Passion flower ‘fragrance’

The weather has not been very good lately. Since the 25th of June, my farm has received only 0.5 inches of rain. The heat has made the dryness of summer even worse. I’ve lost track of how many days it’s been above 100°F; the worst we’ve had at home is 115°F. It’s frustrating to watch the plants on the farm wither away, whether it’s the transplants I just plugged in this spring or the ancient oaks that are turning brown on the road. All I can do is haul more hoses and sprinklers to apply relief. But these extremes reveal averages and help me better understand which plants will survive in the future, weather extremes or not. Here’s my record.

In the case of ‘Fragrant’, a two-year-old passionflower I’ve been growing, it’s still flowering and growing through all this. I feared I’d lost it last winter; however, as soon as it warmed up, ‘Fragrance’ was set alight and it exploded from its overwintered roots.

Passiflora is very vigorous, but ‘Incense’ is a hybrid, probably developed in the 1970s by crossing our native passionfruit with tropical passionfruit. As a hybrid, it’s pollen sterile, which means it doesn’t produce fruit, and is able to redirect energy back into growth. I grow it in a spot behind a blackberry fence where the soil dries out every summer. It grows wild there and does well with very little irrigation.

This is something unexpected!

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