“There’s thirty one this morning, Bobby. That’s a record.”
So said Diddley, who absolutely adored the flowers of Morning Glory. Not just for their transient beauty, but also their unusual lifestyle. Flowering profusely, if time and conditions were right, but dying by mid-afternoon. The new buds for the next day readying themselves for their glorious moment in the sun just a few hours later.
For Diddley, the variety usually grown in England was the most perfect blue flower of all. “Heavenly Blue” in name and nature.
Each year we bought a pot of two, maybe three, seedlings. When all chance of frost had gone, planting them at the back of a large container. Sheltered and right next to a Virginia Creeper. The ideal framework to scramble up. When Diddley left us, we never grew Morning Glories again. Until now.
In England, Morning Glories are grown as half hardy annuals. By autumn they will be over and heading for the compost heap. So we grow them from seed or buy plants. Mostly ‘Heavenly Blue’. In warmer countries they have numerous varieties and as perennials can become quite invasive, having a habit similar to field bindweed. Americans seem particularly fond of them and even have Morning Glory societies.
The seeds are famous for having hallucinogenic properties a bit like LSD. But you would need a lot of seeds!
One day in May we wandered round Knights delightful garden centre near Dorking and noticed pots of Morning Glories. Remembered how Diddley loved them and resolved to grow them again in her memory. The world record for Laurel Cottage now stands at 41! And, just like Diddley, first thing every morning, we go out in the garden to count the blooms.
When we put the pictures on Facebook Richard, a friend from Bobby’s working days, remembered how he grew them on the window sill of Clerical 7, in those far off days when offices were a lot more lax than they are today. In fact, the whole window sill resembled a greenhouse with a magnificent Plumbago enjoying a lot of attention.
But not as much as the Morning Glory, when it took over the blind cords and disappeared in amongst the closed blinds. Reappearing a week later with blue flowers further along the bay. Putting the blinds out of action for some time. Nearly fifty years ago and Richard has not forgotten those Morning Glories.
Those were grown from seed. The window sill of a south facing office being much like a heated greenhouse.
Morning Glory “Heavenly Blue”
We wreathed about our darling’s head
The morning-glory bright;
Her little face looked out beneath
So full of life and light,
So lit as with a sunrise,
That we could only say,
“She is the morning-glory true,
And her poor types are they.”
So always from that happy time
We called her by their name,
And very fitting did it seem,–
For sure as morning came,
Behind her cradle bars she smiled
To catch the first faint ray,
As from the trellis smiles the flower
And opens to the day.
But not so beautiful they rear
Their airy cups of blue,
As turned her sweet eyes to the light,
Brimmed with sleep’s tender dew;
And not so close their tendrils fine
Round their supports are thrown,
As those dear arms whose outstretched plea
Clasped all hearts to her own.
We used to think how she had come,
Even as comes the flower,
The last and perfect added gift
To crown Love’s morning hour;
And how in her was imaged forth
The love we could not say,
As on the little dewdrops round
Shines back the heart of day.
We never could have thought, O God,
That she must wither up,
Almost before a day was flown,
Like the morning-glory’s cup;
We never thought to see her droop
Her fair and noble head,
Till she lay stretched before our eyes,
Wilted, and cold, and dead!
The morning-glory’s blossoming
Will soon be coming round,–
We see their rows of heart-shaped leaves
Upspringing from the ground;
The tender things the winter killed
Renew again their birth,
But the glory of our morning
Has passed away from earth.
Earth! in vain our aching eyes
Stretch over thy green plain!
Too harsh thy dews, too gross thine air,
Her spirit to sustain;
But up in groves of Paradise
Full surely we shall see
Our morning-glory beautiful
Twine round our dear Lord’s knee.
“Morning Glory” does have another connotation…
Lighting a Candle for Diddley
Blue Morning Glory
The blue Morning Glory symbolises deep emotions, infinite love, trust, respect and honesty.