Hey everyone - I've had a couple of ideas running through my head, and would be glad to hear others' informed opinions about whether said ideas are crazy or not.
I've talked for years about growing something on the south and west sides of my house for shade - at least over the windows. Tried half-heartedly a time or two, didn't get anywhere.
But hey, I've got this Virginia creeper in abundance, and it seems quite hardy, so why not use it? Only trouble is that I seem to have the non-sticky-tendril variety, but I suppose I could trellis it. What could go wrong?
On another note, I want more houseplants to help freshen up the air, etc. But I, well, haven't done so well. Even pothos - people say it's hard to kill.......well, maybe for you it is! But the creeper, it's quite happy and prolific outside during most of the growing season (zone 6-ish)....would it be happy inside??
Um, Er, Funny thing - just this morning as I was meandering around the 'estate' I was thinking, since learning permaculture, that there are only 2 "weeds" that I hate enough to eradicate with poison (not that I use poison but I detest them that much - haha!) and they are Poison Ivy and Virginia Creeper. Both are very difficult to control because of their woody, underground spreading habits. And Virginia Creeper is a double whammy with birds spreading the berries. It may not be as stubborn in your zone but as soon as I see a sprig of VA Creeper I dig it up. It's not a bad looking vine and has pretty berries - that will take over your yard and it's sneaky so you don't see it until it's already intertwined in whatever it's climbing - too much work for me!
SO! My favorite vine for shade is Loofah with it's rapid growth, huge leaves and beautiful Giant yellow flowers. It's an annual so it doesn't develop heavy destructive vines, and it produces the loofah squash which is edible when young and matures into sponges. Also moonflower which has a lovely white, aromatic flower that blooms in the evening. In a past house I built a sturdy trellis outside my bathroom window and grew a climbing rose - natural air freshener :)
If you'd rather not bother training a vine on a trellis I'd suggest Mulberry trees. They don't have a large footprint, grow rapidly and can be pruned to size but make a lot of shade - with the added benefit of fruit for the birds and yourself :)
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Dave Burton's Boot Adventures at Wheaton Labs and Basecamp