Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Here is a great idea for an instant trellis that is actually used in England on large estate gardens. Chains and ropes make wonderful supports for vines, especially vines that twine, such as grape and Virginia Creeper. The chains are inexpensive to buy, cheap to install, can be clipped anywhere and hang with a graceful drape.
We had grape and Virginia Creeper vines growing under our deck, and they were always trailing and twining their way up the railing, the stairs, etc. So instead of fighting them, I got some medium weight chain and attached it to the house on one end, and the upright support of the deck on the other end. Then, I bought 3 shorter lengths of the same chain, and some clips to attach them, and hung the smaller pieces of chain down off the one hung horizontally over the deck, sort of like a chain curtain. The bottoms of the vertical chains didn't need to be attached to anything, as they hung down slightly past the deck framing, plenty close to where the vines could be brought up to get them started up the chains.
Since we needed a little privacy behind our deck bench, this severed as a soft, light-filtering curtain as the vines grew up the chains. Some vines we allowed to cross to the chain next to it, creating a slight , woven curtain of green. The morning light illuminated the living curtain from behind, giving the whole deck area not only the privacy we desired, but the lush freshness of a living, softly swaying privacy curtain of green.
Check out these pictures, and see if there is somewhere around your house you can turn those twining vines into shade or a privacy screen for you to enjoy.
The possibilities are endless, and a whole patio or deck could be shaded this way.
In England, they use ropes and chains as swag supports for climbing roses. Honeysuckle would work nicely as well. We went with what was growing naturally, and next year I may plant a lovely Clematis to join the "curtain club" of climbers.
The best thing about this is no lumber, no nails, screws, sawing. Just measure your distances, go to the hardware store, get some chain, clips, and you are good to go!
Just one little thing; make sure your chain is attached to something secure so your beautiful living trellis doesn't pull your siding off, or break a too light chain. My chain had a 220# load rating, so it should hold grape vine with ease.