Saturday, December 11, 2010

Seeds of a Trellis Future

One of my fall projects, just completed, was to place another walkthrough trellis structure on the beginning of the path down from the back of my garden to the cattle pond, hoping to define that view and the walk as one of my garden entrance or exit points. My trellis's are certainly not things of beauty, made to take advantage of standard commercial lengths of treated posts, lumber, and lattice, but they are quite functional and easily built (and easily cemented into the ground so they won't blow away within the first week of creation). I already have one similar trellis at another point leading from the garden, covered from both sides with different varieties of Wisteria, but I was thinking for the second trellis of something more like a grapevine, or climbing rose.

Passion Flower /Maypop seeds
However, serendipity has stepped in and I've now decided that the second trellis will be covered with annual and perennial vines obtained for the perfectly affordable price of $0.  On one side, I'm going to plant seeds from a Passion Flower vine (Passiflora sp), obtained simply by picking up a mature fruit dropped in late September from the vines at the KSU Gardens. I cleaned these rather unique seeds with their golf-ball textured exteriors from the slimy fruit and dried and stored them.  At the Gardens, they completely cover a long stretch of chain-link fence and flower over a long summer season. Because of their size and perennial nature here, I suspect the species of which I purloined seeds is Passiflora incarnata, or the "Maypop," a common species in the southeastern US. This subtropical variety of this mostly tropical family is cold hardy to  -4°F (-20°C) before its roots die.  At least, finally, I'll have some passion in my garden and be able to enjoy the fruit of it.
  
Hyacinth Bean Vine seeds
On the other side, I'm going to plant some Hyacinth Bean vine seeds gifted recently by a fellow Master Gardener.  The Hyacinth Bean vine (Dolichos lablab) is a fast-growing annual with maroon sweet-pea type flowers that blooms in mid-summer.  It is certainly not a new find for the world (it's also known as Indian Bean, Egyptian Bean, Chinese Flowering Bean, and Pharaoh Bean), but I'd never heard of it myself until the beans were thrust into my hands at a local meeting.  I also had to resort to the Internet to lear about them, as I couldn't find them at all in my not-inconsiderably-sized reference library. Hyacinth Bean is drought resistant, and the only cultivation tip that it seems to need is to soak the seeds overnight before planting (which I would do with any bean seed as a matter of habit anyway).  It is reportedly used as food for both humans and livestock in some parts of the world, but several sources caution that the beans (that look like small ice cream sandwiches) must be boiled carefully, changing the water twice during cooking, to allow one to avoid the toxic cyanogenic glycosides they contain.  I don't know about you, but I'm not about to provide Mrs. ProfessorRoush any poisonous beans that I expect her to feed back to me.  I don't think I've done anything that might lead her to a simple cooking "mistake", but I always find it better not to tempt fate when one can avoid it. 

5 comments:

  1. I love Hyacinth Bean Vine! Easy, easy. You don't even need to soak the beans first. It grows like Jack in the beanstalk!! You can almost watch it grow daily. The blooms are so fragrant, and then the bean pods are that gorgeous maroon. My first experience with it is that a seedling was given to me by my neighbor. We were going on vacation, so I just stuck it in the ground and we left. We were gone for a little over a week and by the time we got back, I had forgotten about it. It didn't need me in the least; it just grew and grew on total neglect. And this was in the middle of July in Texas! That's a winner in my book. And I like the fact that I'm not "married to it." If one year I decide I don't want it, it's gone. No big root system to deal with, no throwing money away. It was free to begin with, and the seed pods are free too :-)

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  2. The passion flower vine caught my eye. Lovely. Makes me want to try it on an existing trellis I have. I'm zone 5 but the last few years we've been zone 6 in the winter. Jane

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  3. I'm just hoping both provide me a quick growth to cover the trellis and bring in the hummingbirds!

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  4. Whether you are searching for a creeper lattice to provide shade for your patio, a screen planter to maximize small spaces or even an espalier trellis for your fruit trees, the Trellis Store will have a high quality, durable garden structure ideal for your space.

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  5. Now that the passion flower vine is in the forefront of my mind, I'm having to figure out where to put it which means probably moving two clematis [who need moving anyway]. But this shows me again how new plants have a cascade effect in the garden. hehehe But where will those clems go? And where will the passion flower be seen at its best? etc. That's the fun of winter, with time to mull and dream. Jane

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