September 11, 2010

My Happy Experiment with Two Vines

 Sometimes breaking rules pays off. It all began last year. I had a surplus of the common houseplant known by many as the Sea Onion, or Bowiea volubis, a South African native, you might be familiar with seeing it at spring flower shows, or on windowsills grown as a novelty, with its strange twining branches which look exactly like emerald green branches of coral emerging from a shiny, fleshy perfectly green sphere which sits on the soil like a large dinosaur egg. The problem with Bowiea, is that one never really knows what to do with it, and it usually is seen just tumbling out of a clay pot, and hanging off of the windowsill.

I really don't remember why I decided to pot the Bowiea I had into a large pot, but I do remember thinking about throwing them into the compost pile since they had divided into far too many than anyone could ever want or need. But there were too large, almost softball size spheres that I felt required a future, but I needed something for them to grow on. I found the trellis, but it only fit into one massive 14 inch clay pot, but then it all came together. Why not do something indulgent, and pot ALL of my Bowiea into one large pot, and watch the branches twist and crawl up the trellis?  To make a long story short, I did this, it looked awesome, and by July, the entire cone was covered with green coral. Lovely.
 Cardinal Creeper is a funny little annual which is rarely seen or grown, I think because it's just one of those annuals that one always sees in the catalogs, but which you never grow. I hadn't even tried it before, I think because I really don't have a place to grow it. But then, who really has a 'place' ready for morning glory's and  Ipomoea x multifida any way? The only way around this handycap, is to find places, and found this pot of Bowiea. The foliage on the Cardinal Creeper might be its best asset, but then, that is also the best asset if not the only asset of Bowiea. A perfect marriage.
In this image from June, you can see the young Cardinal Creeper foliage just starting to climb.
By late August, and Early September, the mature column is full of both foliage and red the red flowers of the Cardinal Creeper which is, a Hummingbird magnet. 

Bowiea volubis flowers are tiny little stars.

The blossoms of Ipomoea x multifida are so red, they are challenging to photograph in full late summer sunshine.

1 comment :

  1. Anonymous5:34 PM

    This is *fabulous*.

    I love Ipomea x multifida. I have wanted to grow it for years but am too afraid to risk its invasiveness in Hawai'i. If I stay on in California next summer I will definitely grow it :)

    Jacob Knecht


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