A small, rustic wooden arbor forms the lower entrance to our walking garden, which is on the slope in front of our home.

At the time we erected the arbor, we planted a beautiful purple clematis plant on both sides of the structure. In the spring and summer, the flowering clematis were beautiful, but in the fall the arbor looked pretty bland.

A few years ago, I planted a few cypress vine (hummingbird vine) seeds on both sides of the arbor. Since that time, in the fall each year, the arbor is wrapped in lovely green, delicate-looking vines that are sprinkled with tiny red, star-shaped flowers.

Cypress vine is an easy-to-grow annual that reseeds from year to year. Each year, a multitude of plants are established in the planting beds, and hundreds of small plants are produced from seeds that were distributed the previous year. Each individual vine reaches about 15 feet in a single summer.

Our vines produce red flowers, but other types of cypress vines produce white and pink blossoms.

Not only are the delicate little flowers lovely, they attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The vine needs some type of support system upon which to grow. We grow ours on an arbor, and my brother and his wife grow theirs on a fence. Other gardeners use trellises and poles. The vine grows best in full sun, in rich, well-drained soil.

The vines often become invasive, and thinning will be required. Each year, I pull random vines from other planting beds nearby, and the shallow-rooted vines are easily removed.

Deadheading encourages additional blossoms. As I said earlier, the plants are annuals and will succumb to the first freeze. The good thing is that they will return the following year with absolutely no help. I have never removed the seed pods, but removing them will prevent the vines from reseeding so prolifically.

Carol (Bonnie) Link is an Etowah County Master Gardener and an experienced garden writer. Her weekly column is designed to help and encourage others in their gardening endeavors. Send questions or comments to clink43@bellsouth.net.