Sweet Caroline

“Sweet Caroline”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

One potato, two potato, three potato, more.  Yes, I have found three more sweet potato vines for the garden.  Friday, I went to several nurseries about thirty miles from here to look for some new plants.  Even though the temperature was a killer, it was worth being out in the noon day sun finding some new plants.  Three of the plants I came home with were sweet potato vines.

I have had Margarite and Ace of Spades for years, growing them first in hanging baskets and then in the ground.  They have reliably returned every spring for the last five or six years.  Last year, I found a green and yellow version called Sweet Caroline Green Yellow which I have in a container, and it, too, has returned from winter dormancy.  When I found this one, my sister bought Sweet Caroline Bronze, and after seeing how well it looked in her garden, I was sorry I didn’t get one, too.  Not to worry though, my sweet sister Carolyn (who was almost called Caroline) rooted me two pieces this spring.  So, as of Friday, I had four varieties of sweet potato vine.

When I saw these new varieties, I quickly put them in my cart.  The Sweet Caroline series was developed by North Carolina State University (hence, the name).  One of the things I like about this series is that they are more compact growers than the older varieties like Margarite or Blackie.  The new ones I just had to have are two red ones and one black.  The first red is Sweet Caroline Sweetheart red.  As its name implies, it has the heart-shaped leaves like Ace of Spades or Margarite.  I think this one will look good besides those two.

 

Sw Caroline Sweetheart Red (redu)

 

The next red one is Sweet Caroline Red.  It has the more maple leaf shape.

 

Sw Caroline Red (redu)

 

Last, is Sweet Caroline Bewitched Purple.  It has leaves which are almost black and are slightly frilly.

 

Sw Caroline Bewitched (redu)

 

I know I am lucky because these are root hardy, with mulch, to zone 8b and so, once planted in the garden, will return year after year in my garden.  These are great foliage plants with unusual colors, leaf shapes, and look great in containers as well as in the garden.  They are great for filling in that big, empty spot we all seem to have somewhere, very economically.

Even though they go dormant in the winter, for nine months of the year, these vines really brighten up the garden, and I just can’t seem to get enough of these vines.  There is only one downside to the Sweet Caroline vines.  Every time I see one, Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” starts playing in my head, and I can’t seem to get rid of it.

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6 Comments

  1. Lars said,

    June 15, 2009 at 5:34 am

    I have only seen Margarite and Blackie in our nurseries. I am going to have to see about asking someone to get more varieties. I really would like to have the red ones.

    • Jan said,

      June 15, 2009 at 8:44 am

      Lars, I have just fallen in love with all the new sweet potato vines that are now available. I haven’t grown many vines before, and these really fit in well.

  2. Janet said,

    June 15, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Nice new Sweet Potato Vines! Great to see them. I had planted some a couple years ago..the Japanese beetles made lace out of them. Man! Kept the tubers in a bucket over the winter and replanted them the next year. Looked pretty good.

    • Jan said,

      June 15, 2009 at 11:16 am

      Janet, it is funny but I occasionally have one of mine eaten, too, but all the others will be left alone. Funny, huh. Mine seem to be damaged by flea beetles.

  3. PattiG said,

    June 15, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Nice find. I’ve never seen the red before.

    • Jan said,

      June 15, 2009 at 5:05 pm

      Thanks, Patti. I was thrilled to find that new color.


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