Annual vines are the stars of of the September Garden, be they the common Morning Glories (Ipomoea and Convolvulus species including plants such as those omnipresent Sweet Potato Vines), the Nasturtium selections and lesser-grown species such as Cardinal Vine or yellow Canary Creeper, or even the more unusual, lesser known Nasturtium relatives such as the collectible truly twining Tropaeolum species like T. smithii. All of these plants share a trait - of these quick-growing vines will, at first, seem rather slow growing, and may appear unexciting until late summer when they really take off. This habit, often seen displayed in truly annual vines, should be one of the primary reasons for growing them - for late summer is precisely the time when one needs to see lush growth on an annual, and bright, cheerful colors more commonly seen in spring or early summer annuals. These vines have large seeds, they are terrific for children to plant and grow as their first foray into the gardening worlds, as they are so rewarding - seemingly growing many inches each day, often completely covering the structure on which they are grown in late summer, just as the sunflowers are blossoming, and the pumpkins are ripening.
The structure one uses is where many gardeners become creative, for one doesn't need a trellis for these twining vines, most anything will work. In the wild, all of these species grow up and over small, branchy shrubs - often tumbling up and over a shrub - after all, they are vines, and that's how vines grow. But we can take advantage of this habit - by allowing these aggressive growers to cover creative objects - this year I planted Canary Creeper in our lost parrot's large cage, since we didn't have a use for it. I placed a large pot inside the cage, which was already on the deck ( sadly, awaiting Kojo's return from his vacation in Rio), and after a slow start, the vines have completely covered the cage. Now, in September, the vines are beginning to blossom. Their tiny, fringed bright yellow flowers are transforming the planting into a golden cloud.
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|Tropaeolum peregrinum, the annual Canary Creeper, covers on an old bird cage illuminating the late summer garden.|
|This fringed Tropaeolum argentinum looks very much like the canary Creeper, but it is a rare relative. It is also seed raised, but from seed I obtained from a collector in the UK. Not something one will ever find in a commercial catalog.|
tropaeolum species, but each year I look for more to collect and grow - for some reason, the genus attracts me.
|A violet Japanese Morning Glory growing in a window box. Typically, these varieties are clipped and trimmed,|
not unlike bonsai, and grown in small pots, where there restricted growth forces them to produce larger flowers.