Tag Archives: trellis

April Garden Improvements

In between building the future rabbit colony housing, I’ve found time to make a few decorative improvements to the garden.  Over the last year, I’ve been adding more and more food-producing trees, shrubs, and plants to the chicken’s yard. And finally, it’s beginning to green out.

They will have blackberries, jostaberries, seaberries, mulberries, apples, currants, grapes, roses, oregon grape, and various other plants and herbs. I’m also working on building them grazing beds, with edible greens underneath.

These two are planted with red clover. once the greens grow up high enough to reach up to the wire, the chickens will be able to pick at them – without being able to kill them by either digging or over-grazing. I need to get more finished, with kale and wheatgrass, and other tasty things.

The south facing stone patio next to our house, while wonderfully warm in early spring, is way too hot at the height of summer. To cool it down a little, I’ve built trellises, and plan to grow green beans up them to provide food and a little shade.

And my personal favorite, that makes me happy every time I see it: a mirror, at the end of one of the garden paths!

It adds the illusion of more space, and more life to the garden. I wish these pictures could fully capture it.

Spring is such a wonderful time of year. Green is such a lovely color, after all that winter….

Kiwi & Grape Trellises; also Roses.

Remember last post I said it was too early for roses?  I eat my words.  This is Simplicity.  She is pretty, but she’s lucky she’s well established where she is and grows well, because otherwise I’d uproot her in favor of a different variety.  She has one fatal flaw: she has no scent.  I would never buy a scentless rose now, but this was one of my first rose purchases – before I understood the marvels of Old Roses.  Seriously, Old Roses are the best garden plants ever.  They have hardly any disease (the oldest ones have zero disease.  Zero.)  They have a history.  (I’ve mentioned my newest rose “Semi-Plena” which is the White Rose of York.)  They have gorgeous shapes and colors and SCENT.  Hybrid Teas, bah.

Here’s one of my old roses.  This is Wild Spice.  She has single petals, but she blooms non-stop and has a wonderful spicy fragrance.  She also blooms long before most roses have anything other than tight little buds.

But the real reason I took the camera out into the garden was to show you how the new grape and hardy kiwi trellises turned out.

One the left are two varieties of grape.  Einset and Vanessa.  On the right, are the two hardy kiwis.  You have to grow both a male and female plant in order to have fruit.

To make the trellises, we pounded metal stakes into the ground, then arched hog panels between them and wired them into place.  Hog panels are wonderful things.  They come in different lengths and opening sizes, and are tremendously sturdy.  Plus you can scare the neighbors by letting them think you’re getting a few hogs to compliment your chickens!

They need to be sturdy, for the kiwi.  Hardy kiwi are very strong, and will happily and voraciously tear apart most regular trellises.  The kiwi are already growing by leaps and bounds – since we brought them home, they have already grown about six inches!  I can’t wait until they produce fruit.  They are about 30% sweeter than the fuzzy kiwi you buy in supermarkets.  The only reason the sell the (inferior) fuzzy ones in stores is because the hardy kiwi fruit doesn’t keep or travel well.

And lastly, I went to a plant fair today and bought a couple of perennials, a black currant, and three nasturtium plants.  They are a new variety (Flame Thrower Scarlet), and so pretty!  Everywhere I went in the plant fair, people kept stopping me to comment on their striking beauty.  Hopefully they will self-seed like my other common variety, and I’ll have them in the yard forever.  I love to mingle nasturtiums with my vegetables.  They look pretty there, and since they are themselves an edible plant, it’s nice to be able to add a few leaves or flowers to the salad you’re gathering.