‘Appreciation’ for morning glories

No sooner did I mumble “morning glories really should be considered a wildflower” than I opened my book, “Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide,” and there they were. There’s even one kind that doesn’t have the nifty heart-shaped leaf.

It’s probably no surprise that, like so many of our prettier wildflowers, it was intentionally introduced and … well, you know the story: it escaped.

I claim no green thumb. Some things seem happy to grow here leaf lettuce and potatoes are examples and of course all those wildflowers some call weeds while other plants would as soon not. That’s OK. I don’t fuss but will appreciate my willing visitors.

Morning glories do seem to like it and that’s fine with me. They always look as if they’re squeezing themselves to death and yet seem to thrive on the embrace.

Sometime ago I have no idea when I bought and planted morning glory seeds along one side of my deck. With the help of string and, in later years, plastic crisscross molding, they’d sprout and cling enthusiastically until finally done in by a killing frost. They do better at the end which gets more sun (I presume) and flounder under the larch which has serious selfish issues of its own.

While they require little from me beyond appreciation and perhaps, depending on the year, a bit of water occasionally, they do seem happy left alone to do their own thing, brightening my morning coffee time with their radiant flowers.

I would probably have a hard time if I wanted to get rid of them (why would I?) but confess I also let the plants dry and then harvest the seeds for further planting in the next spring. I figure one can’t have too many and confess it’s a marvelous excuse to spend a sunny fall day soaking up the heat and popping open all those little seed pods. Some work is just nice.

That said, morning glories do have their choosey side as well.

I have a trellis that, in the past, had to be moved every fall to clear space for the snowplow. When situated for the summer months I needed a plant that would climb rapidly and, ideally, cover the frame with flowers. I tried buying vines and, for a couple years, even planted beans which was fun but, sadly, where the trellis sat (it won’t anymore) was shady enough to discourage anything I wanted to see there. Even my ubiquitous m. glories tried valiantly but ultimately gave up.

If I’d been thinking about this more instead of all the other things that occupy space in my mind, I should have recognized their similarity to hedge bindweed, a pretty if rather nasty (because I cannot get rid of it) vine that would be happy being any place on the property. Well, outdoors.

According to Newcomb, the wild potato vine is an even closer relative. Its flower (like my bindweed and even some morning glories) is white. Not as attractive perhaps. But beware of this for the book says its roots grow to be up to three feet long and go straight down. (I should introduce it to the sumac or, preferably, get rid of both.)

But not my morning glory. I like that.

Susan Crossett is a Cassadaga resident. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com