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A very special vine

 

Kathy
Henderson
Columnist

  When I made the decision to surround my 1890’s home with chain link fencing, I had a lot of negative response from my friends. To the point of saying “you are kidding aren’t you?”  Oh well, there is no explaining my poor taste.  But there was a method to my madness - I wanted security for my sweet animals and I wanted a place to grow vines and other plants that need the support of a fence. 

  I have not regretted my decision for one minute. Especially when the honeysuckle and the clematis are blooming. It is also a great support for lilies, roses and gladiolus.

  But, right now it is a wonderful support for my favorite honeysuckle - the trumpet honeysuckle. 

Trumpet honeysuckle vines in Kathy’s garden.    Special photos

   When I grew up in the place I now call my “Homeplace,” my mother would send my father into the woods to find a red trumpet honeysuckle to cover any stump that happened to occur in our landscape. I always (even in Horticulture graduate school) thought of trumpet honeysuckle as a stump-covering plant. My mother loved these lovely little vines that are slowly aggressive in such a wonderful way.

  As I studied plants, I found several cultivars of our native red trumpet honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens. There is the bright red ‘Major Wheeler,’ the yellow, ‘John Clayton’  and the tangerine ‘Dropmore Scarlet,’ the very red Alabama Crimson,’ the yellow ‘Flava,’ ‘Leo’ which is a free-flowering clone of the native red one, ‘Sulfurea,’ a bright yellow and one named for a Madison, Georgia nursery ‘Cedar Lane’ which is a dependable re-bloomer. There may be other cultivars, but most would just be duplicates of these. I have a yellow one, a red with yellow throat  and a bright red one. I am not sure of their cultivar names. Sometimes you may see them listed as “coral vines.”

  All are excellent and if you have the notion, they would make an excellent collection. 

  They are low-maintenance plants the are larva food for spring azure butterflies and attract others with their flowers; the bees love them, so do the early arriving hummingbirds.   They are drought tolerant, yet they love moist soil. These will not invade your landscape, but will love to climb around your snowball bush and make your neighbors so envious of your landscape.

  Grow these lovely vines in sun to partial shade where they can twine around something. They decorate arbors, fences, poles, and even corners of buildings (if you put a little wire for them to climb upon. And do not forget to cover those stumps!

  As you know, I love simple plants that survive with neglect.  This is one plant, that when established will perform beautifully for years and will never cease to amaze you in the garden as it matures.

 

 

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