Gardening Articles: Landscaping :: Trees, Shrubs, & Vines

Amazing Annual Vines (page 2 of 4)

by Veronica Fowler

Landscape Problem-Solvers

Annual vines aren't just inexpensive oddities. They're also great problem-solvers. They can quickly conceal things you don't want to look at, or play up ones you do. And they're so easy to grow, they're ideal plants to introduce children to the magic of gardening.

Their design uses are almost limitless. Any porch, fence, arbor, large trellis, or pergola is enhanced by an annual vine. But because they grow so fast and are temporary, they lend themselves to experimentation. Make a bamboo or twig tepee for your kids, and cover it with an annual vine such as scarlet runner bean. Plant vines next to a tree 10 to 14 feet tall, and let them scramble up the trunk and into the limbs for a blooming tree until frost. Grow two vines alongside each other in whimsical combinations: a morning-blooming morning glory intertwined with a late-day moonflower, or an international mix of Spanish flag, Chilean glory vine, and Dutchman's pipe.

Use them to blanket a problem slope or fill a new flower bed in a hurry. For instant charm and color, frame a door or window with a vine climbing a string trellis. Less invasive kinds, such as black-eyed Susan vine, can even weave themselves among other annuals and perennials, creating a wild look. Plant shorter growers (4 to 6 feet) in containers and baskets. And hide every eyesore in sight — a rusty toolshed, a dog kennel, the neighbor's dying juniper hedge.

Even tiny courtyard gardens or apartment balconies have room for annual vines. Despite scrambling to heights of 20 feet or more, the vines have relatively limited root systems and grow happily in a large pot.

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