Learning about fences and vines

Tue, 05/02/2006 - 12:39pm
By: Michael Boylan

Several years ago my friends, Pat and Danielle, were on a television program called “Rally Round the House.” They were part of the crew that surprised some friends of ours, Dino and Melissa, with a brand new backyard. Sabine and I TiVo’ed the program and have watched it several times. One of the projects that caught my eye in the program was a living fence and I always said that I would like to do that at my house.

One of the hosts of the show took down the old, cruddy fence and put in new fence posts and a metal lattice type structure. The fence stretched out 40 feet and the crew of neighbors then took vine plants that had aleady begun to grow and wound them up through the fence. The host encouraged them to go in different directions. He added that within a year or two, the vines would cover the entire fence and, depending on the plants, would bloom throughout the year.

So, now we have to choose the lattice-y type fence and the vines we want. We didn’t get out this weekend to choose because of our son’s first birthday and the fact that we had a cold or flu spread through our house for the last week and half.

There are dozens of different fences to choose from and I am leaning more towards a wood than a metal but the cost will help me decide. As for vines, a Japanese Honeysuckle would work well, as the area gets very litte sun, but I will also be looking for some Boston Ivy, which has been called an unstoppable grower, a Green Monster if you will. In my research, I have also found a lot of Clematis vines. While a lot of them don’t grow very high, they do have a variety of flowers that bloom at different times of the year.

As for progress on my lawn, I have stayed on top of it with the lawn mower. Once I added my iPod to the mix, it became a fun experience. I use those noise blocker headphones and slip my iPod headphones beneath so I don’t have to blow out my eardrums to listen to the music. What could be better than listening to the Grateful Dead sing “Good Lovin’,” while mowing over patches of unkempt grass and weeds? It’s been fun and as I drive around my yard, I get more ideas of what I need to do next.

For instance, last year Sabine and I had set up two, window box type things to go on our front stoop. This year, despite having some clover growing in there, there are no flowers. I think this would be a perfect, small start to enhancing the curb appeal of our house.

Another project I’d like to re-establish is a vegetable garden that Sabine had going two years ago. She built a container to house a small vegetable patch but too much sunlight killed the veggies. We’ll move it elsewhere and get it going again.

I’m hoping to do more as the sports season closes down and I have a little more free time. To make sure that I keep this promise to myself, I will keep a blog on our Web site, www.thecitizen.com, and update it on Sunday evenings. I’ll add pictures to the site on Mondays.

Please continue to send me your tips and advice. I appreciate your help and well-wishes.

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