Love/Hate those morning glories!

I’m looking out my back window now at the morning glories on the fence. These are the old fashioned kind (possibly a heritage variety: ‘Grandpa Ott’), mostly in deep blue but with the occasional pink and white, all barred or starred in a deeper shade with a bright white throat. How pretty, you say. And pretty they are.

Pretty aggressive, too, as they clamber up anything that will hold them: the fence, the lilac tree, the rose arbour, the obelisk I’m trying to train with clematis, a spade left leaning against the shed too long, the chair closest to the flower beds, other plants. All the other plants.

This is what I love and hate about morning glories. They’re part glorious bower, part Day of the Triffids. That was the John Wyndham book in which malevolent plants devour everything in their path. That’s morning glories all over.

The great-grandparents for this lot came with the house. Someone long ago sprinkled a few seeds: they came, they sowed, they conquered. They’ve been self-seeding ever since.

The sandy loam I’ve cultivated in the back creates the perfect conditions for morning glories to germinate; it warms up quickly in the spring. In late April or May the first seedlings pop up their cloven-footed primary leaves, which is a sign for me to madly pull them up. But it’s like Lucy Ricardo in the chocolate factory. I pull up seedlings by the fistful, and still by August morning glories have taken over the garden entire.

But now I’m trying to embrace my outer demons: fuel the love, fool the hate. We do love morning glories. Yes, we do. We want them to grow, want them to cover all our upward planes. Perhaps by wanting them to grow, they’ll do what so many of my other most-wanteds tend to do: Disappear.

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