Monday, July 19, 2010

putting two and two together

see these sprouts- aren't they pretty? like you could toss them in a salad or something, right?

this bunch is what came out of about a two foot by six inch wide bed this morning. this is what I must contend with every day. it is my arch nemesis, the morning glory. I've been pulling morning glory sprouts from every corner of the garden except one, the far west side of the bed that holds the lavender. I thought it might be okay to let it grow up the fence a little.

but then I figured something out. the seeds form after the flowers bloom and drop off. If I let any of the vines mature and flower, I'll be in the same boat next summer. above is the tangle of vines, right after I ripped them from the fence.

the reason I don't want morning glory in the garden can be seen above. it twists its way around everything, smothering other plants. it spreads its seeds and grows voraciously. if I left it alone, the whole patio would be covered in it.

here are the dried seed pods, ready to shed their seeds.

and here are the seeds! I hear they make a popular recreational drug. check out this video to find out everything you wanted to know and more about taking morning glory. I am not telling you to take morning glory seeds, this is strictly for informational purposes.

so anyhoo, back in early march when b and I were preparing the yard, I pulled a bunch of dried vines off the chain link fence on the west side of the back patio. it was a warm day and a lot of nasty dust was flying off the vines. my arms started breaking out in hives- a few small ones at first, and then they spread way up the length of my arms, creating giant, raised welts. I came inside and washed, then put on long gloves. I continued to pull the vines even though the rash kept getting worse- I was really into doing yard work! finally after some time I had enough, came inside and showered. later that night as I was trying to go to sleep, I started wheezing. I had asthma as a child, but it's been gone since I was in my 20's. the only thing that usually brings it back is exposure to an unusually dusty or cat hair-ridden house. the next day I went to an herb store and found some natural remedies. the wheezing continued for well over a week until it gradually subsided.

I had seen a lot of brown, bell-shaped pods flying off as I was pulling the vines and I assumed that whatever vine they came from was the one that caused the allergy. the patio was full of the pods and I got rid of as many as I could.

flash forward a few months and I discover a vine with seven-point leaves that has a sticky, spiky stem, and it gives me the same reaction as I had in march. only now I am more careful when handling it, putting on the long gloves right away and avoiding prolonged exposure. I assume that this is the same vine that had bothered me in march (the patio has a lot of different vines- each fence is covered with a different one, and some creep in from other yards) but I still hadn't made the connection with the seed pods. in the meantime, I've been trying to trace the genesis of the morning glory's immense power to spread. it wasn't until I pulled the vines off the fence today and discovered the brown pods below that they indeed belonged to the morning glory, not the noxious, itchy weed. the itchy weed had attached itself to the morning glory and I missed it in its brown and shrunken state. luckily the itchy weed doesn't spread as voraciously as the morning glory or I'd be in trouble.

evil weed! bad, bad!


frank@new york city garden said...

You could be dealing with those morning glories for some time. Their seeds lay dormant for quite some time! Keep on pulling and maybe try corn gluten meal as a way to prevent sprouting -don't know how well it works for m.g., but it is used in lawns for its anti-sprouting effect.

dash said...

Thanks Frank. I've been reading your blog and it's helping me tremendously. I had a feeling about the morning glories- that it might be a while before they're gone. But at least I understand the growth cycle now.