The Unexpected Hardiness of Grape Vines

Grapevine September 2015

My brother Michael and I devoted the entire month of April 2014 to demolishing my dilapidated carport and custom-building a brand new garden shed.

One of the more troubling moments during that month-long process involved pulling a fifteen-year-old grapevine off the rickety trellis that the vine envelops every year, and bungie-cording this venerable vine to another tellis nearby – in the opposite direction the gravpevine had always grown in.

Traumatizing the grapevine proved unavoidable, as we needed to clear enough leg-and-ladder room for Michael to construct the shed’s front wall and install its front doors.

At the time, I felt sure that my brutal mangling of the grapevine might’ve fatally injured it, especially since I needed to leave the vine hog-tied for several months afterwards, until I finally got around to replacing the old metal trellis over the entrance with a much larger, much sturdier custom-built wooden trellis.

Well, I need not have fretted.

As you can see from the photo, the grapevine returned this spring as usual, and is busily clambering over the new garden shed’s tin roof (as well as covering the new trellis). I couldn’t feel more relieved!

I’m hoping next spring will bring a similar rebound/recuperaton for the Carolina Jasmine vine I planted so long ago on the other side of the new trellis – and likewise bungie-corded away from its normal growing pattern. Usually the first thing in my garden that blooms (usually in February!), the Carolina Jasmine – which I had planted in my yard because I liked the ones Michael had festooning the deck alongside one of his former houses – didn’t blossom much this year. It has clearly survived the shed-building, but not as obviously – at least this first post-construction growing season – as the grapevine did.

I have high hopes for next February, however. I’ve always ejoyed watching the Jasmine and the grapevine grow toward each other every spring over the trellis tha frames the shed’s main entrance. They end up mingling together to provide plenty of welcome shade for that part of the shed – as, alas, my wonderful garden shed, despite its numerous other virtues, is not air conditioned.

Stay tuned for more gardening reports! The recent cooler weather is perfect for some long-postponed weeding, and as soon as I post this I’m getting out there and getting started. What with all the weeds that grew up during the summer, I can barely distinguish any longer the separately-potted two dozen plants in my recently-expanded herb garden, and the two Italian Cypress trees I planted a few months ago have been engulfed by yet more weeds.

A gardener’s work – especially any gardener without a Staff – is never done…and that’s at least partly A Good Thing. At least my little garden is a little one!


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