Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Back from the dead

It's back.  Totally unprotected and it's survived the coldest winter spell in living memory down here in Plymouth.  Admittedly it's not quite in the same place, and it's only small at the moment, but, with a favourable summer, it should clothe a small portion of the south facing house wall again this year and flower from late August onwards.  And, if the climbing stems survive next winter as they have in the past, it may be back to forming a distinctive asset to the garden - and again produce these glorious flowers from early July right through to the cool nights of late Autumn.

Ipomea indica

It is Ipomea indica, the perennial morning glory.  In warmer, sunnier climates it's a weed.  Here, in winter cold and, I sometimes think, summer not greatly warmer UK, it's normally one for the greenhouse or conservatory.  A few years back, encouraged by reports of it growing successfully outdoors on a south facing, sunny wall down here in the South West, I gave it a try.

That was back in the days before global warming (sorry, climate change) when we had a run of mild winters that lured a lot of gardeners - myself included - into trying very marginally hardy plants.  I've lost so many over the last two winters that I've reined back my ambitions - but it's always nice to see a survivor, especially one that gives me the illusion of living closer to the equator than I do.

It's migrated over the years.  It started life in a corner where my south facing house wall joined my neighbour's.  One of the hottest spots in the garden.  It's now moved to a position 10 ft away (3 metres for those metrically inclined) behind the shelter of a myrtle, Myrtus luma.  Easy to do if you root readily from the far flung summer growths that are just as happy to travel horizontally as vertically.  Here it's obviously formed a tuberous root that has been protected by the warmth of the wall and the evergreen foliage of the myrtle.

And now it's growing again.  One small tendril pushing upwards.

Which leaves me with a problem.  I'd earmarked the space for a climbing rose/clematis combination.  But, if the morning glory is happy there and can reproduce it's 2006 display from August to October at least one year in two, it can stay.  I just want to see this again.

Ipomea indica on my house wall in 2006


  1. Ipomea indica is something I've been looking for here in South Africa for a while. I see it growing in gardens but haven't found it in a nursery yet (not this purple one you have). Your photos make me even more determinded to get it - the flowers positively glow from the inside out! So pretty and I love the foliage too. (Your photos of it are beautiful!)

  2. I suspect it may be a weed in your climate. Here in the UK it's at the absolute limit of hardiness but, if I have a mild winter or two it can be all over the sunnier part of the garden. It doesn't seed around but it does produce overground runners that root as they go.

    For all that it's very beautiful.