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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tropaeolum speciosum, My favorite plant in the garden..this week.

I'm joining blog pal Loree of Danger Garden in posting my favorite plant this week. 

If you've been reading my blog since I began, you may remember this saga spanning over twenty years  of plant discovery, lust, unrequited love, yearning, and at long last love (thank you Mr. Porter)  all about Tropaeolum speciosum, my favorite plant this week and most frustrating plant to grow ever!

Here are some pictures of the long awaited happy blooming wonderful plants blooming their heads off among the golden hops and honeysuckle vines.  This was the most vigorous and floriferous year I'd ever had with these puppies that I'd been planting over and over again in as many different areas of my garden as possible.
 I was overjoyed that this one seemed to be happy and decided to stay in my garden because people say that once you have it, you have it!  Imagine my disappointment  this year when this year I didn't see a single leaf of this beauty anywhere!  RATS!  (You know Tropaeolum tuberosum is much more dependable and comes up every year exactly where I planted it!  Why can't you be more like your cousin?)

On Sunday morning, I looked out of the back porch and what did I see in the spot where I planted the first roots of this plant in this garden 16 years ago?  You guessed it!   Interestingly the color on these seems to be more on the blue side.  I don't know if this is one of the Heronswood original roots or one of the subsequent ones sent from Scotland that I planted there.  The top images are of plants from Far Reaches Farm.  Also the top ones are in full sun while the following are in only part sun.  I remember the originals  growing, blooming gloriously, setting seed  and then very rapidly dying never to return again until now. Is it possible that the tiny vines have been sending out growth each year and gaining strength to bloom again? 

Could it be that this is a vine that grew from one of the seeds that fell on the ground and took a long time to germinate?  (15 years is a long time!) 
 
Just  like in  the song "Scarlett Ribbons" sung by Doris Day, Harry Belafonte, Jim Reeves, The Browns, The Brothers Four, Joan Baez, Sinead O'Conner,and just about everyone else
 
"If I live to be a hundred
I will never know from where
Came those lovely scarlet ribbons
Scarlet ribbons for her hair..."
(vermillion ribbons doesn't fit quite so well and isn't as schmaltzy)
 
Here for your listening pleasure are the lovely Lennon Sisters.  Wunnerful, wunnerful.  (If you're too young to get the reference, bless your heart and please remember to come visit me at the home in a few years!)
 
Anyway, I'll keep watching all of the spots where this plant has appeared over the years.  Let's hope that the sightings are more frequent that those of the Flying Dutchman!
 
Loree always puts lots of great information about her favorites in her posts.  I'm too lazy for that but here's what Fine Gardening has to say about this plant:
 
Botanical Name: Tropaeolum speciosum troe-pay-OH-lum spee-see-OH-sum Common Name: Flame nasturtium, Scottish flame flower Genus: Tropaeolum
This tender perennial climber has edible, hand-shaped leaves and crimson red flowers in summer and fall which are uniquely textured. Their softly squared petals are held apart from each other at the flower's mouth and the rear tapers to long spurs. The blooms yield blue fruits. Flame nasturtium climbs up to 10 feet.Noteworthy characteristics: These tender perennials are native to Central and South America. Some species are bushy or trailing; they are suitable for garden edges, herb gardens, covering banks, hanging baskets, and other containers.Care: Grow in moist, well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. T. speciosum prefers a cool, shady root run.Propagation: Sow fresh seed in pots in a cold frame.Problems: Caterpillars, flea beetles, black aphids, slugs, whiteflies, viruses.
 
Height 6 ft. to 10 ft.
Spread 6 ft. to 10 ft.
Growth Habit Clumps
Growth Pace Fast Grower
Light Full Sun to Part Shade
Moisture Medium Moisture
Maintenance Low
Characteristics Attracts Butterflies; Attracts Hummingbirds; Fragrant Flowers; Self Seeds; Showy Flowers; Showy Foliage; Showy Fruit; Showy Seed Heads
Bloom Time Fall; Summer
Flower Color Red Flower
Uses Beds and Borders, Container, Ground Covers, Cut Flower, Indoor Plant, Naturalizing, Screening, Specimen Plant/ Focal Point, Suitable as Annual, Trellis
Style Herb Garden, Cottage Garden
Seasonal Interest Summer Interest, Fall Interest
Type Perennials  (Zone 7 - 10)
 

16 comments:

  1. What a beautiful plant. I am glad they are coming back and doing well for you after all that effort and investment, even if in a rather unplanned way.

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    1. I gave up planning long ago and feel much better since I've embraced the chaos. It was a sweet surprise!

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  2. Is it wrong that the purple stems caught my eye even more than the vibrant blossoms? Fabulous fav Peter and I love the mystery...

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    1. The purple stems of the honeysuckle are beautiful. Purple and orange is such a fun combination! It's almost as if I planned it but the truth is that I gave up on the tropaeolum and put the honeysuckle there instead. Crazy!

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  3. It is so amazing that it came back in a previous, long-ago spot. I once thought I had lost a Clematis, but after about three years, it suddenly showed up, climbing across the ground and flowering. But fifteen years later -- that's crazy! I tried growing T. speciosum this year from seed, but with no luck.

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    1. That's a crazy story about your clematis! I've heard tha T. speciosum seeds sometimes take as long as a year to show growth so they still may do something.

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  4. There's magic in mysteries, don't you think? What will Mom Nature think of next? Add Rene Fleming to your list: brought tears to my eyes despite the schmaltz factor, which even she could not transcend.

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    1. I think so. Lots of magic afoot in the garden! OOOH I'll have to listen to Rene Fleming' version!

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  5. Very pretty indeed, but probably far beyond my meager plant skills (move the "s" and there I am).

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    1. You are far too modest! I think this would love your climate and your beautiful garden!

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  6. Nothing like a good spot of mystery to spice up ones garden :) a fab fave plant Peter, the moment I saw the first pic I thought wow!

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    1. It's the sweetest little vine! It would look really sweet climbing up a furry trachycarpus trunk!

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  7. A beautiful plant. Funny how they sometimes disappear and then pop up again. That has happened to me with some other plants.

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  8. What has happened to my speciousum?
    Last week it was fairly bushy this week it's stripped bare.it was planted to climb an arbour through honeysuckle and ivy

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.