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URBAN HEDGES PART THREE-A: KIWI ViNES

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Welcome to part three-A of my series on urban hedges, which is a term I coined when I was devising ways to attain privacy in my NYC garden; a garden that is in close proximity to neighbors to the east and west of me, as well as directly north.
In part one of this series I discussed a few types of shelving as an urban hedge option; while in part two I discussed the use of objects (as planters filled with lush flora), passion vine and building a bamboo trellis, as options for creating an urban hedge.
All of the aforementioned urban hedges were (or still are) on the western side of my garden. There is no need for an urban hedge on the south side of my garden, as that as the side where the door leading to and from my garden into my apartment is located, as well as a plant stand that supports a concrete container, which has been filled with array of flowers, herbs, and plants over the years. But in the recent years, the container has been filled with nasturtium or tulips, depending on the season, as seen in photos one and two.
The nasturtiums seen in image one were just planted on July 10th 2013, and they are one of my favorites, giving my garden a Giverny feel! In bygone years I have featured nasturtiums in posts on Blogger and tumblr, which you can refer to via the links below respectively.
(Nasturtium posts on Blogger @ http://www.thelastleafgardener.com/search/label/Tropaelum%20majus%20%28Nasturtium%29 AND on tumblr @ http://thelastleafgardener.tumblr.com/search/nasturtium.)
Moreover, I created a mini-mini virtual flip book celebrating nasturtiums and Henri Matisse. It can be viewed in my Vimeo Library @ http://vimeo.com/34781380.
As for tulips, I have grown a number of varieties, and I have written about the various types both on Blogger and tumblr which you can refer to via the links below respectively.

(Tulip posts on Blogger @ http://www.thelastleafgardener.com/search/label/Tulips AND on tumblr @ http://thelastleafgardener.tumblr.com/search/tulips.)
Moreover, I created a mini-mini movie celebrating tulips and Tiny Tim. It can be viewed in my Vimeo Library @ http://vimeo.com/40165397.)
And with this info re urban hedges for the south and west portions of my garden, I will discuss the urban hedge situation for the north and east locations of my urban space, which is the role of kiwi vines in my urban hedge system! I will be doing this in two segments (or posts) here on HT, with the intent that some of my escapades may benefit you, dear reader
I first introduced my kiwi vines to the HT community on July 1st 2013 (in an entry @ http://www.hometalk.com/1729093/virtual-garde...), when HT contributor Empress of Dirt - Melissa asked if I would consider posting a virtual tour of my garen, and the only venue which came close to meeting this request (so far) was to post a link to my first garden-themed virtual story (mini movie), '"The Kiwi Speaks! Fifteen Minutes of Fame . . . almost," which may be viewed in my Vimeo Library @ http://vimeo.com/37027072.
I initially procured my kiwi vines in 2010 with the knowledge that they would grow quickly around the east railing of my garden, then head to the southeast; but they would also eventually turn the corner at the other end (north), grow along there, and then turn to grow along the west railing as they headed to the southwest corner, completing wrapping my terrace garden in their loving arms of branches with awesome foliage!
The path of the kiwi vines can be seen in image three, where the white arrow to the left of the image indicates their path on the east railing as they head both south and north; while the white arrow at the top of the image indicates their travels on the northern railing as they head from east to west. The yellow arrow on the left hand side of the image indicates the point where the vines are just beginning to turn the northwest corner to head west until they reach the southwest corner of my garden.
(Kiwi posts on Blogger @ http://www.thelastleafgardener.com/search/label/Actinida%20kolomikta%20and%20Actimida%20%28Kiwi%20Vines%29 AND on tumblr @ http://thelastleafgardener.tumblr.com/search/kiwi+vines.)
Moreover, as stated earlier, I created a mini-mini movie celebrating tulips and Tiny Tim. It can be viewed in my Vimeo Library @ http://vimeo.com/37027072.)
But, lest you think this was an easy fix for an urban hedge, I should, in this DIY day and age, share with you some of the pitfalls in my endeavor!
One such pitfall occurred almost the moment I first brought the vines home, which was schlepping them up seventy stairs (I live in a walk-up) to reach my garden. The second one happened soon after, and that came in my trying to find a container to meet the kiwi vines' needs!
The fourth image shows the kiwis in their first home (2010) in my garden (left of image), a fiber-glass container. My initial intent had to been to provide them a home in a terra-cotta container as I prefer the look of this material.
Even my thinking of a terra-cotta container — beautiful as I may find it — for such a massive vine was far from prudent. But I found a distressed one (mossy) that I thought was beautiful in the flower district of New York City (which I had arrived at before six o'clock in the morning so as to avoid the nine-to-fivers in my travels of transporting such a large object).
Normally when I lug something as massive as the container was, I use a luggage cart (dolly style), but I had failed to bring it with me that day, and so the clerk double bagged it. Moreover, I usually travel on foot, subway, or bus. It is rare for me to take a taxi, but I could not even manage to get to the bus stop with my terra-cotta container; therefore, I hailed a cab.
Because it was before six o'clock in the morning, the traffic was light making the fare low, the driver was pleasant (he even helped me get the container out of the cab as well as putting it onto the sidewalk), giving me the sense that it was a nice way to start my day: a feeling that was soon shattered when the front door of the building where I live slammed into it, breaking the container into hundreds of pieces!
These broken pieces became chard for the kiwi's first home, which was the fiber-glass container pictured in photo four. How I could have thought of using a terra-cotta variety is now beyond me, not only the transporting of it from a seller to my home, but moving it within my garden . . . . ?
In any event, by October of 2010, the container issue was a distant memory as the kiwi traveled both north and south on the east railing (indicated by white arrow in photo five) from its fiberglass home (indicated by blue circle and small blue arrow) while the one-time-pasion-vine hedge (indicated by red arrow and referred to @ http://www.hometalk.com/1851014/urban-hedges-... looked on from the opposite side!
Ultimately, before the end of the season of the kiwi vines first being here, they surprised me with a gorgeous yellow foliage that had awesome red markings (as seen in image six).
I do extensive winterizing in my garden (which I will post about at a later date), and protecting my kiwi vines was no exception, as can be seen in image seven where you can see the kiwis and their hard-earned 2010 digs (container) were protected with my 2010-2011 winterizing efforts (which prepared them for the winter we would ultimately have that season as seen in images eight and nine), where the kiwis' snow drenched branches proved to be a hearty urban hedge!
My winterizing efforts for the following year, 2011-2012 (photo ten) are indicated with the circle at the right; the arrow shows the kiwi vines' bare winter branches, still making a lovely hedge)!
And by the spring of 2012, my kiwis had already gained too much weight, and were growing at such a huge rate that I had to replace their digs, where I would ultimately have another lesson to learn!
The lesson was not based in having a container break before it was even used, but rather, not being totally enamored with the container when I procured it! After an EXTENSIVE (and mostly fruitless) search for a suitable container to accommodate my kiwi vines' new girth, I finally discovered (in the flower market again) another container that would meet my vines' needs, however, it was a massive effort to transport it home (at rush hour this time); and then get it up seventy stairs into my apartment, and out into my garden! The container with the kiwi transplanted into it can be seen in image eleven. But as I stated I didn't love the container; it was more of a means-to-an-end-solution.
Hence, even though my kiwis thrived in their new home (as indicated by photo twelve where the container is "highlighted" with an arrow while the kiwi flourishes behind it), I just did not get used to the look of it in my garden!
Therefore, I painted the container, with the kiwis in it, which is a difficult maneuver, but, if you ever find yourself wanting to change the face of a container once something has already been planted in it, this (images thirteen through sixteen) shows you that it can be done: just make sure you use chopsticks (or a similar "stake" to protect the foliage)!
But at least my visiting wild birds seem to enjoy themselves atop the kiwis' second (and "face-lifted') digs (images seventeen through twenty.)
I'll leave the kiwis as urban hedge here for now, as after their being transplanted, and then having their home painted, they underwent a huge trauma, a trauma common to urban gardeners! Please stay tuned!

Got a question about this project?

  • Alexandra Arena
    Alexandra Arena Forest Hills, NY

    Love the Nasturtiums, Patricia!

  • TheLastLeafGardener
    TheLastLeafGardener New York, NY

    Me too @Alexandra Arena (love nasturtiums) AND I can see why Henri Matisse "used" them in his painting, "Dance," @http://www.thelastleafgardener.com/2011/12/blog-post_31.html I HOPE THEY SURVIVE THIS HEAT WAVE! How are you doing with all the heat,

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