Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Training days

If watching grass grow is just a bit too slow-paced for your frisky, modern tastes, try watching passionfruit in action – they're way faster. I've blogged about my little project of covering an ugly brick wall with a passionfruit vine here, back in late November, when I planted the seedling. I called that post 'Love Me Tendril' and would you believe I was again humming that silky soft Elvis Presley tune, 'Love Me Tender', when I was taking the snaps for this blog posting this morning? I think the modern term for such a tune is an 'ear worm', a horrible name for something quite benign. I love me tendrils.

And so a tendril photo it is, to begin proceedings. I love the
way climber tendrils work. They have an intelligence to them,
too. They move around like a blind person feeling with their hands
for objects to cling to, then coil tightly round their 'gotcha' find.

This is how it all looks this morning, which is
fairly good growth without being spectacular.
Once the vine made it to about one metre high
(and that took a while) the sunshine on that upper
part of the wall lasts all day long and so it has really
grown quickly in recent weeks. In my previous post
on passionfruit I showed the rectangle of stout wires
attached to the wall to train the vine along. The idea
is, as with many flowering climbers, including roses,
to train the arms of the climber horizontally. This
should promote better flowering (or that's the theory). 

The wires are stout and mostly set out horizontally. Masonry
wall bolts with eyelet rings hold everything firmly in place.

There are diagonal wires crossing through the middle of the
framework to provide a good infill of lush green wall-cover.

The top corners of the framework are a jostle
of wires passing through the wall bolts' rings. 

Here and there I've used wire ties to tell the
vine "I want you to grow in this direction" and
the amazing thing with tendrils and vines is that
they seem to sense what I want. Though they
are heading vertically for the sky, once I tie
them down horizontally they seem to say "I can
take a hint" and off they zoom horizontally.

Finally, the plant itself is lush, lovely and tropically green,
loving its first summer in Sydney. I'm hoping that big ugly brick
wall will be a heat sink in winter, as it gets full winter sun and
should keep the vine sufficiently warm, even in July and August.

Don't think that's the last of the passionfruit postings here, either folks. I'll be out of control once I get a macro lens on those amazing passionfruit flowers, and I am fairly convinced that I have native bees, including blue banded bees, living in the many gaps in that huge brick wall, as I see them in my garden regularly now. So that's my holy grail photo: blue banded bee on a passionfruit flower. 

In the meantime my job is to keep on training the arms of this admirable plant, trimming off the wayward explorers trying to head next door, and keep an eye out for the first flower buds. Can't wait!


Lanie said...

I agree that the blue banded bee on a passionfruit flower would be a special one. Your passionfruit vine looks great.

dirtgirl said...

Your Passionfruit vine is coming along so well, it will look fabulous on that wall and oh so happy. We planted 5 seedlings today alongside outside fence of chook run, to try to green it up a bit there. The seedlings were self seeded freebies we found coming up in our greenhouse. They obviously came from some of the 20 kgs we got this year from our main vine. I managed to make lots of Passionfruit Jam, Curd and freeze heaps of pulp. Good luck with yours.

Unknown said...

I can't get enough of passionfruit tendrils... they are so creative, surprising, and industrious -- kind of like the quick-sketch artists in the garden. Every day they seem to come up with new works of art.

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