Saving My Passions

Saving my Passions involves some risky behavior.

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Passion vine hybrid

I must climb a ladder with scissors in my hand.  Twice.

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The first trim occurs back in early fall.  I cut off the side shoots.

I then streamline the vines down to three or four main stems.

The first trim prevents the vines from getting shocked all at once and makes the second trim easier.

Then I climb back up again, about a month later, to cut them down from the trellises.

I usually leave about one third of the plant in place.

I wrap this lower portion into a wreath-like ring and secure it to a short trellis in the pot.

I use garland hooks from craft stores to hold vines onto the trellis. These can be moved and removed easily.

I then wheel my potted vines into my sunny workshop to spend the winter with all my other precious plants.

It’s a jungle in there!

The trimmed pieces may be cut up into cuttings to produce new Passion vine plants for my friends.

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Passion vines cuttings. Red Passion has bigger leaves that are hairy and bronzed.

I keep a request list.  Newly rooted plants will be given away in the spring.

The bunnies helped out by hiding under the Turk’s Cap plant.

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They know mama on a ladder with scissors is something to be afraid of.

FLOWER

Where’s the Pot?

I thought I would like this trellis up here on the library deck.

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I wanted to be able to see the bright red blooms from my desk.

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I might have to put a “dummy pot” on the stand under it.

Where is the real pot?

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Way down below at the base of the column.

This vine stretches out its springy tendrils and grows like crazy.

My Red Passion vine is one of my favorites.

FLOWER

Caterpillars Come Back

Okay.  I know these are not the same caterpillars as last year.

Those are long gone as Fritillary butterflies.

I grow these wild Passion vines just for them.

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I have been inspecting the leaves for weeks.

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I was beginning to get concerned.

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Then they appeared.

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Large and small. Over and under. Here and there.

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Just like always.

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I love them with a Passion.

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FLOWER

 

 

Vine Time

I love vines, as you probably know by now.

By the end of July they have reached the top of their trellises.

They are finally starting to produce flowers.

Two of my favorites are putting on a show this week.

The hybrid Passion vine is opening several flowers each day.

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I had to get on a ladder to get these shots.

Notice the pollen underneath the stamen paddles.

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Hybrid Passion vine

This vine only made one fruit last year with no seeds inside.

My Moon vine has produced its first two blooms this week.

I missed the first, but caught this one closing this morning.

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Moon Vine

More blooms ahead.

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FLOW

My Three Passions

My three passions are purple, red and wild.

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These flowers are so complex.

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I am fascinated by their structure.

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The insects love them, too.

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The Hummer loves the red.

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FLOWER loves her vines.

A Plant that Feeds Ants

I was thrilled to discover my first Red Passion flower bloom last week.

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When I checked on it the second day, it had all ready closed.

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Upon closer examination, I discovered it was covered with tiny ants.

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These ants were busily scurrying between tiny green discs on the outer edges of the sepals/calyx.

I at first thought these green discs to be aphids,

but they were too uniformily spaced.

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I had to do a little research to discover their identity.

They are tiny nectaries, produced by the plant to feed the ants.

These ants in residence provide services in return.

They guard the plants against aphids and caterpillars.

If you have been following the FLOWER, you have seen my caterpillar photos,

many of which were taken on my wild Passion flower vines.

I have not seen one caterpillar on this Red Passion flower vine.

So the Red Passion plant has pet ants.

Who knew?

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FLOWER

My Weed

There is a whole world on one weed in my garden.

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I did not kill this weed because of a hybrid I fell in love with in Tuscany.

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So when I saw it growing on the bank, I staked it up to compare it with the hybrid.

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What a wonderful weed it has been.

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This wild Passion vine/Maypop/Passiflora incarnata has been a whole laboratory.

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There are ants on the pods and stems.

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The best part is all the caterpillars of various sizes.

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Tiny, shiny, spiky, orange and black caterpillars of Fritillary butterflies.

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I check on this plant every day and find something new.

An added bonus is a beautiful, blue morning glory that grew up into the Passion vine.

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My daddy’s favorite color of blue, bluebird blue.

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I have been blessed by this weed.  I am so thankful I did not kill it.

Where would all those lovely caterpillars be?  Nowhere, that’s where.

Follow the weed.

Wild Passion

Talk about a tantalizing title!

One of the wild Passion vines that I found on the bank has finally put out a bloom.

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Now I can post the wild flower photo side-by-side with my hybrid I ordered.

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Wild Passion Vine Leaves
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Hybrid Passion vine leaves
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The hybrid has 5-lobed leaves, bracts at the petiole, and curlier tendrils.

I found three wild vines on the bank. I have cleared out the weeds around them and staked them.

They seem to be struggling to survive, unlike the potted hybrid.

Typical.  “I’d Rather be a Tall Ugly Weed” (Julio Noboa Polanco)

Follow the wild FLOWER!