This plant has a beauty and presence in the garden that few other plants can boast. With such a vivacious personality, you know it was only a matter of time before she became one of the few plants I tend to acquire a proper nickname. "Honey" seemed too sweet... but I remember watching M*A*S*H with my mom when I was a kid, and Loni Anderson played the blonde bombshell (with brains and a big heart, to boot) on a show that came on right after M*A*S*H. So "Loni" seemed a much more fitting name for my garden beauty:
I occasionally take some of Loni's longest limbs and weave them in and out of the tops of the pickets. Even without my help, she drapes herself elegantly along the fenceline:
My favorite way to view her is backlit. In the morning, when I look out my picture window, she is backlit by the morning sun. In the slanted light just before sundown, she smolders:
Even the leaves look amazing, with their blue-green shades in flat light, and the bright green glow that pops out with a little backlighting:
And on top of all that? She's easy to grow, and doesn't require a fuss. In fact, she's so perfect that you wonder what all of the other plants must think of her... and determine that even though they probably all WANT to hate her, and are a little bit envious, they can't help but love her, too.
A final warning: This will not be the last Ode to Loni on my blog. The number of blooms waxes and wanes throughout the summer, but... well, in spite of being a vine, Loni is not really a wallflower. She isn't afraid to strut her stuff, and the show often lasts until the first frost. Expect even more pictures as the show goes on!