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.