Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 120

SINGING IN THE GARDEN

...the gardener must put some kind of twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose
into something nearer poetry." - Michael Pollan

THINGS
ARE

Looking Up
Text and art by GINNY NEIL

I

n my 30-some years of growing vegetables and flowers, I've tried many things. My version of the "nowork garden" ended up growing more weeds than
vegetables. My attempts at postage-stamp gardening yielded a couple of raised beds that in their third
year have been over-run by wire grass. I tried raising
strawberries in hanging bags but all I got were some
limp leaves and a few sad berries.
Undaunted, I'm again trying something new. I'm going vertical. This is not my first attempt to make plants
climb rather than sprawl. My usual victims are tomatoes.
I've tried staking them, training them to climb fences,
and winding them into string trellises. When my Own
Farmer created some five-foot tall cages out of hog wire,
I found tomato nirvana. I love the way the cages look in
the garden, and once set, they are practically work-free.

120

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Last summer my sister, who has an eye for design,
pointed out how pretty they were. The tall leafy tubes of
tomatoes made a nice back-drop for the tidy rows of bush
beans and chartreuse lettuces lined up in front. She suggested that I buy some other structures to add height to
the garden, so I went shopping online.
It turns out that there are lots of things to spend money on in a garden, and after ogling and admiring many
trellises, arches and obelisks, I did what I always do. I
started working on how to build something on the cheap
or for free.
Here's what I came up with. My garden now contains
three tall tipis constructed of long sticks. They are eight
feet tall and twined about with pole beans. One variety
grows the most beautiful scarlet flowers. The tipis cost
nothing to build but pay off big in beauty.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018

Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 4
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover4
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