at this point that I noticed something bright blue in the viewfinder. I'm not sure how I missed it but I always think you see far more through the eye of a camera.
Further inspection revealed more buds which quickly grew. The buds develop in groups of varying sizes and remind me of a candelabra complete with lighted candles. In succession each will explode into a striking blue flower.


The bud spiral unwinds to form a funnel that then opens into a large circular flower.
Each saucer-shaped flower head is about 10cm (4") across and initially is a vivid blue with a white centre.  It's relationship to the bindweed that plagues our plot is clear.
The flower only lasts a day or two. The intense blue begins to fade after a short time and the flower develops pinkish purple stripes. The photo above shows the contrast in colour between a freshly opened and a faded flower.
 Gradually the edges of the flower begin to roll inwards.
 The flowers continue to curl until they form a tightly packed bundle.
If the flower had been successfully pollinated it should go on to produce clusters of seed pods.

Our plant is very late to flower, presumably because we didn't sow the seeds early enough, so I don't know whether it will form seed pods. Maybe I should try hand pollinating or kidnap a few bees and hold them hostage in the greenhouse.

Linda also sent me a packet of Cerinthe which was another flower that I had never tried to grow before.
So thank you Linda for giving me the opportunity to grow something different that I probably wouldn't have chosen to but found to be fascinating.

27 comments:

  1. You have captured the lifespan of a flower so expertly, Sue! And it is a really beautiful flower too.

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    1. Thank you Mark. It is beautiful.

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  2. I have always had a soft spot for Heavenly Blue. In my first garden there was an old potting shed and once I found behind a shelf a folded calendar page with Heavenly Blue seeds in it. It was from the 1930's. They did not grow but it was a kind of connection with the past. It told me about a plant that used to be grown in the garden.

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  3. I love the colour of morning glory. I didn't realise it was such a prolific climber...maybe one to consider for the bee plot!!

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    1. Ours planted outside didn't make it Tanya, They seem to be a slug delicacy.

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    2. Hmmm....some carful planting ideas would need to go into place and I guess I need to check how much food they have for the bees...they are beautiful though!!

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  4. Really lovely photos and a pretty flower. I've never planted morning glories, but they come up in my garden every year. They are a weed around here. I love them though and usually let them take over my compost pile area.

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    1. We have their relative - hedge bindweed, Daphne. It has white flowers and is an absolute nuisance and smothers other plants.

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  5. Such an intense colour, and very striking flowers. Your photos are beautiful, and I love the ones of it curling up so tightly as it fades. A shame the outside ones disappeared.

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    1. It has been fascinating to study it CJ.

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  6. Beautiful color Sue! Blue and white have mixed beautifully.

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    1. It is a very striking colour Endah.

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  7. I love the intense colours of morning glory, though I rarely get around to growing it myself. I do love cerinthe though, and am kicking myself for not sowing enough in September to have overwintering plants.

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    1. They are probably plants that I would have not got round to growing either, Janet if I hadn't been sent the seeds.

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  8. I have only ever grown Imopea successfully once and what a show they put on - they were grown in a container up an obelisk. Ever since then I have tried unsuccessfully - the slugs took them all this year. I love the sequence of pictures showing them from beginning to end, and it convinces me to try again next year. A blogging friend in America says they grow like weeds in her garden.

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    1. Daphne says they are weeds in her garden too, Elaine which is also in America, Maybe their slugs are outfaced by them there.

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  9. The slugs had every one of my Morning Glory seedlings just as soon as they were planted out. They'd be a great plant to smother my fence but I doubt I'll manage to thwart the slugs.

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    1. Try growing in pots, Jo as Damo says he did.

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  10. Superb shots, flowers and the colours are magnificent.

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  11. Looks lovely Sue, I grew quite a few this year along a new length of trellis whilst the clematis are establishing themselves. Sowed in pots I waited until they were quite large plants before moving to their final positions - I think this got them past the slug stage as they were up to the top of the 6 foot trellis by end of June and flowering their socks off. Easy to collect seed from too.

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    1. I was thinking this could be the way to do Damo so thanks for confirming it

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  12. How nice following their progress. Usually they grow well in my garden but this year the slugs got mine too, I have never quite known a year like this for slugs.xxx

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    1. We need more hedgehogs, Dina - lots more

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  13. I have grown both and love them for their colours and shapes. In fact I think Heavenly Blue morning glory is probably my favourite flower, possible because of family holidays in France when I was a child, seeing them grow everywhere round house doors in old tin cans.

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    1. It's associations isn't it, sweffling? Probably why I like primroses and bluebells so much

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