Friday, June 26, 2009

Growing up the wall

Our latest big project is to get some greenery on the giant blank wall that dominates the front of our house. Luckily we have befriended a couple of very talented architects that have landscaping ideas and knowledge gallore. The basic steps are 1) figuring out what can grow in the area, which means taking into account the position of the sun, the amount of light that hits the roots and the leaves, and what type of weather you have. 2) what will your vine need to grow on to be happy? Some vines like creeping fig simply stick to the wall, but most other vines need a trellis system.

I selected a variety of honeysuckle because, most importantly, I think its pretty and it smells nice. It also is suppose to grow like a bat outta hell and be almost impossible to kill. It's also evergreen, and not terribly heavy. It needs moderate light and moderate water, both of which I could offer a new vine.

Picking out pretty green things is always an easy task. The trellis, not so easy. Colin, the brains behind this project, suggested chain link fence attached to the wall. It could be painted to match the house and would be cheap. His tastes run more industrial than mine and I compromised with a plastic coated upscale chicken wire type fencing- home depot 50' for $50. Getting the fencing attached to a wall that reached 28 or so feet up in the air proved a bit tough. We (and by we I mean my husband and Colin) used a drill with a masonry bit to get through the stucco. The screw into the wall needed to have about 1/2 inch space between the head and the wall. This is because the trellis needed to be about a half inch off the wall enabling the plant's tendrils to weave in and out. Adding a stand-off to the screw, basically a little metal straw, served this purpose perfectly. I'll post some pictures and if you have any questions about the drill, drill bit, or standoff just let me know.

The last piece of luck came from our neighbors who happened to have their house painted at this time. The painters let us borrow their 24 foot ladder and we got the trellis up in about an hour and a half. Now, I just hope I don't manage to kill the honey suckle . . .

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