Scarlet Runner Beans and Cardinal Climber Vines, Unique Flowers and Beautiful Shades of Bright Red

My husband, Tim, also a horticulturist, has always been fascinated with the Cardinal Climber Vine, the pentagonal shaped flower with an embossed star shape of sorts shown sitting in the palm of my hand in the photo on the above left.

I have always been intrigued by the beautiful red Scarlet Runner Bean, above right. This year, Tim, who is so awesome at remembering to plant seeds, got them planted by our front porch step this spring!

Now that I have seen these plants in action, I love them even more! Each flower shape is so unique and intricately detailed! I cannot fathom how such small flowers, each smaller than a quarter, can house such fascinating floral architecture! They are truly miraculous specimens to behold! Especially, if you stop for a moment, to examine them up close, and even dissect them.

I hope to one day, get my hands on a macro lens, so that I can capture the intricate details of flowers. Until then, you’ll just have to plant some yourself, or take my word for it!

Both of these vine type plants can be started from seed, and sown directly into the ground once the soil warms up in the spring. If you are living in the midwest, mid to late May would be a safe bet.

We used some wood blocks, and twine spaced evenly along the block, so that each side of our porch had about 6 strings spaced about 6 inches apart going from the ground up to the balcony above.

The vines quickly germinate, and once the heat and humidity take hold, they grow very quickly, especially, if you water the soil around them regularly.

Keep the soil evenly moist until they germinate, and then once they sprout, water every few days, if rain is not in the near forecast.

I almost lost mine, during extreme heat and drought, but luckily, a good drink of water revived them!

The Farmer’s Gift to Me








Beans are beautiful even in the fall.

When the sky is crisp and blue

When the beans have dried inside their shells
to a warm and tannish, hue.
Those beans are lovely, they provide so much,
soft and fuzzy their shells to touch.
I am rambling, this I know, but to these beans, so much I owe.

Gratitude for family who comes together.
Each fall, each October or September.
To watch the harvest is such a treat,
to see my brothers, my whole family.
We come together, we share a day or two,
to watch the beans and tractors brew,
that earthly concoction of chaff and seed.
The dust it drives us all to sneeze.
But with that dust, we all receive another gift..
Those Iowa sunsets, so colorful, from the drift,
of all that dust those combines made,
So many colors in so many shades
of orange, gold, purples and pinks,
Our sky is painted with earthly inks.

Ramblings, by Marie Stephens  Copyright 2013

Bounty of Beans

“Beans don’t fry in the kitchen.  Beans don’t burn on the grill.  Took me a whole lot of tryin’, just to get up that hill.”  Sometimes, that’s how gardening feels, doesn’t it?  But then, when you get a crop, it’s soooo rewarding, even if it’s a small one, it still feels like a victory… you’re finally “In the big leagues”, and you’re finally, “Movin on up!”  I love that song, and as I have been writing this post, it keeps popping into my head, so I thought I’d share it so you can listen to it while you read:)   My two year old and I have been dancing and clapping along to the music this morning.

This spring I planted beans.  A LOT of beans.  I had high hopes of sampling new varieties of Limas, black beans, Garbanzo Beans, Yin Yang beans, Fava, purple pole, green pole, yellow wax, and I think that’s it.  Everything was going great, until this drought came along, and nothing was happening.  I had almost given up on my crop, and thought all the hundreds of seeds I planted were only going to amount to about a handful for the entire crop!

The beans proved me wrong, and have been beating the odds that were stacked against them.  I can’t remember the last time it rained, but the beans are giving me a decent crop, with even a few to share!

With this recent heat wave, it’s been too hot to cook in the kitchen, so I decided to try grilling the beans.  They tasted deeelish!  Almost like a healthy french fry with an extra crunch, these babies were super easy to prepare, and the results were more than worth the effort.

The only thing I would change about this recipe, if I could, would be to make it so the beans hold their color better.  They don’t look nearly as colorful as they do raw, which could be a turn off to if you didn’t already know how delicious they taste.

I Garden Because I Can….Pun Intended

This post is about gardening, and why I love it, why I hate it, and why gardening will always be a part of my life!

I garden because I can!

There’s no place I’d rather be.

In this place, treasures abound,

when searching around,

hunting on bended knee.


My arms are getting itchy,

The bugs are beginning to bite!

Yet still,

I feel,

A calm respite.


My buns are sweating, 

My back is breaking, 


I should be staking!

Muscles I never knew I had,

soon will be aching!


Weeds are tall,

My patience is shrinking!

My boobs are sweating!

My armpits are stinking!

And then I start thinking:


How I would love to fall into a pool

But then I look at my haul,

and I begin to drool!


My shirt is stained

My body is drained

My thirst needs quenched

My clothes are drenched




My mind is clear

My soul is cheered

My heart is full

along with my bucket!


My bucket is full

of gardeners’ loot.

I’ve hit the jackpot

in multiple pounds of delicious fruit!


My garden may not be perfect,

after all, it’s full of weeds,

but still it remains

an escape for me.


Not to be alone,

but to live in community

with birds and bees…….

and those stinking rabbits,

the snakes that give me the shivers,

the caterpillars,

other creepy critters

and let’s not forget the coons!

Yes they have a right to be here too,

so I guess I could spare them a tomato or two.

©Marie Stephens 2018

Are You Ready?

If after reading this poem, which is almost a disclaimer stating that gardening is not glam, you still want to give it a try this year, then I found a collection of seed at a decent price to get you started!  I read a little bit about the company, and it warmed my heart!  Take a peek and see for yourself when you click the pic!

The “I Garden Because I Can” Gift Collection, by Marie Stephens Art

Below, is a link to a small collection of “I Garden Because I Can” items that I created as gifts for gardeners and home grown food preservation fanatics!  They can all be personalized and shipped directly to you or to the person you’d like to send the gift to!

So far, I have designed a

  • kitchen floor mat with funny canning puns and phrases,
  • a tshirt that can be ordered in multiple styles and colors,
  • an apron,
  • a bandana to hold your hair back on canning day,
  • and a mason jar mug with the graphics I designed to make your fellow gardener/canner smile, especially if they hate bunnies…even though they really are so cute!

I hope you will get a chuckle, and if you do order something, thanks so very much!  I earn a royalty for the items purchased with my art on them!

Canning and Gardening