Back in April (see April 21, 2012, part 2), Rachel planted cosmos, morning glories and mixed annuals in the ornamental garden.  The idea was to add some mid-season color to complement the butterfly bushes and bee balm.  Most of the flowers in our garden are magenta in hue and the mixture of varieties would fill out the color spectrum.

Well, it didn’t exactly turn out like we planned.  The weather during late spring and early summer was characterized by high heat and low precipitation.  So although we got one or two soaking rains, for the most part the ornamental garden baked in the sun (we do not water it).

Not surprisingly, then, none of the flower seeds sprouted.  It was disappointing but not the end of the world; there are plenty of nice plants in the garden and even those that are not in bloom offer attractive foliage for view.

And then, after several weeks, Rachel noticed a few tiny seedlings of morning glories.  It was difficult to spot them—they are planted behind the Siberian irises and day lilies, almost in a hole.  It is possible that their shielded location prevented them from receiving enough sun to grow more quickly and equally possible that the shading protected them from the sun’s mid-summer heat.  Who can say?

And who cares?  The important thing is that they continued to develop over the next few weeks.  When the seedlings grew to be a few inches tall, Rachel erected a tripod out of bamboo stakes and trained the little vines around each leg.  Slowly, the morning glories started twisting their way up the trellis.

Fast forward almost four months and finally, the morning glories are blooming.  We had no idea it would take so long and not a lot of confidence that it would ever happen.  But it was worth waiting for.  Their flowers are large—about three inches in diameter—and an intense shade of indigo (like the color of denim).  And given the number of tightly wound spiral buds that have formed on each vine, it looks like the morning glories will be blooming for a long time.

As beautiful as the morning glories are, it is the black-eyed Susans that were the star of our late-summer ornamental garden.  They were much more prolific—almost as extensive as the penstemon—and although they are starting to fade now (actually, their petals drop off), they still brighten the entire garden with their saturated yellow-orange flowers.