Dawn bloomers offer a riot of color
Photo/Illustration: Todd Meier
Any tour of the morning glory kingdom must begin with the dawn-bloomers themselves—the prolific, insouciant vines of Ipomoea tricolor, I. purpurea, and I. nil. All three are tropical natives that have naturalized widely in the United States. Aptly named, morning glories open their vibrant flowers at sunrise and typically close them by lunchtime, though an extremely cool or cloudy day can postpone the inevitable until late afternoon.
Able to scale a post of 10 feet or taller, morning glories bear handsome heart-shaped leaves and 2-to-6-inch, flat-faced, funneled flowers that unfurl from tightly wrapped buds. These age-old climbers hold the magic of Jack’s beanstalk within each small seed. They sprout in days and grow fast enough that you can almost hear the vines’ whispered race (“First to the top of the post—yes!”). They also contribute voluptuous blossoms, one after another, to the cool morning hours of summer, then pass swiftly into oblivion as the sun slants toward autumn.