Thursday, October 15, 2020

Goodnight, Moon (flower)

The fragrant white moonflowers (Ipomea alba) have given us more pleasure than I could have expected.

When I garden, half of me is an ecological observer, delivering constant - and constantly evolving - criticism: don't plant this, do plant that, this is awful, that is...well, grey-zone. The other half is hungry, and a hedonist, gardening for the necessary pleasure of it. 

And I wanted a fast vine to cover the trellis to shield our eyes from the spotlights that shine on us from a nearby lot.

The moonflower draws my inner critic's fire. It can be highly invasive. In my hometown of Cape Town, South Africa, where freezing temperatures are very rare, closely-related morning glories (Ipomea) run (glory-iously?) rampant, strangling everything they can even slightly lean on, or bend over, or clasp onto. They alter habitats. Back in the Northern Hemisphere in our previous,  in-ground garden at 1st Place, where freezing winters at least kept things in check, morning glories planted by Someone Else bloomed and seeded and germinated again relentlessly. Every early summer dozens of little vines lassoed and constricted everything, anything. I loathed them for the weeding-work they gave me, for the way they tilted tall plants and bent the Solomon's seal to their persistent will.

Up here, on the Windsor Terrace, in their single large pot, against their birch pole trellis, the wide moonflowers open their scented satellite dishes and fold them again within twelve hours. Their seed (hallucinogenic, if you are so inclined ) has nowhere fertile to fall. The roofs below are barren. The pot itself is easy enough to weed. The birds will not eat them and spread them. Birds are high, already. 

And so it's OK to like them. 

We watch these delicate blossoms open, and close. They tilt and lean like they are listening. There is so much to hear. They mark the passage of the International Space Station as it passes overhead. They see the birds, the rare bats. Maybe they watch us. 

Ice shelves are bursting. Whales are giving up. Loved ones are losing those they love. Friends are fighting genetic landmines and sneak attacks from rogue cells.

We plant seeds, thinking how they will be, in another season.


Trash Forage - 24 October


  1. Or we plant bulbs .... the fall before a big, scary -- but scheduled -- surgery, I planted a big bag of narcissus under an old willow tree. A reminder that there would be an "after" and as a gift to myself the following spring.

  2. I have another vine suggestion for you. Hyacinth Bean. I adore it for it's luxurious coverage, very thick, the beautiful purple flowers, like wisteria, and it's ease. It's an annual so I save seeds each year and replant. They don't have a scent, or not one that really noticeable, but the color makes up for it. They need full sun to be at their best, but super easy. There's even a yellow variety I am seriously tempted by. Purple and yellow would be stunning together.

    1. I can mail you a few seeds if you'd like to try them.

    2. Thanks! - I've actually grown them for years! I wanted to try a new annual vine :-)

    3. LOL I should have known I wasn't being original. But I may copy YOU and try a moonflower.

  3. I'm not a particularly religious person, but there's something about the promise held in seeds and the spring's rebirth that makes me very thankful.

  4. More 🤍💚 your way, and gratitude from someone half a continent away for your words, filled with beauty and truth, over the years.


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