Thursday, March 04, 2010

Window Box Update

I'm starting to sense Spring a bit when I'm outdoors.  The snow from the last big storm is almost gone, and more importantly, so is the nasty brown slush it becomes so quickly in urban settings.  No doubt my feelings are shaped by my recent trip to Seattle, where the weather was warm, the sun was out, and blossoms were starting to show all over the city.  But my living room window boxes have been approximating spring for several weeks now.  Above you can see a close-up of some sweetpea blossoms.  So far I've never had more than three at once, usually only one or two, but maybe this is a careful policy on the plant's part, sort of a limited edition approach, so my delight in each individual bloom stays nice and high.  It's a clever policy, if so.  My morning routine now includes a few moments of close study of both window boxes, to see if anything has changed or needs my help.   

The morning glories have also lured me into a daily visit, with almost the opposite approach.  While I'm still not getting the blanket of blossoms I keep hoping for, these babies are definitely blooming in greater profusion than the sweetpeas.  Nowadays though, my daily visit is mostly to see if any of the gazillion seedpods are ready to burst.  I was dozing on the couch recently and was wakened when a tiny shower of seeds hit the windowsill.  Most of the time I catch the seeds before they burst out on their own.  There's an odd satisfaction in squeezing a dry seedpod at just the right moment.  For weeks now I've been soaking the new seeds and throwing them in the pot when they're ready.  I think I have at least three different generations of sprouts growing.  With any luck I'll have morning glories blooming indefinitely. 

I have a vague recollection of planting two different kinds of morning glories, one purple variety and one red.  So far only the purple, called Grandpa Ott, has shown any blossoms.  Maybe the reds are taking longer, maybe Old Grandpa is a more vigorous type, and took over.  If I'm only stuck with one kind though, he's not a bad way to go.  When the blooms first open, they're often blue, but as the day progresses, they'll change to a deep violet, with red throats and stars.  The vigor and speed of these guys might be a bit scary, if I were inclined to think that way.  I think I've seen vines grow as much as an inch in a single day, and the number of seedpods is a bit overwhelming. 

Funnily enough, the sweetpeas have only been purple so far as well, this despite the claim on the seedpacket that I'd be getting a profusion of "orange, lavender, scarlet and pink blooms."  Let me just tell the universe at large that while I am quite fond of purple, it is by NO means the only color I like. 

Something else my daily visits have shown me is just how much sunlight these east windows actually get.  I think the white walls on the opposite side of the courtyard also mean the setting sun has more of an effect on the plants than I would have predicted.  With the sun moving farther north as Spring approaches, the hours of daylight are lengthening in the living room, so I have hopes for moving all my herbs out there for the summer.  It's nice having plants in my bedroom, sure, but it might be even nicer to have more of them in a room where I do more than sleep.  So far the basil plant I've moved seems pretty content. 

Below you can see a couple of morning glory vines creeping out of the window, on their way, it would appear, to meet up with the golden pothos.  It too seems fairly enthusiastic about meeting up with the morning glories.  I can't for the life of me imagine how that would benefit either of them, but what the hell.  I would have expected the pothos to be content with the light in this area, but haven't a clue why the morning glories would choose to move away from the direct sunlight.  It's a mystery unfolding in seasonal time; maybe I'll understand the agenda better in a few weeks.  Further bulletins as events warrant.


Anonymous said...

Nice respites for you in the midst of winter's last stand against humanity!

Wish I had thought of planting morning glories and sweet peas in the window here... maybe next year!

Greg said...

I swear you have the magic touch with these vines indoors. How lovely.

Last summer I found the sweetpeas I grew were never profuse exactly in their blooming, with I think seven at once being the most I ever managed. Honestly, this was more than fair, as it gave enough to cut some for an indoor tussy-mussy, with a few to dress up the vines on the deck.

I wonder if you find your morning glories more long-lived than just their namesake time of day. It's that hot afternoon sun overhead that usually spells their end and I wonder if the indirect light they get in your configuration helps them last longer.

I've entertained recently a few random feeble dreams of spring. Thanks for illustrating them. : )

Java said...

Maybe this year I'll plant some morning glories by the fence in the front yard. Diva is interested in gardening, maybe she will give me the impetus I need. I'm most fond of morning glories. Yours are lovely. In my experience, morning glory vines are tenacious and can grow with the wild abandon of the infamous zucchini plant. You keep putting seeds into the pot, you're gonna choke to death from morning glory vines. It will be a pretty death, though. :/

Jeaux said...

“I’m as pure as the driven slush.” (Talulah Bankhead)

Ejecting seeds seems to be one of nature’s more amusing strategies. They’ve even been known to land on the windowsill. There are two varieties of morning glory, Heavenly Blue and Pearly Gates, whose seeds are hallucinogenic. They contain LSD-9. We used to grind up a couple dozen and sprinkle them on a salad, back in the day. Eventually seed houses got wise and started treating them with a toxic fungicide. We knew something had changed, we weren’t sure what, when we started puking more than gawking and sprawling.

“There's an odd satisfaction in squeezing a dry seedpod at just the right moment.” The bubble-wrap effect?

The darling buds of March. So much nicer than the Ides of May. You do seem to have a way with leaf and vine. Sweet peas are very pretty, in their coy, folded, way. A species, tender pink, grows wild in a preserve not far from here.

Butch said...

With the Spring-like weather we've been having, we do not have Morning Glories. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I love you and I miss you. And this is Kate, making a little visit to your beautiful blog. The thought of the morning glory and the pothos moving towards each other made me think of the Flanders & Swann song, "Misalliance" (on a record of theirs I grew up listening to, which really explains a lot about me AND my mom, I think):