This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V29", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
In a note Mr. John F. Clark says: " Last spring I purchased a packet of the 'charming half-hardy Mexican Climbing Annual.' The packet contained six seeds. Five of them germinated, and grew up to be nice plants before they were set out. They were planted out in May, and they continued to grow until it covered the allotted space. But at this writing it stands ' blossomless, fruitless, and in solitude.' "
Any one familiar with the common "Morning Glory" of our gardens, would hardly suppose that they had a close relative in the plant here described, - but Dr. Masters says of it that it "is a Mexican annual climbing plant, figured in the Botanical Register, 1842, t. 24, but lost sight of since. By modern botanists it is included under Ipomcea, but the form of the flower is so very different from most of the Ipomceas, that we think it more convenient to preserve the garden name. Messrs. Haage & Schmidt of Erfurt have the credit of re-introducing it. These gentlemen speak of the plant as really magnificent, and express surprise that so remarkable a climber should have been suffered to go out of cultivation".
Mina lobata: Part of the plant from a photograph after nature, much reduced.
They further say of it:
"This really magnificent and most attractive climbing plant has been admired by all visitors of our establishment during the whole summer. One would scarcely believe that such a lovely plant after once being introduced to European Gardens could be lost again, but such is the case with this plant although it seeds as freely as the Cypress Vine (Ipomoea Quamoclit). It was introduced about 50 years ago, as Loudon in his Encyclopaedia of plants mentions the year 1841 as the time of its first introduction to Europe from Mexico. The plant must have been flowering in the gardens of the Royal Horticultural Society of London in 1842, an illustration having been published in the Botanical Register that same year. We suppose the plants did not bring any seeds to maturity and this may be the reason why this remarkable plant has disappeared again, as it happened with a good many other fine ornamental plants cultivated in gardens about that time.
Mina lobata: portion of flower-stalk. Flowers orange to red, nat. size.
"The genus Mina (named after Don Francisco Xavier Mina, a Mexican minister) is closely allied to Ipomcea and resembles in growth and its three-lobed foliage the several species of this family, but totally different are the flowers as concerns their form and their lovely colors. The flowers appear on fork-like racemes bearing themselves upright or almost erect out of the dense and luxuriant foliage and present thus with their colors an extraordinarily striking aspect; the flowers are as buds at first bright red but change through orange yellow to yellowish white when in full bloom. Another interesting and most singular feature of this plant is, that it retains the racemes developed at first during the whole flowering season; the buds growing successively at the tops of the racemes, while the flowers after blooming for a considerable time fade, bearing thus continually clusters of flowers from the bottom up to the highest vine of the plant. The oldest racemes attained a length of 15 to 18 inches until the end of September and had produced 30 to 40 individual flowers on each fork-like raceme, of which were 6 to 10 in full bloom or in colored buds at one time.
The tube-like flowers are borne unilateral and almost horizontal on the upright racemes and measure when fully developed three quarters of an inch in length while the uppermost colored bud is only one eighth of an inch long. This plant proved to be a very rapid growing climber under our cultivation, the seeds were sown in March and the seedlings cultivated in pots until the middle of May, when they were planted out in the open ground and at the beginning of August had formed pyramids of over 18 feet in height well furnished with green luxuriant foliage and profusely covered with flowers, as will be seen by the annexed illustration which shows a part of one pyramid reduced from a photograph. It thrives well on sunny situations and is well suited for covering arbors, trellises, etc., on account of its rapid growth and great dimensions".
In a colored plate before us, issued by Haage & Schmidt, one is represented as growing over six stakes tied at the top cone, or tent-shaped, and it must be a truly beautiful object. As these plants thrive so well in our country it will be a welcome guest to American flower gardens. Seeds no doubt can be had of most of the leading seedsmen the coming spring.