Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Passion for Growing

The ground was bare and frozen stiff this morning. I am worried about the strawberries, which I neglected to cover in straw for the winter. It was hard to get inspired to take care of them at the end of the season after the animals had eaten every last strawberry.

But now the snow is falling again. Hopefully it'll keep up enough to give the strawberries some protection.

But back to fond memories of the past growing season! Here's a little plant that really grew on me:

It's some sort of passionflower. I bought it, of all places, at the grocery store, on a silly whim. I hope I left the tag on it, because it looks like there are several varieties of passionflower, at least one of which are native. Hopefully it's Passiflora incarnata, purple passionflower.

So I was seduced into buying a $10 plant I knew nothing about. I then plunked it unceremoniously into a corner of the veggie garden and proceeded to neglect it through the heat of the summer. It failed to do anything of interest, so I ignored it. Then in September or October, I did a double-take at the six-foot vine that seemed to have shot up the fence overnight. That one branch of green continued to grow as other plants in the yard were going dormant. And the deep green color stayed until I was forced indoors by cold weather.

These plants have amazing, colorful flowers, and they are rumored to have edible fruit, but at this point I'm in love with it's hand-shaped leaves and elegant coiling tendrils.

I hope it won't be too massive for the fence to support.


MrILoveTheAnts said...

This is the host plant to the Gulf Fritillary, Agraulis vanillae. I planted one this year, it grew like nuts but didn't flower. It dies back to the ground every winter. The fruit I understand is loaded with seeds and I've read tastes better when it looks just past it's prime.

Michelle said...

Thanks for the info MrAnts! That's wonderful news. Do you know if all types of passionflower can be host to the Gulf Fritillary, or it is only certain varities? Do gulf fritillaries come as far north as Massachusetts?

MrILoveTheAnts said...

They're rare up that way but have been seen just south. They're even a little rare around me in NJ. Sorry, I didn't realize you were that far north.

Michelle said...

Not a problem, and thanks for the link!