IN THE YARD: Mexican flame vine

Photo provided by LSU AgCenterThe Mexican flame vine lights up the summer.
Photo provided by LSU AgCenterThe Mexican flame vine lights up the summer.

Every summer, I’m always glad that I planted a Mexican flame vine many years ago.

It’s a vine with glossy, deep green leaves and a sunny, bright-colored, orange flower that looks like a little daisy.

Mine climbs a trellis that happens to be against a shed and not far from a tall water oak tree. The vine’s protected situation — that’s also probably more shady than the plant likes — is likely the reason it comes back year after year, not loaded with flowers, but still very welcome.

It’s a perennial, but is most often grown here as a summer annual, according to the LSU AgCenter. The flowers bloom through the summer and into fall, but usually don’t survive the winters here.

So, I’ll just be grateful for my Mexican flame vine’s reappearance as long as it lasts.

Its flowers attract butterflies, too, notes horticulturist Dan Gill.

THE REAL DEAL: The state Department of Agriculture and Forestry reminds homeowners to work with licensed landscape horticulturists, arborists and landscape-irrigation contractors, when undertaking major landscaping.

Ask to see a license and ask for references, too, says commissioner Mike Strain.

You can call the agency’s Horticulture and Quarantine Programs Division, (225) 952-8100, for questions about licensing.

A list of licensed horticulture professionals can be found at www.LDAF.la.gov.

A LUNCH BREAK: Bring a brown bag lunch to the next event, noon to 1 p.m. Monday in the “Reflections in the Garden” series of lectures at the Burden Center on Essen Lane.

The topic will be “Beat the Heat with Succulents,” those interesting ornamental plants of which the aloe is perhaps the best known.

The event is $10; free to members of the Burden Horticulture Society. Drinks to go with lunch will be provided. For more information, call (225) 763-3990.

Ellyn Couvillion

Advocate staff writer