Saturday, October 06, 2012

Thinking about vines

It's been so hot here most of the week that I've stayed inside (ugh), watching the garden through the glass. Plant leaves curled up and died while I watched.  It was 100 degrees in the grove at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday. Even writing about gardening takes almost too much effort...

At the family reunion, I admired the two story vine growing on my cousin Marianne's house. When I said I loved vines, she replied,"So do I. I like it when you go into an office and you see the twining end of a vine coming around a corner and your eye follows it along and it goes over an office partition, on top of a storage cabinet, behind a utility table, over a water cooler and finally you spot a little 4" pot with a scraggly stem coming out of it on somebody's credenza."  No vine is too small or insignificant for Marianne's admiration.

Here's her two story house vine...

This is no straggly little vine. It's actually lifting tiles and damaging the roof. Not only does Marianne have beautiful landscaping but she also tends to thousands of grape vines at Pretty Penny Vineyard. She's a Master Gardener and knows what she's doing.

Our vine attempts pale by comparison, but one success is the snail vine which went crazy in the heat. Graduating from a 1 gallon pot a scant six months ago, it tries to dive down and back into the air conditioner. We have to keep pulling it out and encouraging it to go forward. As contradictory as it may sound, it's job is to grow upward and cover up the down spout. Maybe it's all too confusing for the poor thing. "Think Up!", I yell at it as I walk by.

I don't know if "string of pearls" is considered a succulent vine or  not. It thrives in a couple of pots with Mother-in-Law's tongue. I think the Mother-in-Law likes the jewellery. My interest in photography effects (using Lunapic recently) has been revived because my photography skills seem to be deteriorating;  no patience for attending to necessary details. Posterizing partially makes up for the lack of focus and weakness of composition.

The passion fruit grows amazingly fast, lassoing the fence as it goes. The lassos are aimed at particularly good sturdy anchor spots, like at the X where two pieces of wire fencing meet.  It lashes round and round and round. We're eating the passion fruit slathered over our grapefruit halves in the morning. It's a good combination.

Instant gratification comes from the morning glories. They have no directional problems, growing pretty well straight up, but they could use some improvement in the architecture of their understructure.  Some of them are almost mushroom shaped with bare stems in the middle which pull the vine up the fence and then a big poof of growth blossoms out at the top.


Bees are gleeful in the coral vine. You can hear the buzz 10 feet away and I can barely get in there to take a picture. The twining shoots on this thing are just a crazy tangle. Like a vine on drugs, it's heavy headed and doesn't seem to have any sort of plan. The shoots go out and twist around themselves, ignoring opportunities to clamp on nearby. They remind me of Barbara's spider webs on drugs.

I planted six soybeans in this spot. They were attacked by grasshoppers early on and I forgot about them. Next time I looked these morning glory vines were growing in the same spot. I guess the seeds were carried in with the soy beans. They're growing at a tremendous rate around the supports I put in for the kiwi plant, now almost engulfed.

Best of all are the dwarf bougainvillas stretching out over the wall and blooming with gusto. Dwarf in size maybe but boy, they work hard. I'd given these all up for lost after last winter when they died back and looked all washed up.
But they've resurrected and seem full of joie de vivre even in this stifling heat.

It's a really good day to watch the trailer Nancy posted for "Nanook of the North". It's here in case you are broiling wherever you are today.



  1. My gosh. You're absolutely vine crazy. Makes me want to go and plant some vines in my garden. I don't think I have any.
    Yes, the perfect time to view Nanook.

  2. Your plants are so beautiful and strong! Here in Italy it's already autumn...