One for the morning glory

Heavenly Blue Morning Glory No Blooming


This is frustrating, I know, as mine are not yet blooming, either.

First, do not fertilize anymore, if you have been. Too much nitrogen produces only leaves.

Morning glory sets flower buds depending on a combination of temperature and day length. Here is an explanation —-

“Short-day plants (SDP) flower when the days are relatively short (generally nine hours or less), such as in the late fall or early winter. Long-day plants

(LDP) flower when the days are relatively long (generally fifteen hours or greater), as would occur in late spring and early summer. In day-neutral plants, flowering is not regulated by day lengths. In other words, day-neutral plants flower regardless of the day length.

A plant may respond to a certain day length at one temperature but exhibit a different response at another temperature. For example, both the poinsettia and morning glory are absolute SDPs at high temperature; however, they are absolute LDPs at low temperature and day-neutral at intermediate temperatures.”

Another study showed Heavenly Blue only flowered, with short days = 10 hours light or less, in these temperatures——

Short days at 70-75F

Short and long days at 63-65F

Long days at 55F

Considering the temperatures this summer, I suspect your plants will be reacting as Short-day plants. And, we may soon be having intermediate temperatures which in time can switch them to a day-neutral state. You should be seeing flower buds soon, perhaps as soon as a week or two. One other consideration- some studies show that short day plants will not flower if their night time darkness is broken by brief exposure to light at night. So, if your plants are receiving light from a porch lamp or street light, this could prevent or delay flowering.

Here is an idea from my personal experience—last year my Heavenly Blue m.g. began setting lots of flower buds in early October, just as night temperatures were about to fall so low as to kill them(light frost). Before that happened, I cut long vines full of buds off the main plant, brought them inside and placed them in a large vase of water, draping the vines over my plant stand in the kitchen patio door. They bloomed and I had beautiful m.g.s into early December!

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Ipomoea purpurea

The common morning glory is an easy-to-grow ornamental flower that’s tolerant of a variety of conditions, a voracious grower that opens its blooms wide in the morning only to wilt by the afternoon.

Requiring little care, it’s the annual groundcover and trellis plant of choice for gardeners everywhere.

We’ll take a look at where the morning glory comes from and take a gander at its history in horticulture. But more importantly, we’ll learn what it takes to grow morning glory well, so that it’s at its best.

Here’s what’s to come in this article:

How to Grow Common Morning Glory

  • An Icon for Artists and Writers
  • Medicinal and Ritual Use
  • Growing Conditions: A Flower That Can Take It All
  • Planting Tips
  • Pests and Diseases
  • Recommended Varieties

But first, a little note.

The common name “morning glory” is thrown around to describe various plants in the Convolvulaceae family, a broad group that includes moon flowers (I. alba) and others. The Ipomoea genus has more than 500 species under its umbrella, and these are most often grown as annuals.

This article will be looking specifically at I. purpurea and not the other varieties of morning glories. But don’t worry, faithful readers, we’ll be covering those species in future material!

An Icon for Artists and Writers

The image of the morning glory is represented in famous works of painting and sculpture across the world by Georgia O’Keeffe, Sopheap Pich, Suzuki Kiitsu, and others. It is also a regular reference in poetry, literature, and folklore.

The Chinese have a tale of two lovers who spent all of their time together and spurned their chores until the work piled up around them. They were punished and forced to work, allowed to see each other but once a year. In this story, a morning glory represents this brief period of time for two lovers to spend together.

Christian tradition suggests the short life of a morning glory flower represents the finite amount of time we have in the world, and in Victorian times the morning glory stood for a love that never ends… or one that goes unrequited, often decorating headstones.

Man, this flower has some bittersweet themes going on, huh?

Don’t worry, Walt Whitman says, “A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books,” and philosopher Alan Watts opines, “The morning glory which blooms for an hour differs not at heart from a giant pine that lives for a thousand years.”

That lightens things up a bit.

Medicinal and Ritual Use

The morning glory has been used as a laxative in Asian and Mesoamerican countries for centuries, and a tea was sometimes concocted from its roots as a diuretic and expectorant. Tea brewed from the dry leaves has been used by herbal healers to treat headaches, too.

Seeds from the morning glory have been consumed as a hallucinogenic substance because of a compound called LSA (similar to LSD). Mesoamerican indians would imbibe these seeds to enter trances and altered states for ritualistic purposes.

The seeds are toxic, however, and can cause serious health problems when consumed. They are often also coated with agricultural chemicals. Do not eat them.

Growing Conditions: A Flower That Can Take It All

So it’s true that various species of I. purpurea can grow in just about any soil type, and it looks like it thrives in poor soil types. Heck, it seems to flower more often in poor soil than well-drained, loamy soil. So what’s going on?

Many plants will produce an abundance of flowers not when they’re happy, but when they’re stressed and trying their best to reproduce before they kick the bucket. That morning glory growing on the side of the old iron works isn’t flowering because it’s happy, it’s flowering because it’s struggling to ensure it leaves another generation to pick up where it couldn’t survive.

Because I. purpurea can grow in almost any soil condition, it leads many gardeners to suspect that it doesn’t need to be fertilized. That’s not exactly true; when grown in the right conditions, a morning glory thrives with a monthly fertilizer (as the package directs). Most often a 10-10-10 balance will work, granular or liquid.

Endless Light: I. Purpurea Thrives in Full Sun

I. purpurea thrives in the sunniest conditions. This adoration of sunshine is what makes morning glory such an ideal plant for trellises, arbors, fences, and walls. It’s often grown in hot and open locations specifically to provide ample shade via its dense growth.

It can also grow up along the side of a building and offers some drastic improvements in your cooling bill, all while providing seemingly non-stop flowers from May through September.

Unlike ivy and other vines, morning glories do not grow roots for climbing. To encourage these vines to cover the side of a structure, you’ll need a trellis or lattice for them to climb.

On the one hand, you won’t need to worry about morning glories damaging the walls of your structure! But on the other, a support system for the vines is required and will need to be cleaned at the end of each season.

That many twisting, crawling vines can be extremely difficult to entirely clean up year after year, but it sure does look nice when it’s in bloom!

The name “morning glory” references how the flowers of this plant will open fully in the morning sun.

“Glory” is an understatement, when this plant is thriving and the weather is on its side. But those blooms are sensitive, and will begin to wither by the time the hot afternoon sun starts to really beat down.

Annual or Perennial?

I. purpurea can tolerate about as much sun as you can throw at it, but it’s most often grown as an aggressively self-seeding annual, to the degree that it seems like it’s a perennial in warm locales. When the flowers take on a crispy brown, brittle texture, the seeds are ready to pop and they get to work establishing themselves for next year.

The meticulous gardener can remove each flower after it blooms to prevent unwanted spread, but a thorough cleanup in the fall followed by attentive weeding in the springtime will keep unwanted plants from sprouting up.

However, if you’ve got an area you want covered without additional planting and effort, this is the plant for you; it will rapidly cover whatever it grows on, whether that’s a flat surface or a vertical one such as a trellis or fence.

Annual vines can simply be ripped off the fence at the end of the season, but perennials should be allowed to stay in place throughout the winter. In the springtime you can cut back the burnt-off growth and watch it spring back to life again.

I’ve had a few plants that were left to overgrow for a few years too long and these became massive, tangled blankets of vine. A heavier pruning, leaving perhaps thirty or forty percent of the plant material remaining, is the solution for this heavy overgrowth.

This tendency to spread and grow without borders, so much so that it is a known invasive species and illegal to plant in the state of Arizona, can be a problem for some gardeners. If you’re planting some of these babies, make sure the plant doesn’t invade your neighbor’s yard or any wild spaces nearby!

Planting Tips

You can find established plants and plant them right away, but morning glory is such a vigorous grower that sowing some seeds is often enough.

Directly sow the seeds to the desired growing area for best results because these seedlings don’t respond well to transplanting, in my experience.

Wait until two weeks after your last frost date; scuff up the seeds with a nail file and soak them in water overnight before sowing.

Lay down a thin layer of soil, half an inch at the most, and keep the area evenly watered and moist; seedlings will typically pop up after a week or two.

Grow on, little seedling, you can do it!

Watering Requirements

Water? We don’t need no stinkin’ water!

Well, maybe a little. But morning glory truly requires no special attention in regards to watering. It usually survives and thrives on whatever rainfall it can get, but it should be watered during periods of drought.

Seedlings will need regular watering and ideally you should never allow the top surface of the soil to become overly dry. But as they mature, the vines need much less water, usually subsisting off of only rain water – unless you live in a hot and dry area like the southwestern United States.

Less is more with this plant. Too much water encourages leafy growth and no flowers. Once they’re all grown up, these vines tolerate dry conditions. They will flower best when they’re not getting regular watering.

In more arid areas that receive less than an average of one inch of rain per week, you can give the vines a light weekly soaking once a week. One good drink of water per is far better than daily watering for these flowers.

Don’t be alarmed if the leaves start to dry up in the summer heat! These flowers need to be stressed to produce all of those blooms, so a few dessicated and wilted leaves are part of the game here.

Pests and Diseases

Tough as they are, you’ll find a few headaches when growing morning glories.

Like many plant issues, many of the potential ailments for this vine trace back to watering practices.

Morning glories will experience black rot and rust if conditions are too wet, or if air circulation is poor. Luckily you’re not watering your vines too much, right? Pow, problem solved!

If you do encounter issues with fungal problems like black rot or rust, or stem cankers in some scenarios, a copper fungicide like this one from Bonide can help control the problem.

Bonide 811 Copper 4E Fungicide 16oz, available from Amazon

Quite a few bugs and insects will bother your morning glory, but rarely with serious infestations. Keep an eye out for Japanese beetles, spider mites, aphids, and leafminers.

I recommend hand picking these pests and avoiding the use of any chemical control. Too often, chemical applications will impact the health of beneficial insects and pollinators.

If you don’t see these insects, you’ll often find evidence of their presence. Japanese beetles will blindly munch away on your leaves, while aphids will suck the juices from I. purpurea and leave behind a sticky residue. Bad infestations are easily visible and should be quickly dealt with.

Leafminers will literally tunnel through the leaves of your plant and leave behind little silvery tunnels and trails. These aren’t much of an issue and only impact the appearance of the plant.

Spider mites are my most commonly encountered pest with I. purpurea because they thrive in the hot, dry conditions that this flowering vine loves. Besides the tiny webbing they leave behind on plants, something visually akin to a spider web, you’ll find leaves with white dots and dry, yellowing, speckled foliage.

Bonide Products INC 912102 652 Ready-to-Use Insect Soap 1 Quart, available from Amazon

An insecticidal soap works well for spider mite problems (and aphids, for that matter). Try another Bonide product like this one for easy control.

If the leaves are becoming bleached and faded, or turning color from their natural green, and you have no evidence of insect infestation, you might be experiencing sunscald or problems with ozone or air pollution.

Sunscald will bleach the leaves of your vine and turn them closer to white, with brown edges. The only solution here is to provide a bit of shade from the hottest hours of the afternoon sun.

This problem most often occurs only after the plant has been moved to a new location, or perhaps if you did a little pruning in the area that resulted in new, hotter conditions for your vines. I. purpurea should recover with some shade and care!

Ozone can bleach the leaves and turn the foliage a gray color that’s not very appealing, and easily recognized. Try to avoid planting your vines where they’ll get blasted by emissions and exhaust to avoid this happening.

That could mean nearby the road or street, or even in your driveway if your vehicle’s muffler is aimed at the morning glory.

Recommended Varieties

If you’re in search of that classic sky blue flower with the white and yellow center, the heirloom ‘Heavenly Blue’ is what you’re looking for. Packages of 150 seeds are available from Burpee.

‘Heavenly Blue’ Seeds

For even more of our favorite varieties, check out our round up (coming soon!).

Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Morning Glory

Looking for that crawling vine that’ll cover a bald space in your yard, or show off plenty of glorious color to attract second and sometimes third looks? You’ve got it right here.

If you want to get down to brass tacks, check out our guide to growing flowering vines. And if you aren’t sure morning glory is for you, consult our other suggestions in our flowering vines growing guide for northern growing zones.

Plants that thrive in poor soil are my favorites! For upright plants that will compliment your morning glories, consider:

  • Virginia stock
  • Balloon flowers
  • Gaillardia

Is this flower a mainstay of your summertime gardening display? Share your memories of growing this gorgeous plant with us in the comments below.

Thanks for reading, and check back soon for more from Gardener’s Path!


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Photos by Allison Sidhu © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photos via Bonide. Uncredited photos: . With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

About Matt Suwak

Matt Suwak was reared by the bear and the bobcat and the coyote of rural Pennsylvania. This upbringing keeps him permanently affixed to the outdoors where most of his personal time is invested in gardening, bird watching, and hiking. He presently resides in Philadelphia and works under the sun as a landscaper and gardener, and by moonlight as a writer. An incessant questioning of “Why?” affords him countless opportunities to ponder the (in)significance of the great and the small. He considers folksy adages priceless treasures and is fueled almost entirely by beer and hot sauce.

Why Morning Glory Is Not Blooming: Getting Morning Glories To Flower

In some zones, morning glories are wild and grow prolifically in all the places you don’t want them. However, some gardeners prefer these fast-growing vines as coverage for unsightly fences, sheds and other structures. The added bonus is the funnel-shaped, brightly colored blooms, so when there are no morning glory flowers, the effect is rather ruined. Getting morning glories to flower is actually a lot simpler than you might think, however. Read on to see how to get blooms on morning glory vines.

Why Morning Glory is Not Blooming

Morning glories have been popular flowers for centuries. They were favorites for the cottage garden because they grew readily in poor soil and needed little special care. The vines grow at a rapid pace and eventually produce trumpet-shaped flowers. There are several species of morning glory, each of which develops at a different time. No morning glory flowers could mean the soil is too fertile, the plants aren’t sited correctly, or even that you have a late-blooming variety.

If your morning glory won’t bloom, or blooms very little, there’s a pretty good chance that the problem is environmental. For example:

  • Soil – Many plants thrive in rich soil, but morning glory isn’t one of them; it prefers well-drained, poor or average soil. Although a layer of mulch is beneficial, skip the manure and avoid fertilizer. Too rich of a soil is often the reason for a morning glory not blooming, as rich or over-fertilized soil produces lush, beautiful foliage at the expense of blooms.
  • Sunlight – Morning glories love full sunlight and a vine located in shade may not bloom. If the vine is young, you may be able to successfully transplant it to a more suitable location. If the problem is a tall tree or overhanging branches, a good pruning may allow more sunlight to reach the vine.
  • Moisture – Morning glories like regular water – but not too much, as the soil shouldn’t be either bone dry or soggy. As a general rule, one deep watering per week is enough for this low-maintenance plant. Avoid frequent, shallow irrigation, which creates weak, shallow roots.

How to Get Blooms on Morning Glory

The key to getting morning glories to flower is to determine why morning glory is not blooming. You can throw remedies at it all you want, but until you understand why it is not flowering, you are just guessing and wasting time.

For instance, some gardeners feel that fertilizing with a bloom food will force buds. While it is true that high phosphorus fertilizers promote the formation of buds, the application can do more harm than good because most plant food also contains nitrogen. This causes leaves, shoots and stems to grow, which will only cause more vegetation.

Other causes might be lack of water or you have a late-blooming variety. Check with your County Extension office and ask them when your variety should be blooming in your area.

Don’t Panic if Morning Glories Not Blooming

So this season you didn’t get any blooms. That means you need to take steps to ensure plenty of flowers next year. Some vines bloom like crazy when the vine is allowed to sprawl on the ground, but morning glory flowers best with a support system. Provide a trellis, fence, arbor or other sturdy structure.

If your new morning glory plant hasn’t flowered yet, be patient. Morning glories can take a couple of months, up to 120 days from seed to flower, to burst out in blooms, especially if you planted the vine from seed. They are one of the last annuals to bloom in most regions, often in August or even early September.

If you have a short growing season, start them indoors 3 weeks before the date of the last frost. Soak the seeds for 24 hours before planting them and scar the outer surface of the seed first. Plant seeds ½ inch deep and keep the flat moderately moist in a warm environment. Plant the seedlings out after all danger of frost has passed, in a neglected but sunny area of the garden with nutrient poor to sandy soil.

You will be surprised at how quickly the plants establish and the extra time should increase the likelihood of blooms.

Morning Glory Flower

Set your garden sights higher than normal with annual morning glory vine. These beautiful bloomers unfurl trumpet-shaped flowers that open daily in early morning. Morning glory flowers bring magic to the garden with their sun-worshiping ways. Each blossom lingers only until the sun begins to sizzle each day, then they close and die. It’s an incredible process to witness.
Morning glory plants boast striking flower colors. You can find blossoms in many shades, including reds, pinks, blue, purple and white. There’s also a host of morning glory vines that unfurl bicolor blooms. Some of the most popular morning glory flowers are Heavenly Blue, which opens sky blue blooms, and Grandpa Ott’s, with deep purple blooms marked with a wine-red star. Flying Saucers features blue and white striped flowers; Pearly Gates is pure white.
On sunny days, morning glory flowers open around sunrise and close as the heat of the day arrives. On cloudy days, flowers linger open longer. Modern morning glory vines originate in Mexico or Japan. The Mexican ones come from Ipomoea tricolor, while the Japanese vines hail from Ipomoea nil. Japanese flowers tend to stay open longer on an average day. Check the seed packet of the variety you’re growing to see which type you have.
Morning glory plants are a snap to grow. Start with seed, which has a hard coat. Before sowing, you need to soften the coat by soaking the seed up to 48 hours in water or by nicking the seed coat. This is trickier because the seeds are small and hard to hold. When you soak seeds, you’ll know they’re ready to go because the seed coat begins to crack.
Plant morning glory vines in a sunny spot with average garden soil. If soil is too fertile, you’ll get all leaves and no flowers, so don’t make special efforts to amend and improve soil. Wait to plant until all danger of frost has passed and nights are consistently above 50°F. Cover seeds with half an inch of soil.
Morning glory vines need a support to climb. Morning glory plants climb by twining and will grab the nearest object—including other plant stems—to hoist themselves heavenward. Your trellis or support should be at least 8 feet high for most vines. The seed packet should specify an ideal height. Make sure the support is well-anchored. In strong summer storms, a morning glory-covered trellis can act as a wind break and wind up wrestled to the ground.
If your morning glory plants fail to bloom, the problem might be too little sun or too much fertilizer. A really wet summer can also lead to an overabundance of leaves and fewer morning glory flowers.

For years as a child my mum would greet us kids individually each morning, with a joyful “Morning Glory!” she didn’t say it every morning, however she said it many mornings for many years and even when I left home, late into my adult life upon visiting her, Mum would greet me in the morning with “Morning Glory” – I liked it! It felt like I was glorious of course! So much so that for many years I too would greet my house guests with “Morning Glory!” –

I’ve always been a bit of a joker, therefore no one thought twice about me making cheeky statements left, right and centre.

One day… while browsing the internet, goodness knows how, but I came across the actual meaning of “Morning Glory” (hand over mouth and laugh out loud – like wtf omg hahahaha)

For those of you who are also in the dark on this one…

“Morning Glory” is actually the slang term used to describe when a man wakes up with a hard and ready to go penis! Now I was pretty sure that this was not the vision my mother had each morning when she so cheerfully greeted us. #awkward

At this discovery, I laughed out loud… and carried on with my day.

It was in fact, a couple of years later that I bothered to inform my mother of my updated knowledge. You see, I received a text from my mum headed up with “Morning Glory”. Finally, I decided to ask: “Umm… Mum, do you actually know what Morning Glory means?” Then I wrote “Ask Phil.” (her partner) – About ten minutes later she texted back; “Bloody Hell, no Phil didn’t know either but we googled and now we do!! I won’t be using that again! :-P”

It’s a funny story (well I think so) and now I like to use the term more than ever… Nothing wrong with a little cheekiness.

However, this got me thinking… We learn a lot from our parents and other adults during our younger years. We soak up whatever they say as gospel. Teachers, Grandparents, even older siblings… we don’t question the truth of their opinion until we hit about 7-9 years old and our brains change.

Even if we don’t like our parents at times, we still subconsciously respect their opinion or even take on their opinions. I recall growing up never liking horses… Why? Because my Mum didn’t like horses, I had judgements of others for specific things why because that’s what my Mum thought…. Point is, we don’t even know how much we have been conditioned and just do what we do (UNTIL WE BECOME AWARE) and start to enquire and question our ways, thoughts, opinion, beliefs….

So if you think you are not good enough, too fat, stupid, un-loveable or some other negative self-talk… forget it! Change that old belief, reprogram that shit!!! You were born perfect. A little baby awaiting the journey of life – all you were was LOVE.

News flash – you still are that love, come back to yourself and start to rewrite that story or change direction.

The greatest love of all is inside of you – it always has been – come back to it! Create new thoughts, create your ideal reality.

Literature /
One for the Morning Glory

“This is not how these tales end,” Calliope said firmly.
“This is not the way that things end when they get to be tales,” Amatus said, “but since ours is not told yet, we cannot count on it. There were a hundred dead princes on the thorns outside Sleeping Beauty’s castle, and I’m sure many of them were splendid fellows.”

One for the Morning Glory is a darkly comedic fantasy novel by John Barnes. The characters are all aware that they feature in Fairy Tales, but they are quite aware that they do not know which roles they play in the stories.

The toddler Prince Amatus gets his hands on the Wine of the Gods and demonstrates that the truth of the saying, “A child who tastes the Wine of the Gods too early is only half a person afterwards.” It’s literal. The right half.

Four mysterious Companions arrive at the castle, and the novel follows Prince Amatus through his adventures in the underground goblin kingdom, the attack of a mysterious illness, and the invasion by the usurper of the neighboring kingdom.

And word play. Lots and lots of word play. The book is full of malapropisms used seriously and consistently throughout the work.

This novel includes examples of:

  • All Myths Are True: It’s lampshaded as one of the distinguishing marks of the kingdom, to distinguish it from lands that are merely actual.
  • Anachronism Stew: Used freely, and Lampshaded; when Sir John drinks tea, he thinks it’s an anachronism, but the Duke points out that such problem exists only the lands that are merely actual.
  • Damsel in Distress: Sylvie the goblin’s prisoner.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: The goblin court is explicitly described as a parody of King Boniface’s.
  • Don’t You Dare Pity Me!: Invoked: Amatus’s behavior is so erratic after Gorlias’s death that people worry that he doesn’t sit about spurning sympathy despite his otherwise melancholy behavior.
  • Dying Alone: The Duke remembers kneeling beside men he had just mortally wounded and holding their hands and assuring them in their last moments.
  • Evil Overlord: The usurper Waldo: he conquered the kingdom of Overhill and personally murdered two infant members of the royal family when it was massacred; turned Overhill into a wasteland; and set out to conquer the next kingdom with evil magic, undead, and goblin allies.
  • The Evil Prince: Part of the backstory. The kingdom of Overhill was independent because a king had sent his brother packing to an unsettled corner of the kingdom, and he had declared it an independent kingdom.
  • Fiery Redhead: Calliope.
  • Fisher King: Overhill has been reduced to a wasteland under the reign of the usurper Waldo. Queen Calliope, returning, is told that it has even become better since the usurper left to continue his conquests.
  • The Hedge of Thorns: Amatus invokes this as an analogy of their situation.
  • In Its Hour of Need: Prince Amatus has to be carried out the ruined capital by force. And his father King Boniface stays and dies.
  • Insubstantial Ingredients: The Wine of the Gods includes such things as starlight and autumn.
  • The Magnificent: Kings receive such a title posthumously. Early in the book, characters who had thought he would be King Boniface the Shrewd consider that maybe he’ll turn out King Boniface the Jolly. At the end, we have a play: “The Tragical Death of King Boniface the Good.”
  • Manly Tears: Prince Amatus weeps at Gorlias’s death.
  • Medium Awareness: The characters are aware that they are in a Fairy Tale. They are also aware that they do not know what their role in said fairy tale is, which inspires due caution.
  • Mordor: Overhill has been reduced to a wasteland under the reign of the usurper Waldo. Queen Calliope, returning, is told that it has even become better since the usurper left to continue his conquests.
  • Off with His Head!: During the first chapter the court witch, court magician, and royal nursemaid are all beheaded, their bodies dumped out the window, and their heads neatly lined up in a row by the captain of the guard for losing track of the young prince and letting him drink the Wine of the Gods. Said captain then manages to do all that to himself as well for his role in Amatus getting his hands on the Wine of the Gods.
  • Powder Keg Crowd: Prince Amatus faces such a crowd and manages to persuade them that they had come to draw matters to his attention, and that he would deal with them.
  • The Quest: All knights are supposed to go on a quest. Sir John is sent after Waldo’s heart because he had never performed a proper quest before.
  • Rags to Royalty: Calliope is secretly the princess of a neighboring country, smuggled to safety. She ends up getting herself crowned and then marrying Prince Amatus and being queen, although at one point she does wish that she could marry Amatus as just the nobleman’s daughter she passes herself off as; as a princess, the political aspects are a little obvious.
  • Riddle of the Sphinx: The Riddling Beast at the edge of the goblin kingdom asks, “What goes on four legs in the morning, shaves the barber at noon, and crosses the road in the evening, and what does it have in its pockets?” Prince Amatus correctly answers “Myself and the things that are mine” because the answer to such riddles is always “myself” — though the pockets nearly threw him. Later, they turn about the Riddling Beast so it guards the way out of the goblin kingdom — which is good, because a goblin can not easily answer a riddle whose answer is “myself and the things that are mine.”
  • Rightful King Returns: Princess Calliope returns to her native Overhill, which the usurper Waldo had seized when she was a child, and is crowned there. A Fisher King effect comes into play.
  • Royal Blood: Prince Amatus is asked to cure the sick because a prince’s touch can do that. Works, too.
  • Secret Legacy: Subverted. Calliope learned, very young, that she was the only daughter of a king to be smuggled to safety after her father’s throne was usurped. Not that that doesn’t lead to complications on its own.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Deacon Dick Thunder is a Shout-Out to Robin Hood. Indeed, the prime minister Cedric explicitly says they can draw him into certain plans because he wouldn’t miss the chance to play Robin Hood.
    • Also, the Riddling Beast’s Riddle of the Sphinx ends “And what has it got in its pockets?”
    • A ballad’s main character turns out to be not a woodcutter but a butterfly who couldn’t manage to dream of a Chinese philosopher.
    • The entire novel is a Shout-Out to the Irish folk song “One for the Morning Glory”; in fact, its chorus is the word-for-word prophecy foretelling the four people who will help restore Prince Amatus.
  • Soul Jar: They deduce that Waldo must have done this by the magical powers he gains from it; with the aid of the Riddling Beast, they track it down and destroy it.
  • Sour Supporter: They hear a ballad that ends with a young woman prisoner to the goblins, and since it’s true, and they know it, they discuss rescuing her. Gorlias is as enthusiastic as any, and characters object: he’s the oldest, he should be gravely warning them against it and talking of its dangers. Gorlias proceeds to discuss its dangers in a portentous tone, as if he had warned them off, but on the trip itself, he’s perfectly cheerful.
  • Standard Royal Court: King Boniface’s court: a Fairy Tale court with a liberal admixture of a royal court as needed by the Rule Of Whimsy.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Calliope dresses as a man. Characters pretend to be deceived. Sometimes even she forgets that she’s dressed as a man and glares at people who refer to her as male.
  • Think Nothing of It: Invoked after the Twisted Man saves Sir John and the duke.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: Highly Unpleasant Things It Is Sometimes Necessary To Know and worse, Things That Are Not Good To Know At All.
  • Troperrific: All the characters have Medium Awareness that they are in a Fairy Tale, so that tropes are invoked, lampshaded, and even relied on — but not excessively, since they don’t know for certain what their roles are.
  • Virgin Power: The goblin queen claims the goblins have raped a captive maiden. Gorlias says that would be impossible: trying to rape a pure maiden would have destroyed them.
  • War Refugees: Many arrive at the capital.
  • Wicked Witch: The witches are as capable of niceness as everyone else, but except in the rarest cases, fit the physical description perfectly.
  • You Shall Not Pass!

It’s morning glory season in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The unusual cloud formation is reasonably common towards the end of September, especially around the Burketown area. This gorgeous example (above) was posted by Burke Shire Council and shows a hang glider hovering near the cloud with the Albert River in the background. “Its that time of year again, when Burketown is visited by our magnificent Morning Glory Cloud and the cloud surfers arrive to take advantage of a ride of a lifetime,” Burke Shire Council said. The long rolling clouds often appear during spring, when cool ocean temperatures meet with warm land temperatures though the phenomenon is not fully understood by meteorologists. Morning Glories can stretch for up to 1000km and the Gulf of Carpentaria region is one of the few places they can be predicted and observed on a regular basis due to the configuration of land and sea in the area. Morning Glory clouds are usually observed from late September to early November. Catching the morning glory is a holy grail activity for glider pilots and hang gliders. Gliders look to find air going up faster than they are going down and that’s what happens in front of the cloud where there is a really strong updraft and that’s where they fly along. Gangalidda traditional owners say the morning glory was created by Walalu, the Rainbow Serpent.

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