Why I Love Honeysuckle

By September 15, 2008 Flowering Vines One Comment

Honeysuckle Harlequin (Lonicera periclymenum 'Harlequin')
When I was a kid growing up in South Carolina, we took the name of Honeysuckle vines pretty literally.  I learned on the playground in elementary school how to pick the flowers and draw the stamen through the bloom very slowly, yielding a dollop of the sweetest nectar I’ve ever tasted.  Of course, looking back on that I realize that our school maintenance crew wasn’t exactly shy with the pesticides, and I expect a variety of ill health effects to present any day now.  Still, possibly worth it.  Yum.  (Mind you, Honeysuckle is a pretty tough plant, and those pesticides were probably completely unnecessary.  Still, it was a different time.)

Drawing out that nectar took a surprising amount of patience and skill (for 8-year-olds, anyway).  The stamen would break quite easily, or the nectar would drop off onto the ground, or the flower itself would tear, leaving the nectar insufficiently concentrated to drop onto the tongue. It became a sort of contest (as all things at that age tend to) to see who could get the biggest drops of nectar.  I look back on that very fondly, and I still find that when I’m working in my mother’s garden near her large Honeysuckle plants that have taken over a part of the back fence, I can’t help but pinch off a bud or two to see if I’ve still got the skills to get at that delicious ambrosia.  This time, at least, I know that there are no pesticides on the flowers.


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