Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DIY Bamboo Climber Trellis

I have a romantic relationship with climbing vines. They bring me flowers and I flatter them with shrieks of delight and hand-clapping while bouncing around on the spot (For a visual reference, see Oprah). My favorite climbers are jasmine, not just for the sweet-scented flowers, but for their color-changing leaves and hardy natures.
About two years ago, I crafted a large bamboo trellis for two jasmine vines that I had growing in pots. I was very pleased with it at first, that is, until I realized how shockingly awful it looked. (I've, erm, "lost" the photographs of this first trellis). Essentially, there was far too much trellis showing - it made the young vines seem woefully inept.

So, I tore down the large bamboo trellis and cut it into smaller pieces. In this instance the design advice "less is more" certainly applied. The smaller the bamboo trellis, the more easily the vine can overwhelm it, leaving only tantalizing glimpses of bamboo between the leaves.
I recycled as much of the trellis as I could, sanding and varnishing several pieces for future use. Here are some pictures of the process:

Above: The sanded trellis pieces, ready for varnishing. The weather during spring is unpredictable, so I worked under cover on the porch. Note the tea - no craft project is complete without being liberally lubricated with tea.

Above: A comparison of two trellis pieces, one unvarnished (top) and the other with a single coat of varnish (bottom).

Above: Even though I tied the bamboo poles together with wool, it has held up well to the elements. Small flakes of old varnish can still be seen to either side of the yarn.  

Above: I used wood filler putty to seal the reed ends. I'm sure there are better ways to do this, but as far as an on-the-spot thumb-sucking solution goes, wood filler has worked out okay so far. The picture on the left is of the seal without varnish and the picture on the right is after varnishing.

Above: The finished result. For now, I've just leaned the trellis against the wall, pending a move in a few months. I've planted Salvia in the front of the pot. The flowering season of jasmine is fairly short, but Salvia flowers near continuously when mature, giving the pot interest for many months of the year. 

Above: The red leaves of spring create a stunning contrast to the yellow of the bamboo reed and the bright green of the young leaves.

These little reed trellises fit in well with my EurAfriAsian-styled balcony. (My lover tells me it's eclectic. I call it indecisive.) The trellises offer a geometric contrast to the organic curves created by the plants and flowers. 
As a DIY project, this is one that I have thoroughly enjoyed, and I looked forward to the jasmine flowers wooing me this summer with their sweet scents.

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