Monday, September 04, 2006

A LITTLE HELP FROM A "FRIEND"

This time of year my hollyhocks are in their second or third re-flowering. Their stalks aren't as thick and tall as the first time around and so they tend to flop over. That's the way I feel too. It's been a long season and most plants are going to have to fend for themselves now until the frost does them in. Next spring, when the sap rises and I've regained my own fervor, I'll be cleaning up the garden and planting like mad. Right now I'm too tired to stake floppy plants, re-seed the patches of grass where the weeds have taken over, or do much more than the occasional watering. At this time of year one of the pests of the front beds makes it appearance in spades, the volunteer morning glory. I hate these little buggers with their twining tendrils trying to strangle everything in sight. They remind me of the strangler figs I've seen in Mexico that encase the "host" plant and eventually do it in. Perhaps if these morning glories were "Heavenly Blue" like their ancestor many seasons ago I'd think they were a happy accident, but they're in that mauve shade that I hate in the garden. Normally I attempt to un-weave their twining tendrils from the plants next to them, which is kind of like trying to untangle a fine-chain necklace that's gotten itself into a knot. And if I just yank them by their roots all the rose heads will come off too. So I was pleased to find a morning glory actually doing a service in the garden. It wrapped a tendril around a hollyhock stalk thereby keeping it off the ground. Of course it looks rather like a stranglehold but it will do for the time being.

6 comments:

Carol said...

See so everything serves a purpose!lol

Annie in Austin said...

Do your your hollyhocks act like perennials, or do they reseed in late summer to bloom the next year like biennials? My closest thing to hollyhocks is Malva 'Zebrina', which fizzled early. I'm hoping for a stray seedling to pop up in fall.

The color of the little morning glories looks pretty soft in the photos; even if you don't like it, the blooms seem to blend in.

Annie

LostRoses said...

My hollyhocks act like perennials here, and it's always a surprise to see what colors I'll get each year. I planted the parent plants about 10 years ago and I've never planted any since. Their progeny pop up wherever they feel like it. Interestingly enough, they no longer grow in the original bed they were planted in!

Love your picture, Annie! I keep meaning to try to find a childhood one for myself but haven't gotten around to it.

Melissa said...

I feel the same way too...I hate the end of garden season! It's sooooo sad.
The up side is that the sweet autumn clematis is blooming. Our front garden is looking a little sad though and needs work that I just don't feel like doing.
Funny how us gardeners all go though similar feelings huh?!

LostRoses said...

Melissa, I remember the picture of your sweet Autumn clematis, it's stunning! Mine is just a little bit of a thing, I had to cut it down and start over when the shed it was growing on collapsed in a snowstorm a few years ago. I'm sure it will get back to its former glory one of these days!

Melissa said...

That's funny because every spring you are supposed to cut the sweet autumn clematis down to like a foot! It was small when we first put it in last fall but it's grew massively big since spring! We've been using miricle grow regularly. Love that stuff! LOL