January 28, 2020

Bavarian Dream

Editor’s note: This week we are featuring heirlooms from The Heirloom Garden of Maine, located in Montville. Their expansive catalog offers an array of heirloom plants — some well-known and some obscure — that have graced gardens for centuries as much for their beauty as for their usefulness. You can view their catalog here and visit their website here.

Ipomoea purpurea 'Grandpa Ott's' - Morning glory

Ipomoea purpurea ‘Grandpa Ott’s’ – Morning glory | Photo courtesy of The Heirloom Garden of Maine

Sometimes it takes just one small reference to make you stop and think about what could have been lost if not for the love of one individual. And so it is with Ipomoea purpurea ‘Grandpa Ott’s.’ This heirloom morning glory came from Bavaria and was passed down through one family, becoming one of the varieties that fueled the start of Seed Savers Exchange. According to SSE, it was “given to Kent and Diane (Ott) Whealy in 1972 by her grandfather, Baptist John Ott, who lived on a 40-acre farm near St. Lucas, Iowa.” The deep purple flower is set off by a red star in the throat. The vine is vigorous, reaching 15 feet in length given the chance. And it can self-sow down to Zone 4, which includes much of Maine.

Diana George Chapin of The Heirloom Garden of Maine will speak on heirlooms Tuesday at Merryspring Nature Center. Click here for more information.