Awhile ago I read that plants abhor copper and that it actually inhibits vines from growing up it. I wish I could remember where, but it probably doesn’t matter because I now think this is unfounded at best and bullpucky at worst. I can’t find any scientific sources to suggest that’s actually the case. But that little bit that I may or may not have read was enough to have me rethink the copper obelisk in the middle of the circle garden. I have pretty good luck with clematis (knock wood) but the ones I’ve planted in the circle garden haven’t thrived like I had hoped (obviously it’s the copper, not the gardener, right?), plus I was just ready for a change.
I found exactly what I was looking for in this obelisk. I’m not even sure it’s technically an obelisk. And it wasn’t exactly what I needed, so I’m clearly taking a lot of liberties in how I’m recalling this. Anyway, I ordered it at about 2 a.m., which is when all great shopping decisions are made. But never fear … I had a plan!
Heightwise it really was right, but it was way too wide for the circle. So I did what any semi-sane gardener would do: I cut that brand new trellis/obelisk/vine grower-upper thing in pieces.
It’s really not as nuts as it sounds. If each arm were half the width it would truly be perfect for that spot. So I had Mr. Much More Patient (who by this point doesn’t even blink when I suggest taking things straight out of the shipping box to the saw) run each arm through the table saw. I’m all about using the power tools myself, but I will not go near that table saw. The one we have is not one of the fancy new ones that automatically retracts the blade if your finger gets in the way. Actually it conveniently no longer even works with the finger guard on it, so you just have a huge blade sticking up waiting to cut off your hand. It freaks me out so much I pretty much look away when it is in use.
Then (and by then, I mean a month later when it was raining out so I couldn’t work in the garden), I put the obelisk/trellis together according to the directions, but instead of putting the strip of wood on the outside of each arm as instructed, I put it up to where we’d cut each arm and drilled new holes to screw it in to the trellis. That strip ended up being a touch short, leaving about a 5 inch gap at the bottom where it should have touched the ground, but I figured there will always be plants growing around the bottom of this and you’ll never see that area.
I also ended up throwing a coat of Classic Gray Minwax stain on it because the existing finish was more of a greenish tan. The stain makes it coordinate with the nearby containers that I stained in the driveway and in the patio garden.
But wait, there’s more!
So I know you’re thinking that it was pretty stupid to buy a trellis/obelisk thing and then cut it apart. Well guess what? I got two more trellises out of it.
I needed something by the garage for the Thunbergia vines in the trough planter to grow up (my hope was that they’d reach the pergola, but they are being very pokey so that is starting to seem unlikely). So I took two of the cut-off portion of the arms (maybe I should call them wings?) and cut off the curvy bit on the top with the chop saw, which I’m cool with using. Then I cut a 2-by-2 to length creating a center spine, and we screwed the sides into the 2-by-2. We didn’t worry to much about keeping it pretty; this isn’t something that will be viewed closeup and hopefully it will be covered in vines. Then I spray painted the whole shebang in the white color of spray paint that was on sale at the hardware store.
We mounted it with spacers behind it right to the garage. The Thunbergia won’t twine up it, but I intend to guide it until it becomes self-supporting. Worse case scenario I can always sneak a bamboo can in there for some additional guidance.
And I still have two wings left to create another trellis. I don’t have a use for this one yet, but I’m sure something will come up sooner or later and I’ll have a trellis at the ready.
So that’s how some late-night online shopping ended up in making three trellises out of one. I’m pretty smitten with them.