MORNING GLORY (Ipomoea tricolor) ‘Heavenly Blue’

South & Central America

Also known as The Mexican Morning Glory, this elegant climber has heart-shaped leaves, SKY BLUE trumpet flowers with CREAM throats, & buds that resemble furled satin umbrellas. The flowers open in early morning, lasting only for a day or part of a day. The plant prefers moist but well drained soil. In our climate, Ipomoeas bloom from springtime till first frosts. “I. Tricolor does not tolerate temperatures below 5 degrees C (41 degrees F)” Wikipedia

 Ipomoea has its cultivars. RF, our gardener, grew one that was deep blue with purple stripes and another that was crimson. The most striking of all his Morning Glories was ‘Heavenly Blue’, with flowers of a rich cerulean sky blue.

https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/ipomoea-tricolor-heavenly-blue/

https://www.thespruce.com/morning-glory-flowers-2132143

https://www.independent.ie/life/home-garden/gardens/in-the-garden-time-to-gamble-on-a-blaze-of-morning-glory-36226358.html

Bees’ Favourite.

On summer days, bumblebees & other pollinators drift from one flower to the next, disappearing into the trumpets.

Cultural and Historical
“The Morning Glory has a rich, historical tradition in psychedelic and visionary practices across multiple cultures, including those of the Chontal Indians of Oaxaca, Mexico, and the highly evolved Aztecs. These seeds, without question, have been utilized throughout time as a means of communicating with the gods.”

Entheology.org – Preserving Ancient Sacred Knowledge

Adverse reactions

Ipomoea seeds are said to be hallucinogenic and/or poisonous. The plant itself, in a climate which it finds agreeable, can become a thug. On one website a gardener tells of planting Morning Glory seeds in his garden; the flowers lasted a season, shedding seed.  A few years later he is pulling out new plantlets from other parts of the garden, where the seed had been blown by the wind. In our garden, seeds produced by Morning Glories always disappear, eaten by wildlife.

MGs on the Tau, green casserole dish, Roses


MGs on RF’s cane pergola

5 - Morning Glories side-onRF raised Morning Glories from seed in his airing cupboard. He kept a gardening journal, recording which plants were flowering & when… also the date he acquired a plant, the weather, plant problems & solutions to them.

His father grew Morning Glories in his greenhouse. When father & son spoke on the phone in the growing season, they compared numbers of Morning Glories in bloom – ‘The MG Count.’ ‘Twenty-three today!’

RF consulted his journals for the MG Count in previous years. He said that keeping a journal was useful for comparing weather variations from one year to the next.

single mg bud, unfurlingMorning Glory bud

MGs -three Morning Glories on rose arch

Years ago I tried growing Morning Glories from seed on a kitchen windowsill. Difficulties included my rescue kitten’s curiosity; the sound of seeds rattling in the packet intrigued her & she batted most of them into crevices behind the skirting boards.

If you can grow this plant from seed, or manage to find a young MG on sale in spring, do have a go. The unfurling buds, the opening flowers, that colour – on a day when the MG count is only one, the appearance of a Heavenly Blue trumpet can make your day.

One lone MG on the rose arch, inundated w/ other climbers

When RF stopped using the blue snail pellets, slugs & snails moved in & savaged any Morning Glories he planted out in the ground. His solution was to plant them in pots & hang them on the rose arch, wrapping copper tape round its uprights, close to the ground.

I now also use small bits of copper pipe, left after a plumbing job.  An electric charge is said to surge through the slug or snail as they come into contact with copper, making them drop off.

 

 

 

Lockdown Morning Glories 2020

This spring, because of Lockdown, there was no garden centre visit for ready-grown Morning Glories. An opened  packet of  Ipomoea ‘Heavenly Blue’ seeds was found amongst some garden guff. It must have been RF’s… He left in 2008, so the seeds were at least 12 years old. Without his expertise & airing cupboard, it was internet advice (the Damp Paper Towel Method) that coaxed some of those vintage seeds to life.

There were weeks of mollycoddling the growing plantlets. Keeping the paper towels from drying out, watering just enough & not too much, apologising to the MGs for the length of time the seeds had been left in the packet, etc. Once there were 4 true leaves on each of several young vines, the plants were ready to go outside.

Lockdown eased enough to allow a walk to local shops ; the hardware store had 8 ft canes. A few layers of bricks were laid out in a sunny spot next to the shed. Engineering bricks support the canes; garden twine holds them to the wooden strut at the top. This structure can come down when frosts finish off the MGs.

 

 

The first Morning Glory open for business in 2020, after seeds spent 12 years in the packet.

 

 

Visiting birds, cats, foxes & rodents were an unknown… would they interfere with the new setup? Wrapping the canes in plastic seemed to put them off.

In the intense heat of this summer, watering has been crucial. The plants have often been watered twice a day..

The flower is called Morning Glory for a reason. Some blooms may not have opened by 6.30am, & be closed by noon. Larks & early pollinators among us will love these MGs – owls, waking later & seeing the day’s flowers already closed, may be disappointed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17th August

Mice have now found the MGs, climbed up the canes & eaten many buds. *#@!!!?! We hope for a visit from the local Rodentfinder General, who lives in the next street. He is welcome to any rodents he finds when he comes to the garden.

Those Morning Glories flowering under the plastic overhang stay open longer than those blooming halfway down the canes. Even the MGs facing into the shed may last until dusk.

The Rodentfinder General.

 

 

If only RF’s father had made videos of himself growing MGs in his greenhouse.  I wonder how long the plant will continue flowering if grown in a greenhouse or conservatory.