The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Vines and Trees - Another Form of Vertical Gardening

Boston Ivy, U. of Chicago building.

Having 200 linear feet of chain-link fencing certainly made me think of vertical gardening - peas, beans, gourds, pumpkins, and Malabar spinach.  Our six trees also encourage vertical gardening.

Long ago, my initial effort did not work out, growing a vine up a tree. I made a rookie mistake, thinking one vine and one tree would equal a vine-covered tree.

The first step is to begin planting the vine where it will have a good base for roots to grow, farther away from the tree, and where more sunlight will reach at first.

Boston Ivy (really Japanese - and a grape) has an interesting characteristic. The vine grows fast in the shade because it looks for sunlight and heads toward it. Someone from Harvard saw it growing in Japan and brought it to Harvard. Yale liked the look and added it to its buildings, now cursing the day they copied their rival. Boston Ivy is great for birds and old crumbling structures, but it is terribly invasive and destructive for buildings.

The Ivy League was started as a football association, so the more scholarly students could play their peers instead of the brutes in the South and Big 10 universities.

Boston Ivy is not on my list, and I already have English Ivy on the front of the house, inherited from a previous renter.

Trumpet Vine is one of several hummingbird plants I will grow as living feeders.

My first choice is Trumpet Vine, because we grew it at home in Moline. I remember mowing the lawn and seeing the plants coming up, never reaching another location, but doing well on our tiny garage. When we tore the vines down to paint the garage, the vines grew back fast, because the roots were well established in that location.

I began in the fall by covering the base of the dead tree, alive with crabgrass, with Jackson mulch: newspapers to compost the crabgrass, wood mulch to hold down the newspapers and promote fungi in the soil. Much later, a new supply of newspapers meant an enlarged circle and all the wet autumn leaves we could gather. The rain fell for several days afterwards - composters' weather.

The dead tree is a few feet from the compost pile, my earthworm dormitory and cafeteria. I will choose spot where the soil is deep, plant one or two vines, and fence around it until the vine is established. The advantage of a pre-mulched area is having a fertile and protected zone to plant, where the new project will have an easy time getting established, with moisture moderated by mulch.

Gardening companies and books have all kinds of gadgets to deliver water to plants outside. I use mulch to hold water and slowly add nutrition to the soil.

I am not sure which vines to try in the future, so ideas from the readers are welcome. I have thought about Maypop or Passion Flower.

Maypop or Passion Flower.