Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lawn and Garden Check-in, 2012

I think I've talked before about our desire to do some facade greening on our very sunny western exposure, partly for visual interest but mostly as a way to help keep things cooler inside the house. 
Here's the Kee-Klamp Trellis I reported about last Fall.  I'm happy to report the  grape vines planted there survived the winter and are growing with gusto in this very, very tough spot:
grape vine on kee klamp trellis
I'm still hoping to get some kind of roof bit added to that trellis one of these days.

Farther down that west wall and going strong for a little over a year are our hops vines.  I chose hops (these are the variety "Cascade", and yes hops as in what is used to brew beer) because they're a super hardy perennial, they grow fast, they play nice with building facades and look good AND they die back to the ground in the Fall leaving the wall clear to soak up the Winter sun.  Oh, and maybe a little bit because I can use them to make beer if I become so inclined someday. 
So I planted these as nothing but dirty, sad looking little rhizomes last Spring and Boy gave them each a rope to grow up on.  They did marvelously, but as with the grapes, the true test of plant will is surviving our intense MN winters.  Well, survive they did.  Here's what they looked like early this Spring, when we were celebrating their hardy (or hearty :) ) and successful return:
hops vine
And here's what we've got two months later:
hops vines june 2012
They're sending up new shoots like crazy and the longest of the vinelets are already snaking up well beyond the top of the parapet (about 15").  With any luck we'll have something bushy and full enough that it makes some significant shade in another year or two.  And big props to Boy for that awesome string art trellis. I teased him a little for being an overachiever when he gave me his proposal, but in this case leaving him to be the boss was a total win.  I guess I need to adjust to the new Creative Gardener Boy. The fun part is watching his engineer brain trying to cope with the randomness of nature and gardening and learning to accept that those damn vines grow according to their rules rather than his.

And then, I think the shed is finally final.  For real.
shed furnished
A bit of furniture at long last makes for a shady, peaceful little spot for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.  I dug those lanterns someplace out of the internet last Fall.  They are solar, and they're not bright but still pretty awesome looking at night.
Overall, I could not be more pleased with the whole package back there--except for the "lawn" that is.  More on that crazy subject next time.