February 1, 2012

Hops on Strings

Golden Hops Vine
I made a mistake with this vine.  Oh, it's healthy, and it grows, and it did what it was supposed to do, but not what I wanted it to do.  My mistake.

This is the first of the month, when Joene sponsors GOOPs, or Gardening Oops.  You can go to her blog to see more.

My oops involved a complete failure on my part to execute a design I had seen in a public garden.  It's not the first time something got lost in translation.

I wanted a particular look and design element in this corner of the front garden.  This hops vine, Humulus lupulus 'Aurea', was the answer. 

Originally I had a small white-flowering clematis here on a wooden rose trellis.  The space is just a wall with a drain pipe and no redeeming features.  Very little room between the wall and the other plants, so something upright and tall was called for.  A vine.

The clematis was a viticella variety that scrambled to only 8 feet, and made a pleasing open shape as it wandered up off the trellis and onto the downspout.  Elegant and arching, shapely but unfussy, a nice little bit of contrasting elements.  And such pretty flowers.

The original clematis growing on this wall

       It was perfect in that spot.

           So of course I moved it.

What I planted in its place was a mistake.  I put in a golden hops vine that is well documented to grow rambunctiously to 20 feet or more.  And I knew that.  I knew it would grow that big.

It dies back to the ground but regrows its happy looking golden foliage each season with exuberance.  I knew it needed more than the wobbly wooden trellis, so I put it on a steel structure that was a little taller.  A little taller.

By September it looked like this, all humped over and massed on top of itself trying to find something more to grow on. 
Nope.  Not what I was going for.
The leaves have a nice shape and light color, but not the golden hue I expected.  I never saw any hops bracts, but they might be in there inside the dense foliage, along with small mammals and yard tools.

Why did I remove such a pretty, perfectly sized flowering clematis and put in this big clumpy hops vine?

In my defense, I had an image in mind.

I saw this at The Cloisters Museum & Gardens in New York, where brewery hops grew in long trains up to the tiled eaves of the arched wall.
Hops vines in the kitchen garden at The Cloisters
That's what I had in mind.  Why these grand, elegant hops towers inside a medieval stone monastery cloister didn't translate well to the squat metal trellis on my vinyl-sided garage wall, I just don't know. 

But here's what I plan to do.  The steel trellis will be removed and next spring I will tie multiple long string cords all the way up the wall to the gutter, just like the Cloisters picture shows.  The hops vine can enthusiastically grow along the strings to the garage roofline, hopefully in the graceful pyramid shape I want.

A blank slate and a design plan for this wall.  Future oops.

Then next summer when the whole effect is a tangle of confused foliage, buckled gutter, and snapped string supports, I'll post another Gardening Oops to show you how that worked out for me.

25 comments:

  1. You are so funny. I hope it works this time. Third times the charm as they say.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lisa! Let's hope.

      Delete
  2. I like your plan, Laurrie, but what happened to the clematis?

    Thanks for joining the GOOPs party. So your readers know, my GOOPs post this month is courtesy of the National Wildlife Federation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joene, the clematis was moved to the back patio where I could enjoy the downward facing pretty blooms right up close from my seat on the patio. Like all clematis, it resented the move, did nothing last year and sulked. I'm hoping it has settled in and will be its normal pretty self in 2012.

      Delete
    2. Looking forward to the photos.

      Delete
  3. I had worse happen. I planted in in the country, hoping to cover part of an fight foot tall deer fence, planted in my heavy wet clay. It just died. Maybe in the city garden but, as you say, it may be too rambunctious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. James, I can't believe yours up and died. It seems (to me) to be a rampant grower despite neglect and abuse, but each garden is so different. Plants really are the strangest creatures.

      Delete
  4. I am so thankful you make garden oopses--your descriptions never fail to crack me up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I am glad my misfortunes and disasters provide some amusement : ) I will continue to make more oopses, that's for sure. Just stay tuned.

      Delete
  5. Laurrie, I sure hope you have better luck with your hops vine than I did when I relocated mine. It looked even worse than in the old spot and finally had the good sense to disappear.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lee, you are the second commenter to note that hops did not grow for you. I am beginning to look like a genius growing it so well. Although certainly not a design genius, that's clear.

      Delete
  6. Can I second Heather's comment that your gardening oopses are so wonderfully described they never fail to put a smile on my face. Cheers to experimenting in the garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marguerite, I'm happy I put a smile on your face. Experimenting makes for lots of mistakes, but lots of fun.

      Delete
  7. Laurrie, I enjoy your blog so much that I want to give you a Versatile Blogger Award. I've announced the award and linked to you on this post, which also has instructions on passing the award on if you wish to:

    http://theamateurweeder.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/surprise-from-becky.html

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love your line "so of course I moved it". I've done that so many times! I've had cleamtis climb fishing line before, which worked great til the line broke. But I probably should have used line that was designed to catch marlin instead of goldfish. :o)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Lyn and Tammy:
    I am so honored that you both selected my blog for the Versatile Blogger Award!

    I did this meme last year, so I'll opt out of it this time, but I wanted you to know how much I appreciate your readership, your wonderful comments, and your thinking of me as a versatile blogger, despite all my gardening goofs : )

    Thanks much.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The hops look like a vigorous grower and I would watch it getting into the gutter. I do like the look at the cloister though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Donna, the hops are already eyeing the gutter and just wondering how they'll get up there and get in!

      Delete
  11. I'm still chuckling over that last line--after all, you'll need another GOOPs next year, right?:) I hope the pretty clematis found another home in your garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rose, the clematis did find a better home where I could see it closer and every day. So that part worked out ok (so far. . . )

      Delete
  12. My favourite line: "It was perfect in that spot. So of course I moved it." Thanks for a great laugh as I've done that many times.
    Sharon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sharon, I'm so glad to know I am not alone in my misguided plant moves!

      Delete
  13. Well, it's not Wisteria so maybe the carnage won't be so bad. ;) I'ge seen Hops growing on a tripod at the NCBG and it is a beautiful wine.

    ReplyDelete
  14. PS I'm not sure one gets past planting something that gets too large on too small of a trellis. Or at least I haven't. Lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sweetbay, I can't win. My hops vine outgrew its structure in one short season. My climbing hydrangea has taken six years to barely approach the top of a pergola I want it to cover.

      Delete

Sorry about requiring code verification -- I experimented with turning it off to make commenting easier, and I got too much spam. Thanks for taking the time to comment, and to type in silly codes. I appreciate hearing from you.