'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Thursday, 21 May 2015

A Morning Glory by any other Name

When I was young I stayed with my Russian grandmother.  It was for a fairly extended time as my mother was in hospital, and I would like to say I got to  know her quite well, but, well, that's a story for another post. She did show me affection in many ways, and probably as much as she showed affection for anyone, it was just that she came with her own story and background and was probably constrained in the feeling and showing of love because of that.
Anyway, the post today is more about her huge vegetable garden, which was really HUGE. It would have amazed you to think that such a small, thin, little old 'first wave' white émigré woman could ever have kept up with the area and grown quite so much as she did.  And I'm not even including the peaches and plum trees in her front garden.
I don't recall much of what she grew, not being old enough at 4 to be particularly interested, but I do remember the artichokes - huge thistles taller than me - which she told me in a rather off-hand way she didn't really know why she grew, as she didn't like to eat them herself but merely gave them away.
Behind the vast artichoke bed and growing against the back of the garage, was a vine covered with leaves shaped like hearts and the most flimsy, large, breath-takingly beautiful, purple-blue flowers.  I remember asking her if some part of them could be eaten and she snorted and said it was just a weed which she hated, and it was called convolvulous.  I later came to know it as Morning Glory, for its habit of opening its glorious flowers to the sun every morning.  It's also called bindweed elsewhere.
Unfortunately like many plants brought here to the mild climate in New Zealand, it really does far too well, and it rather a pest.
I still think it is one of the very best colours, however.
Here it is on one of our walks completely covering a wire fence.

Behind the fence is a large pond with lots of swallows and a number of ducks
that think they are safe from the May duck-shooters.








14 comments:

  1. I occasionally grow them.I'd give them 6 out of 10.

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    1. Yes Cro. I like the colour, but I wouldn't intentionally plant them in New Zealand, nor jasmine, honeysuckle, sorrel, monbretia, day lilies, canna lilies, chusan palm, agapanthus, acacia (wattle), broom, lupin, heather, mexican daisy (erigeron) and kahili ginger, to name a few.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasive_species_in_New_Zealand

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  2. I love morning glories, though planting them on such fertile soil here in my little farming valley was probably not the smartest thing to do. Every year now I have to pull their sprouts out of my flower beds and just let a couple grow up the arbor. The praying mantises love them, too.

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    1. Oh, do you call them Morning Glory there too Jan? Are they the same colour?

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    2. My favorites are the Heavenly Blue, but I've also planted smaller ones that are very dark purple, and a variegated one. The variegated one didn't fare very well. It's the dark purple ones that really grow like weeds.

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    3. I just saw your list of invasive species in New Zealand. I do grow several of these, and they would be invasive here, as well, except I'm surrounded by farm land and California is dry. The farm land is plowed and sprayed with Round Up, and our long dry spells keep anything outside an irrigated yard pretty well under control. Both the jasmine and honeysuckle, and also gardenias, are blooming right now. It smells really nice outside.

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  3. Ya gotta love those Russian grandmothers. My German grandmother, from Russia, also grew a huge garden...a lot of cabbages for sauerkraut.

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    1. Ah yes! I must learn how to make that, Red. Baboushka had a few Russian dishes that she made, but she was quite young when she and her family left Russia and arrived in China.

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    2. PS how interesting that you had one too.

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  4. Weed or not, it looks lovely on that fence! I love that colour (or those colours) too.

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    1. It does look better than the wire Monica, doesn't it? Although I see the leaves are looking very chewed this late in the Autumn...

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  5. We also have this flowers in Denmark and they will covers everything if you alloved them to

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    1. Ah Kirsten, I sometimes morbidly think of the end of human life on Earth and all the man-made structures shrouded beneath a covering of vines with multiple coloured flowers...

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    2. An awful pest but a pretty one. When my daughter was born someone commented that she had morning glory blue eyes. I thought that sounded lovely.
      Do you remember the patch that I blogged about some time ago? http://helsieshappenings.blogspot.com.au/2011/11/morning-glory.html

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