With 7 foot tall arbors surrounding the garden we needed vines. Vines to enclosed the back garden and create “walls”. I have some twenty different hardy vines growing somewhere in the garden. Some are the same vines, different varieties. I have 5 different kinds of grapes, 3 different trumpet honey suckle varieties, several clematis, polygonum aubertii, a bright pink and lavender perennial pea, Virginia Creeper, Campis radicans and hops and more. Annual morning glories and scarlet runner beans are on a window arch.
To the right you can see grapes. Right in the corner is a hops and blended in to the left is some Virginia Creeper. The Virginia Creeper turns a pretty shade of red in the fall. The hops grow rampant. One of my hops vines last year wound it way up a tree. As the vine ages it grows a thick trunk, maybe about 3” diameter and it takes some serious digging to remove it. The hops flowers a dry papery cone like flower that later falls and can be messy. They are fun to look at as they cling to the vine, staying all through winter.
Notice the large seed pods on the campis radicans This picture is taken from outside my fence. The dried up pods below the trumpet vine are from a lavender colored perennial pea. You can also make out some of the details of the top of the arbor that enclose the yard.
Grapes have come to dominate the back garden. Last year I started removing the Hops and Virginia Creeper vines.
So what characteristics keep me in love with a vine? They all do have their uses. Here are some things I have discovered about vines:
1. Perennial vines like Grapes, Virginia Creepers, Dutchman's Pipes and Silver Lace vine green up on old wood giving you immediate walls in spring.
2. Hops grow really, really fast! We once measured a hops stem growing 6” in one day! Hops have irritating little hairs on the undersides of their leaves. Giving some persons including myself a rash. They grow a thick trunk and take some work to remove. And, very important to know is that they follow the sun as they grow. So they will not cover an arbor if they are planted in the wrong place. They will grow straight up and intertwine with each other and fall towards the sun.
3. Flowering vines also like to face their flowers to the sun. So plant them so they face into your yard, not the neighbors.
4. Trumpet vines seeds drop and easily sprout. The sprouts go deeply into the soil, making them a serious weed. Also the stems of the trumpet vine are sharp and brittle. Yes, they can poke your eye out. I trim them high, after almost being poked in the eye. Ouch! A plus for this vine is that the humming birds do love it and it stands upright like a little tree, instead of twinning like a vine. Since I don’t use herbicides, I don’t think I could eradicate this vine if I tried. I can only imagine how deep the roots go.
5. Some vines have seeds and fruits. Robins love the grapes and berries of the Virginia Creeper. Grapes need to be harvested. We pick about 100 pounds of grapes. That's a lot of grapes. Fortunately, I have friends who will take most of the grapes. The birds get their share. You always know when the grapes are ready to pick. You can tell by the purple poop! Fortunately, I love to walk around the back yard early in the morning with a water hose.