How do we create the future? I look to the past. When this garden of mine nudges me to the next level, I think of old times and old constructions. Why I look at what I look at or feel motivated to change what I change is a matter of inspiration, and I go with the flow. Presently, the nudges are coming from weeds, algae and the grape vine.
(1) weeds. The veggie garden floor is a vast tangle of uncontrolled weeds. It has become impossible to walk without being touched, and I hate that. (2) too much algae in the fish pond. I can hardly see the fish. The fish pond needs a sun blocking cover to retard algae. (3) the temporary metal trellis supporting the grape vine looks ridiculous. I need to build a solid worthy arbor. So I am seeing weeds, algae and weakness. Hmm. I will reflect on that.
Another Mistress would see other problems, be called in other directions, and create other solutions. This is what makes for our diverse, rich and stable world. Each of us is buzzing about on our own private missions. Nothing fills me with more joy than opening my mind to the hum of my garden and seeing where the light falls as I ask, Lord, light my path.
Pictured above is the first arbor I built, and I must say, I am impressed. I built it as a rough draft, to see what would be suitable. My Dad sat in a chair and directed. We argued, and laughed. Each post is a 4×4 rough hewn pine, eight feet tall. They are tied together with 2x4s, and then the whole thing is topped with 1x2s. The posts are free standing and not footed.
I trained the wild vine to grow up one post, with an intention to allow it to grow only on the top, so the grapes could hang down toward where people were sitting in the shade. It turned out that the vine gre so fast, I could never figure out how to prune it. and when it grew up and over the South side, I decided I liked it.
These were Concord Grapes, good in a jelly with lots and lots of sugar. Children are not bothered at all by the sour fruit. Now as an adult, I can bit just a bit of the outside grape and enjoy the rich Concord flavor. LL’s Dad popped one in his mouth and had to spit it out quickly. For an unsuspecting grown-up, the flavor can be quite a shock.
I am not interested in getting involved with vast amounts of sugar, so I never harvested the grapes. But the birds loved them, and the scent so heavy in the air was intoxicating, and lasted for weeks. The best past of the grape arbor was the shade. It was a constant draw. We started out with the Blue Adirondacks, and then shifted to the glider.
The vine is now eight inches in diameter, which I think looks so cool. It bends into a seat for a small child, maybe LL. The arbor has tipped over several times. Once, I just tipped it back up again. A second time, Lee came and added bracing. But when it went down two years ago in a winter storm, there was nothing to do but cut it all away and cart it off to recycling.
Last year I had to provide something for the vine to climb on, so I stuck a flimsy metal three legged dome, which is okay, but really feels too small when you try and enjoy sitting underneath it.
Here is an old photo in summer. Through the arbor, see sweet corn, zucchini, fennel, asparagus fern, tomatoes, crook neck squash, okra, and so much more. The black tarp is my way of killing weeds. The metal gizmo aloft was given to me. It hung from a crossbar and twirled in a zephyr.As it spun, it shot shafts of light, like fairies darting in the shade. It lasted for years. I have the pieces, and intend to get it repaired. It is part of the magic.