Kapi-Mana News : October 11th 2011
68 KAPI-MANA NEWS, OCTOBER 11, 2011 GARDENING ONLINE DIGITALEDITION • Regular news updates during week • Read complete latest edition online • Read back issues online www.kapimananews.co.nz 4100254AA • Read back issues online • Interact with us via Facebook Focal points not hard to produce By VICKI PRICE Green scheme: Baskets full of flowers hanging from a pole give this garden a bright focal point. One dramatic way to increase interest in your garden is to add height. This can be done with trees and hard structures, but for quicker results, there are other ways to heighten your interest in an area that is giving you the blahs. It is the shapes of things that make our gardens interesting, as well as colour variations. Trees, shrubs and garden beds contain within their groups a huge range of form and colour. These can be used to great effect, if a little plan- ning time is spent. The first thing to do, is not to do. Rather, spend some time just being in your garden space. Now you will quietly observe its struc- ture and pleasing forms as well as areas that need something''. Views within your garden could be enhanced by a framing of sorts, just as views out of the garden are potential focal points. Framing these vistas can be done with planting, sculpture or structures such as an archway or trellis. Willow canes pushed into the ground during the winter or early spring, will grow quickly and with enough flexibility to twine and shape them as they grow. You could form a living fence or arch this way to frame a focal point -- be it a view, seat, sculp- ture or a distinctive planting. Willow canes are one plant to get creative with in your garden and grape vines are another. The latter will not last as long in the elements, but will cope with a season or two. They are pretty when used together in a twined state around a tepee. Just twine them together with some wire for added strength before using. Make a tepee from three or more bamboo stakes and attach grape or willow cane twines around it in two or more places to help hold it together and give the plant some- thing else to hold on to. These tepees instantly give your garden a pleasing change, even before your climbing plants grow up them. Runner beans are a favourite because of their speedy growth, red flowers -- edible too -- and productive crops. You can grow the ever popular green beans, or try purple ones for a change, which look fabulous when growing, but return to a green colour once cooked. You could take this simple structure a step further. A larger tepee with beans growing over it makes an attractive house for children to play in. An even larger one is a great shady spot for grown-ups to enjoy a summer cuppa within its leafy walls. By placing a tepee in a pot, you create instant interest and can grow sweet peas or other climbers on it. Apart from climbing vegetables like beans, peas and tomatoes, a supporting frame in a pot is suitable for tall plants like leeks, which produce attractive ball-shaped flowers towards the end of their season. For more per- manent greenery, you can't go wrong with ivy, which can be clipped to shape around the tepee giving a topiary look. Another vegetable that can be grown artistically, is the potato. This is a great way to grow a good crop if you are short on space. Construct a tower made from strong wire mesh surrounded by an old bamboo blind. You will need to stake this to keep it strong. Place seed potatoes in the bottom, then add soil as the plant produces green shoots, until you reach the top of the tower. Now the plant will grow its usual bushy plant at the top and a mul- titude of tubers down below. Harvesting is simply a matter of digging down to retrieve enough spuds for dinner.
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