I’ve always had trouble dealing with vines. A big part of the problem has been that I didn’t have suitable structures on which to support them. Until this year, I haven’t had any fences for training vines, and although I’ve occasionally purchased small pillars or trellises, I’ve never had any that I really loved.
Imagine my surprise when I woke up this spring and found myself married to a welder! My husband, Peter, has long wanted to learn to weld to make sculptures. Last year, he set up a shop in the garage, and he started with those. Below, he’s discussing one of the boat sculptures he created of a friend’s Nonsuch sailboat at a recent show in Chestertown.
Happily, he was also interested in making garden sculpture. I wanted to share pictures of the pieces he has made for me thus far.
This trellis is 8 feet tall and was made from the steel rounds left from two half whiskey barrels. The smaller circles are from another wooden container I had that also rotted. At the top is one of the first boats he designed. I displayed it in a houseplant until he took it away to re-use. Fortunately I got it back!
The vine growing on the trellis is a favorite of mine, it’s scarlet or Texas clematis (Clematis texensis). It’s a native that’s rare in commerce, I think. I grew my plants from seed obtained from the Hardy Plant/Mid-Atlantic Group Seed Exchange.
I haven’t figured out how to get a great picture of the first pillar he made, which now supports a clematis ‘Henryi’. Until this year, it has been shamelessly supported by a too-small teepee supplemented by bamboo stakes. (You will NOT bee seeing a picture of this arrangement!)
Originally, I asked for a simple pillar with three or four legs, but he took the idea up to his shop and came back with a one that features metal vines climbing inside and a bird’s nest. The winglike structures at top and bottom are made from lawn mower blades. As one friend put it, now I have a pillar that’s too pretty to grow vines on.
The bird’s nest is made from metal scraps, washers, screws, small saw blades, and the like.
You can bet I have lots more ideas of welded items I’d like for my garden, but I would like to put it out there that Peter is planning to make more trellises to sell. Send me an e-mail at email@example.com if you are interested. He’s got a stockpile of earth augers and other interesting metal bits to use, but is also happy to use interesting metal scrap to make custom pieces.