Don’t Eat the View

by Andrew Keys on April 12, 2012

lonicera periclymenum

Photo: Plant Pictures || You know, I hate to say it, but I don’t often think of the children. This time I did! My picket fence cried out for a vine. It borders the sidewalk along our street, always abuzz with both footed and treaded varieties of traffic in the center of this little town. Did you know that, like, every pretty, cool vine ever is a poisonous menace, according to the internet? It’s true! And, as we know, the internet is always right.

Internet dubiousness aside, I determined that whatever vine this was: A) it should bloom and smell nice for me and passersby, B) it should not poison the misguided child who plucked off a leaf or flower in passing. See? I’m not completely heartless. This particular vine is known to be poisonous in “large doses,” much like EVERY PLANT EVER (according to the internet), so in this case you’d have to eat the whole plant. Or, say, a grove of them. But indeed, the berries of the parent plant are edible, as in you’re supposed to eat them, according to the internet. Reactionary AND contradictory! Yet another reason to love the internet.

I settled on honeysuckle, and luckily, there are tons to choose from. Ultimately, I picked a less common one, as is my way, with two-toned flowers that smell purty. It’s buds start out red-purple, and, after they open, mature to yellow-white. It has an extended season of bloom, supposedly summer into fall, which is good because less is going on then. Between it and my buddleias, we should be set for late season fragrance. Here’s the skinny:

Name: Lonicera periclymenum var. serotina ‘Florida’ (sometimes ‘Serotina Florida’)
Hardiness: Zones 4-9
Best features: Two-toned flowers, fragrance, toughness, longer bloom season–and it’s non-toxic!
Comes from: Europe, or at least its parent does
Sources: Brushwood Nursery

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