August 27, 2012

A tale of two vines

Are you familiar with the traditional ballad "Barbara Allen"? Particularly the version sung by Art Garfunkel? Not to get too melancholy, but it's a tale of unrequited love. Sweet William loves Barbara Allen.

Long story short, he's on his deathbed...she comes to visit him...he dies...she mourns his death...she dies...and then a Rose grows from his grave, and a Green Briar from hers.

"They grew and grew in the old church yard,
Til they could grow no higher,
And there they tied in a true lover’s knot,
The Red Rose and the Briar."

Corny and cloying, but sweet, I know. It's an old-fashioned song, with a haunting melody.


I thought about this ballad the other day when I was contemplating my garden arbor. As you can see, my vines haven't made much progress this summer.

Lablab purpureus and Wisteria macrostachya

I planted Hyacinth Bean seeds in mid-May, and while they didn't grow much during the drought, I did notice the Kentucky Wisteria grew faster than it has in the past. I had nearly given up on it. But the funny thing is, it appears my extra care for the Hyacinth Bean Vines has encouraged the Wisteria to perk up. Hyacinth Bean is more vigorous on the sunnier side of the arbor, and Wisteria on the shady side.


Now the Hyacinth Bean is starting to take off (better late than never, I guess).


I'm smitten...







And the blooms are gorgeous...







The Hyacinth Bean must be replanted from seed. The Wisteria is a perennial that blooms in the spring. Maybe next year the two vines will meet in the middle.


Next up: Garden Lessons Learned during the historic summer of 2012!

38 comments:

  1. I love the hyacinth bean particulars when shot in details, however if viewed as the whole plant, i guess it is very vegetative. Don't get me wrong, i guess i am talking about its growth in our hot tropics, its growth there might be lovely. I am more smitten with the wisteria, which i see only in temperate countries and in blogs.

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    1. Interesting thought--sometimes I think we appreciate plants more that are new to us, or don't grow as perennials in our areas. Both are fascinating to me for various reasons. Lucky you, that Hyacinth Bean grows well in your climate--although maybe it's invasive?

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  2. The hyacinth bean flower is exquisite. Thanks for the pictures.

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    1. Yes, it's enchanting. And more blooms are popping out each day now. Next year, I'll plant them earlier. :)

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  3. So pretty! I haven't tried growing Hyacinth bean - yet!

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    1. Highly recommend it, Karen. I didn't no anything about it until I started seeing it featured on garden blogs.

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  4. Your Hyacinth bean flower looks like an orchid. Plus I like how the colors of the leaves highlights the lovely flower and 'bean'.

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    1. Yes, the chartreuse of the leaves (especially in certain light) really compliments the bright pink blooms. The flowers are so delicate and pretty--especially growing along an arbor or trellis.

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  5. How sweet that your two vines will meet in the middle one day, just like in the song. But it's always the gardener that's the one that truly falls in love!

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    1. So true, Holley. I'm so enamored of my favorite plants. And Hyacinth Bean is a new favorite. I'll plant it earlier next spring, though. :)

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  6. Hyacinth bean vines are quite beautiful, leaves, flowers, and shiny dark purple pods. I have only grown mine in full hot sun though. Love the US native wisteria too.

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    1. Yes, they are enchanting! I know it's not the perfect spot for them (dappled shade/sun), but I had to try it. Next year I'll plant earlier, which should help, too. :)

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  7. I love all the bean vines. They are so optimistic, always reaching for the sky.

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    1. Yes, so true! I never would have thought to plant a Bean vine as an ornamental, but it works so well!

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  8. Życzę, aby winorośle spotkały się w przyszłym roku. Teraz jednak ciesz się pięknym kwiatami fasoli. *** Jak będziesz miała post o grzybach, to jeśli będę potrafiła, to pomogę w rozpoznaniu ich. Pozdrawiam serdecznie.

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    1. Yes, the flowers are so pretty, Giga! And I will plant the beans again next year. Regarding the Mushroom post--good idea! When I see a bunch of them, I'll take some photos and you can help me identify them. Thanks!

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  9. Barbara Ellen always reminds me of Christmas... the happy ending in the Alistair Sims version of A Christmas Carol. Lovely song. Thanks for memory.

    I've never seen such great pic of this vine. Thanks for sharing them. Such a delicate flower.

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    1. Ah, yes, I do remember that one. Thank you for your kind compliments! I get a bit excited when I personally discover a new plant. ;-)

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  10. A friend gave me the hyacinth bean seeds and I never planted them. I do like the foliage and flowers though, mostly because like you showed in your last image. They have beautiful color and texture.

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    1. Yes, I didn't realize they would have such interesting, changeable foliage. I actually think growing them in partial shade keeps them under control and more delicate and pretty.

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  11. Ah, hyacinth bean; what fond memories. The vine nearly covered the entire south side of our house and nary a flower appeared. However the vine makes excellent browsing for goats.

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    1. Ha! I can just imagine it taking over. Good to know they're good goat food!

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  12. What a lovely looking plant,you got some great photos of it.

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    1. Thanks, Janet! I get a little carried away sometimes. I could spend all day photographing some of my favorite plants. I know you can relate.

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  13. What a lovely plant the Hyacinth Bean is, never heard of it before so I had to look it up. It can be grown here in London providing the seeds are sown indoors and the seedlings are kept indoors until all risk of frost are over – which means late May. I have always wanted a Wisteria, but in my tiny garden there is sadly no room for such a monster. Lovely photos as always, loved the close-ups of the Hyacinth Bean :-)

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    1. Yes, same planting guidelines for me. This year I could have planted it a little earlier than I did--maybe late April. Maybe next year I'll try winter sowing with this one. The Wisteria is taking its slow time to establish, but I understand that is common. But dappled shade probably isn't the best place for it--although the tops will have more sun when they're established. :)

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  14. That last shot of the leaves is one of my most fav. I planted my Hyacinth Beans in May, it's cold up here. And like yours all during the hot summer it more or less just stood there. Now with a few cooler days it's leaping.

    Go figure.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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    1. Thanks, Jen! You'd think the beans would like the heat, right? Maybe they prefer warm but not hot weather? I guess I'll learn more about their preferences each year I plant them. Delightful little vines.

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  15. Gorgeous close-ups! I just love the blooms on the hyacinth vine. I'm glad yours has finally taken off; just wait, it may meet that wisteria vine yet before the first frost arrives. Coincidentally, I have two vines growing on my arbor, too, but they're both on the same side:) I planted hyacinth bean seeds again (notice the plural, which may be why mine is a monster again), but didn't realize the cardinal vine I had last year had re-seeded itself. If you didn't look closely to see the cardinal vine, you would think the hyacinth bean had purple and red blooms!

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    1. How fun to see the vines intertwining! I guess it's possible for this to happen to my trellis this year, but we'll see. In the meantime, they're now forming beans which I hope to use for next year's "crop." :)

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  16. Beth I love that arbor and I have the same dream that the rose and the grapevine will meet in the middle on mine...love the story and that hyacinth bean...I have seen this on other blogs and I must try and grow some next year as I grow other beans...can't wait for the lessons and celebrations for fall...

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    1. Donna: I highly recommend it. You'd think a Bean vine would be boring, but this one sure isn't. The colors of the foliage, stems, flowers, and Beans are complimentary and beautiful. The foliage ranges from bright green to chartreuse; the veins, stems, and Beans are a deep burgundy; and the flowers are pink/lilac/purple. Fascinating combination on one plant!

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  17. Even if the lovely bean vine doesn't get to the top, it sure makes a nice addition to your garden! I tried growing that a few years ago, but don't remember how well it did.

    I enjoyed your photos.

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    1. Thanks, Sue. Yes, I'm happy to finally have success with a vine. I've tried a few, but this one seems perfect for the spot. :)

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  18. I love your arbor! Did your handy hubby make it? I've never grown hyacinth bean but I love it! :o) Wisteria is a vigorous vine that should take off next summer. It will be gorgeous draped over your arbor.

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    1. Thanks, TS. Yes the fishman made it. I planted the Wisteria about six years ago, and it grows a tiny bit every year. In the meantime, I'll be planting the Hyacinth Bean again next year!

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  19. I am glad it grew enough to show some blooms. They are so colorful and beautiful. I have thought of growing it but just have not gotten around to it. I hope next summer is better...

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    1. Me, too. The blooms are such a sweet color of pink. And now the Beans are forming--they're a lovely shade of burgundy or wine. So nice to be able to plant the seeds for another crop next year!

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