Flowering vines a good choice for downsizing a garden

By Jean Wofford - Victoria County Master Gardener Edited by Victoria County Master Gardener Charla Borchers Leon
Sept. 7, 2017 at 10:30 p.m.

The Dutchman's pipe vine bloom is definitely one of the more unusual.  Described to resemble the large flaring bowl of a Dutchman's pipe, it is considered deep purple in color, but appears almost to have a brown tone. This ornamental bloom on an easy-to grow vine is known to attract various species of the swallowtail butterfly.

The Dutchman's pipe vine bloom is definitely one of the more unusual. Described to resemble the large flaring bowl of a Dutchman's pipe, it is considered deep purple in color, but appears almost to have a brown tone. This ornamental bloom on an easy-to grow vine is known to attract various species of the swallowtail butterfly.   Contributed photo by Pinterest.com for The Victoria Advocate

After living in Country Club Terrace in Victoria for almost 24 years, we decided a bit ago to move into a much smaller house with a very small yard - and made the move this summer.

At my age, still young but in my 80s, it is very difficult to do the things I need to do to keep my garden up to my standards even though through time, my standards have changed. (I am sure all the senior citizens reading this understand what I am saying.)

Downsizing my garden

With our move, I am now faced with downsizing a huge yard into a much smaller one. What a chore trying to decide what to take to my new home from my old one.

This time of year at the end of summer is very difficult to transplant plants. So, I made the decision to wait until fall and hopefully cooler weather to attempt that.

Perhaps the new owner of our home will allow me to dig up a few of my treasured plants. If not, there are many choices at our local nurseries, aoo, I have many Master Gardener friends who don't mind sharing.

Designing new flower beds

My new home has two small flower beds in the front yard. There are currently none on the sides or back.

We have plenty of room on each side of the house as well as in the back, so starts a new challenge for me. It has been a long time since I put new flower beds into my garden, so here goes.

"Start from scratch" flower beds

I have to think back a ways to when I started new flower beds from scratch, and I realize I have my work cut out for me. In the distant past, I made wonderful flower beds without removing the grass.

I just might start saving my newspapers and do that again. I will need about 1 inch of newspapers, water and some fertile mixture to go on top. Beds started like this have so few weeds and can be easily made in one afternoon.

Newspapers layered in location

I will choose my location, add many layers of newspapers and water them in until water stands on top. Then I will add about 4 inches of prepared soil mixture and water in. Within a couple of days, my flower bed is ready for my new fall plants.

Choosing unusual flowering vines

I love unusual flowering vines. I definitely want a Dutchman's what you might ask?

Dutchman's pipe vine

This vine has the most unusual blooms I have ever seen. My best friend once said they look like dead animals hanging on the fence, but they really don't. They are supposed to look like a Dutchman's pipe with the large, flaring bowl of the pipe.

The blooms are very dark purple and actually look more brown than purple. They are wonderful and different. The vine isn't heavy so I might include something else with it.

Purple, red passion vines

I also want to include the purple and red passion vines. They are just beautiful and have very different blooms.

The purple is a very light color, and I always think it resembles a jelly fish. This vine is not a very prolific growing vine, and then along comes the red passion vine.

This wonderful, beautiful flower doesn't look like the purple passion flower much at all. The vines come up randomly and have to be watched for that reason, but can be removed and either planted elsewhere or given to a friend.

Both vines have lovely heart-shaped leaves. The purple one is very fragrant, but not the red. Both are good choices for a sunny location.

Another (green) passion vine

There is another passion vine. It has small green blooms and they are very easily missed unless you know what you are looking for. They make a very nice, light-weight vine to place in a small area. They are not at all like their boisterous red cousin or their fragrant lavender-purple cousin. They are just very pretty nondescript flowers that are very interesting to have in the garden.

A vine with white flowers

I would also like to include a vine with white flowers, and possibly one with a light fragrance. One choice would be one of the jasmines. The Confederate jasmine is a strong possibility since it has the lovely star-shaped flowers and are lightly fragrant. The vine can be kept under control easily by just trimming off new growth. I might want to share the jasmine with a friend since they are easy to propagate from cuttings.

The flowering vines no doubt will be a good choice for my new garden beginning.

The Gardeners' Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension - Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or vcmga@vicad.com.


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