Thursday, 8 April 2010

In the Garden: Wisteria Vine

In the recent garden parties I had at my home in Southern California, my guests fell in love with my wisteria vine.
I planted this about 8 years ago. It was simply one upright twig with a few nodes coming out, and a small set of leaves at the top end.
In terms of choosing a location for planting my wisteria, I chose one that was about 15 feet away from the house. I learned a lesson from before, as I had one planted right next to my bedroom. It was so beautiful and cascading on to the back porch, but after a couple of years, I saw some hairline cracks beginning on the exterior wall of the house. I had it removed right away.
I trained the twig to climb the wooden trellis and then it spread out and reached the wooden beam on my back porch. As the vine grows, you need a very sturdy support to hold it....thus, I had the wooden beam put up for that purpose. You can say that when I had my back yard porch made, it was designed with the wisteria vine in mind.

Wisteria blooms have somewhat of a sweet fragrance. I have the double-petaled variety, where the flowers have some white and purple parts, and a bit smaller than the single petaled ones. The blooms come out in early to mid spring, or when it starts to get sunny and warmer as it does in So. California. This year, the buds were out by early March...
in full bloom by the 3rd week of March, and lasted until Easter week.
Caring for this vine is fuss free. It likes deep, rich, moist soil, but will also survive in drier conditions. It needs to be pruned in the fall, when it looses it leaves, to keep it's growth under control, and pruning helps the roots from becoming too invasive. It does not do well in cold climates. For more information, check out the various sites about wisteria.

You, too, can have a beautiful wisteria plant in your garden! Now would be a good time to plant one. Go visit your local nursery and choose a Chinese or Japanese variety.

A "You Can Do It" project: Awning for the Backyard

I was killing at Big Lots...and got an idea, all of a sudden, as soon as I found some canvass, drop cloth for painting. I figured out a design in my head of how to make an awning in my back yard, to replace garden umbrellas, for I needed something to better protect my guests from the sun, during the gatherings I was planning to have.

Here are the requirements for this project:
Imagination to execute the awning design
4 4'x 15' canvass drop cloths (original size when bought), each re-cut to size 4' x 14', based on the distance between the roof edge and the wooden beam in my porch
A 50 foot nylon twine
4 48" dowels
10 hooks
A sewing machine
Ability to sew in straight lines
Half a day to work on the project
This is the area in my backyard I usually hold my outdoor gatherings in...and this is the area I wanted to make the awning project for - from the edge of the roof to the beam on the brick columns.
First step: fold the finished edge by 1 1/4 inches, line up the twine inside and top stitch to keep the twine in place. This side of the canvass is going to be attached to the edge of my roof. An 18 foot long twine is used for the four, top panels.

A knot is made at the beginning of the first panel and at the end of the fourth and last panel.
Second step: fold the bottom edge of the same canvass piece by 2 inches, line up with the twine and dowel, and top stitch to hold the twine and dowel in place. A 32 foot long twine was used for the bottom parts of the four panels.

A 6 inch loop is made at the beginning of the first panel, and in-between the two middle panels, and at the end of the last panel. Set your panels aside, when done, and prepare to attach the hardware outside, in this case, a total of 10 hooks.
5 hooks are attached on the side of the roof, 4 feet apart. 5 corresponding hooks are also attached to the beam atop the brick columns.
Climbing up a ladder, I hang the top panels (roof side) beginning at the center.
Then, the rest followed on that side.
After, I attached the bottom parts of the panels to the wooden beam...
leaving an opening of about 6 inches, to make room for the wisteria vine which is in full bloom. As you can see, the loops that were made on the bottom parts of the panels were secured to the hooks on the wooden beam.

And here is the finished project.

All set for the outdoor gathering...table is set up with appropriate protection from the sun. After, you can take down the awning panels, fold and store until the next party...or, you can leave them there all spring and summer long.

This was a project under $50.00, very functional, and truly easy to make! You can make something similar to this. Just be sure to think it through. You can do it!


Related Posts with Thumbnails