Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Intertwine with a Moonflower Vine

While many in the country are beginning to dream about spring, I am thinking about summer.  I love summer nights.  And sitting outside on our garden swing on a summer evening is one of my favorite things to do.  
The Duke of Earl and I like to watch our moonflowers unfurling in the afterglow of the day.  We like to count how many of those moons grace our yard each summer night.
Moonflower buds open quickly, after the sun has set.  Watching the magnificent white flowers swirl open is like viewing slow motion photography. 
As an added attraction, this perennial vine will lure Sphinx moths to the garden. 
When the sun comes up in the morning, alas, the flowers fade. However, an overcast, cool day will sometimes keep the flowers open through the morning hours, so you can enjoy them while drinking your
morning tea.

Our winter has been mild and because many of my plants have been behaving like it has been spring for weeks already, I decided to get an earlier than usual start on my summer garden.  Last week I started some moonflower seeds.

These are some seed pods I saved from last year's vine.  Seeds nestled inside the pods are large and hard. They are about the size of an unused pencil eraser, and as hard as a pebble.  In order to aid germination, the seeds should be nicked and or soaked 1 -2 days before planting.  I nick. To nick the seed, use a knife to snap off a tiny bit of the seed coating.

I planted the seeds 1/2" deep in small pots and pony paks prior to the rainy weekend we just had.  They got a good undomesticated soaking.  They are currently in my "greenhouse" (see my 01-23-14 mini greenhouse post), as they need warm soil in order to sprout.

The fragrance, ♥ shaped leaves, and 6" white flowers of moonflowers would make a spectacular covering on an arbor for an summer evening garden wedding.  But wedding or not, they bring old fashioned romance to the garden. 

I will take you on the journey of my moonflowers this year, but I also want to encourage you to plant some of the seeds yourself, so you too can enjoy the wonder of this twining vine.  And then we could compare flower counts too!

t.t.f.n. ~ Carol

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