Twining Vining

As winter seems a no-show this year here in Austin, Texas, there are plenty of  greens, partial greens, as well as blooms in my garden this February.  Two of the green things twine along this swing beam, which we built long ago for a playscape, but was re-purposed into an adult weekend snoozing spot.

The vines draping the frame are Potato VineSolanum laxum on the left side, and Mexican Butterfly VineMascagnia macroptera,  on the right.

The Potato Vine is at its blooming best in fall, winter, and spring.  Our summers are too toasty and dry for the blooms to peek out, though the foliage remains green year-round.

A dainty vine, it doesn’t get too big or full and never requires pruning.

Once freezing temperatures arrive, the foliage develops a lovely burgundy blush. My garden hasn’t seen anything more than a glancing freeze this year, so the foliage coloration is more subtle this February.

The peduncle, receptacle, and calyx mirror the plum purple in the foliage.

The warm color provides a nice contrast to the winter white of the petals.

Conversely, the Mexican Butterfly Vine is vigorous grower and bloomer.   Like the Potato Vine, it is a tough and water-wise addition for any Southwest garden.

The strands of the vine grow continuously and I frequently weave them into the full parts of the plant, like errant bits of hair needing tucking behind an ear.

While not flowering now, clusters of bright yellow blooms grace this plant during summer and fall.

Once the blooms are spent, the seed pods develop into chartreuse “butterflies,”  which eventually become rich honey brown “butterflies.”

The vine appears to host multitudes butterflies, resting amongst the lush foliage.

For obvious reasons, Mexican Butterfly Vine is a fun vine to grow in the garden, real butterflies or not!

I planted the vine about 10 years ago.  The trunk shows its age and twisty nature.

Most winters, the foliage of Mexican Butterfly Vine remains green, though it freezes back completely when we endure temperatures cold enough–well into the 20’s–and for a length of time.  Even when knocked back completely by a hard freeze, it returns from its roots without fail.

Both Mexican Butterfly Vine and Potato Vine are no-fuss and low-water needs vines, and provide year-round interest and beauty.

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting her celebration of blooms for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day  and also to Pam at Digging for profiling the beauty of foliage with Foliage Follow-up.  Please visit each lovely blog to see blooms-n-foliage in gardens from many places.