Would a modern-day Jack settle for an ordinary green beanstalk? Probably not. Instead, he'd wish for one of the fast-growing annual vines that produce gorgeous scented flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. These vines are especially enticing because they are easily started from inexpensive seeds. They grow quickly in sunny areas, climb effortlessly to cover fences, trellises or teepees and - the bonus -many self-sow for next year's garden.
Cardinal climber, for instance, shines with clusters of scarlet heart-shaped flowers that serve as tiny fast-food outlets for visiting hummingbirds. Grow by a window to watch the hummers swoop in for their treats.
Morning glory does
Magic is the word often used to describe the romantically fragrant moonflower. A member of the morning glory family, moonflower also fulfills the promise of its name. The white trumpet-shaped flowers open at sunset - or even on a cloudy day - and fill the air with a heavenly scent. This plant needs plenty of summer heat to bloom.
Gardeners who like two-for-one deals appreciate the runner bean vine, a.k.a. scarlet runner bean vine. It grows quickly and produces clusters of scarlet or orange flowers that turn into edible bean pods. But, wait, there's more. When left on the vine, the pods fill with large purple and black swirled beans that are perfect for the soup or stew pot.
The secret to growing these flower-intensive vines is to choose the sunniest spot in the garden. Seeds can be sown directly into the soil or started in small pots to transplant into specific locations. For gardeners with limited space, a container and a trellis to climb on is all it takes.