How to - Gardening with Kids

Kids and flowering vines

Plant flowering vines your kids can watch grow to new heights before their eyes!

This flower produces a daily crop of beautiful blue, purple, pink, scarlet, white or multi-coloured trumpet-shaped blooms and heart-shaped leaves on vines that branch from the base of the plant and rapidly reach three to six metres. Perhaps because the blooms of older varieties are short lived-lasting only half a day-morning glories symbolize affectation or flirtation. But newer types hold their bloom most of the day, especially in cloudy weather. Favourite varieties include I. tricolor 'Heavenly Blue', a bright sky blue, and 'Scarlet O'Hara', a deep red.

When danger of frost has passed, soak seeds in water overnight to soften the seed covering. Then, in a sunny area, sow the seeds one centimetre deep, 20 to 30 centimetres apart in ordinary, well-drained soil. (If the soil is too rich, the vines produce a profusion of leaves instead of flowers.)

Or start seeds indoors in individual eight-centimetre peat pots four to six weeks before the last frost date. When danger of frost is over, carefully transplant them pots-and-all to avoid disturbing the roots. Feed them twice a month with a diluted solution of fertilizer to keep them blooming until fall's first frost.

Nasturtiums symbolize patriotism and splendor, and in spite of the fact the nasturtium is not a special flower for any month, its blooms always appear to smile. Climbing varieties-abundant with cowl-shaped flowers in shades of scarlet, gold, orange, bronze or yellow on vines 1.5 to 1.8 metres long-eagerly scramble over rocks and walls, or spill out of baskets and tubs. Their large, round leaves-shaped somewhat like lily pads-are either solid medium-green or marbled with white. As a bonus, the flowers and leaves taste similar to watercress and make a colourful and tasty addition to tossed salads.

A week or two before the last frost date, sow seeds in full sun or part shade, one centimetre deep and 15 centimetres apart, in ordinary garden soil. Nasturtiums dislike being transplanted, but tolerate heat, drought and poor soil. In fact, if the soil is too rich the plants produce lush leaves with few flowers. They grow best during cool weather, blooming until frost.

Tropaeolum majus (Nasturtiums)

Capucines à Giverny
Scroll down to see photo of trailing nasturtiums

Morning Glory Homepage

Lathyrus Odoratus

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