Friday, September 12, 2008

Glorious Glory

It turned out to be a dang difficult subject to photograph. It? The morning glory bud, a pretty spiral that bursts open sometime during those early hours while I am in my bed, warm, comfy and thoroughly asleep. The question I can't answer is just why am I so taken by this particular flower. Which I am; every time I venture out the door, there is another possible picture. (Or I'm trying once again to get just the right close-up of the spiral bud.)

As I've pointed out before, the addictive morning glory is quite illegal in Arizona. Reader DDD was kind enough to send me the rationale. From the mouth of the AZ Dept. of Agriculture: As each spring flower season approaches, weed dispersal can happen from businesses such as grocery, drug, pet, hardware stores, and nurseries. Most gardeners do not think of nurseries or gardening shops as sources of pest plants. Arizona Department of Agriculture inspectors find prohibited weeds in retail seed displays and in display ponds each year. Often, non-native species have no natural enemies in new environments and, if exotic species are aggressive, they may become weedy invaders in their new habitats. Non-native morning glory species invade and persist in Arizona’s agricultural crop fields and urban gardens. They grow so abundantly and are so competitive that their vines entangle, cover and smother the crops and ornamental plants. In fact, morning glory infestations become so dense that it becomes extremely difficult to harvest crops-an economic disaster for the farmer. Therefore, these non-native morning glory species are prohibited in Arizona.

Reaching back into my life experience with illegal morning glories, I recall the elderly Japanese landlord who rented a carriage house loft to a friend as a studio. He gave me a handful of seeds which were smuggled into Chicago in his mail from the Old Country; they grew into bushy plants with a wonderful variety of patterns and colors -- you might see such patterns in Japanese prints or fabrics. Somewhat later, hippies discovered that the seeds of Heavenly Blue contained a good bit of LSD, whereupon the Feds required that nurserymen treat their retail seeds with mild poisons to discourage tripping out on them. However, Arizona is the only state to totally outlaw the plant.

For over 20 years, I've lived in a house near a street/alley where there's a bountiful annual crop of these wild blue morning glories, which only live as long as the monsoon lasts. I have as yet to see them take over a nearby neighbor's garden or choke a struggling tomato plant. I'm sure a zucchini would give any morning glory a run for its money. Nor have I read anywhere (except in the above quotation) about these pretty vines dooming a farmer's crop. Of course, that may have happened way back in the day when the state crops were cotton and melons and lettuce, not today's monoculture of red tile roofs.

Frankly, I think the state Ag boys should lighten up and enjoy the many phases of this plant. For instance, unlike other blossoms, which sag and droop unceremoniously when spent, the morning glory curls up (above) into an attractive tidy package (below), which lasts a couple of days longer than the original flower.

The final stage of the ipomea life cycle is, of course, a seed pod.


Lucy said...

Simply beautiful.

Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

MG's are noxious weeds in Oz, they, however, are plentious hereabouts.


Anonymous said...

Super post and super photos.

GrannyJ said...

lucy -- that's the nature of those flowers! I can't resist them.

bro -- I'd suspect that they're much bigger as pests in OZ than they are in AZ. Do people plant them in their gardens?

steve -- thank you kind sir. I now have morning glories out of my system for a while and perhaps I can go on to other obsessions!

Anonymous said...

Your first photo, of the spiral bud, is simply....

....breath-taking-ly beautiful.

You've out done yourself again, Granny J! Thanks for the beauty!

~Anon in AV.

Tall nephew said...

Well... I'm back for awhile anyways. We have TONS of morning glories growing in our fields, our entire bank is covered in them. (the cats enjoy hiding and what not in them anyways)

Well, another good one =)

Granny J said...

anon av -- the buds proved very elusive to catch with the camera -- that is the only shot I considered posting.

welcome back, tall nephew! My question to you is: are the morning glories considered pests in Tennessee, sorta like kudzu, or are they enjoyed? What colors do you have?

meggie said...

What a lovely tribute to this beautiful flowering plant.
They really are glories!

Granny J said...

meggie -- my bro noted that the morning glory is a noxious pest in OZ -- has it become such in New Zealand in your experience?

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