Team Osh Guest Blogger Paul Lee Cannon:
“Vines lend vertical visual excitement to an outdoor living space. Vine-covered structures such as trellises or arbors are key to vertical gardening, a trend that has fully taken root over the past few years and shows no signs of slowing down because of its solution in providing more room to grow (up!), particularly in smaller urban spaces.
The window of my home office from which I’m writing this post overlooks the backyard. Since spring has sprung, I notice that the vine activity is in full force. Bright pale-pink clusters of Jasminum polyanthum (pink jasmine) spill over fences. A Roger’s California grape (Vitis ‘Roger’s Red’) clings to the perimeter of the deck, shiny new lime-green foliage glistening in the sun, and countless tendrils looking to latch onto anything in their path. Climbing roses I’m growing in large pots are covered in buds on the verge of blossoming. I envision by summer they’ll be clinging to the deck railing to mingle with the grape, ultimately resulting in a harmonious tangle of fruit, flowers and foliage.
Whether your outdoor living space has ample room for a grape to run wild or is limited to gardening in containers, one of these three climbers can help make it beautiful. Ready to grow up? Let’s grow!
Jasminum polyanthum (Pink Jasmine),
USDA hardiness zones 8-10 – There’s a reason – actually several reasons – why jasmine is so popular. This evergreen garden classic boasts showy, incredibly fragrant, pinkish-white flowers spring through summer; thrives in sun or part shade; and grows fast – up to 25 feet long. Plant in rich, well-draining soil although it can tolerate less-favorable soils. When planting in the ground, water regularly until the vine’s established, which will become evident by emergence of new growth. From that point on it requires only occasional irrigation. If growing jasmine in a pot (preferably large enough to establish a substantial root system), apply a top layer of mulch to retain moisture and feed regularly with a granular fertilizer. Train up a trellis or arbor or even use as a groundcover. If it rambles a little too much for you, just give jasmine a good snip. She won’t mind.
Vitis vinifera (Common Grape),
USDA hardiness zones 7-10 – Growing a grape vine is easy-peasy if you have a reliably sunny spot, a sturdy structure for it to latch onto, and the space for it to quickly wander (Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, for instance, can grow 10-20 feet in a year). Water regularly, especially during heat spells, and it’ll grow vigorously. The fruit emerges in summer, ripening in fall, followed by a stunning show of blazing red foliage into the colder months.
I haven’t ventured into winemaking (at least not yet) with harvests from the wild grape I’ve been growing the past several years, but I have made some delicious juice. Last summer, I reduced watering quite a bit, and what fruit emerged I let the birds and squirrels have at it. When the leaves fall off come autumn (grape is deciduous) collect and press them between the pages of a book, or do as I do and place a leaf at the bottom of a pot before planting. It’s a perfectly sustainable, economical way of preventing soil from escaping.
Rosa sp. (Rose varieties),
USDA hardiness zones vary widely – I used to write off roses as being too thorny (ouch!) and fussy, but after an inspiring, senses-blowing visit to the 15-acre Rose Story Farm in Carpinteria, CA last spring, I pulled on a pair of thicker gloves and decided to give them a second chance. Since I lack the space for them in my front garden, which receives the most sunlight, I am experimenting with several rose varieties (including a few climbers) in large pots on the deck, which gets zapped a few hours at a time by afternoon sun.
After the generous rain we’ve received in the Bay Area the past few months, my roses are all robust with foliage and, as of this writing, on the verge of bursting into bloom. An English friend who can grow roses with her eyes closed advised regular feedings of alfalfa pellets. I took heed of her tip and as a result, my container rose garden is responding quite beautifully and healthfully. But enough about my roses, let’s talk about one for your garden. Rosa banksiae (Lady Banks Rose – USDA zones 6-9; evergreen in mild climates) is a classic, easy-care, thornless variety – I repeat, thornless. Give full sun plus regular watering and fertilizer, and you’ll be rewarded with a showstopping spray of miniature, fluffy, butter-yellow blooms and lush, deep-green foliage in spring and summer. Take note that Lady Banks can grow 15-20 feet long – so be sure and give her her space.”