I can't take sun.
My head hurts. My skin prickles. I go weak at the knees.
So, having made a shadow with the shed, I set about making a roof with a vine.
(Eight years ago.)
I thought Angevine was a place in France. Somewhere southern, hot and romantic.
Now, I realise! - It must be the Vine of the Angelic Madeleine - delicate - and ethereal.
But 'ethereal' it is not.
It's tough; easy to come by; and easy to grow.
This, I thought, would make a perfect roof for my 'bower'.
(Can't stop grinning. I'm not a 'bowery' person.)
(Oh! I've just looked it up. 'Bowery' doesn't mean 'someone who sits around languishing in bowers'. It's 'Farm' (in Old Dutch).
I can milk cows and I like Wellington boots. Perhaps I'm a 'bowery' person after all!)
Anyway - I planted my vine against an east facing wall - next to the bench which runs along the north side of the shed. Then I rigged up a network of washing lines to support it - and waited for my roof to grow.
It took hardly any time. By the third summer, it was sufficiently established for a deep canopy of leaves to weave itself across the garden.
It even grew grapes.
(I had to bend my head sideways when I went to sit down.)
In the autumn (or spring - depending on advice) I pruned it back to three strands - but it replenished itself with enthusiasm and panache. I would have had to work hard, non-stop, to hold it back.
By the fourth year, new growth was long and strong and multi-pronged.
Then the washing lines gave way.
My 'roof' collapsed.
It took days and days to strip off the leaves (for compost) and cut the green twigs into three inch sticks.
(I didn't know what to do with the bigger branches so I hid them behind the Castor Oil plant.)
(And three inches turned out to be too long. The worms refused to chew.)
Oh! Angevine has nothing to do with Angels. It turns out to mean 'From Anjou'.
(Anjou is in the North of France.)
Double bother. I was going to say what happened on Wednesday evening.
(Triple bother. The Castor Oil plant turns out not to be a Castor Oil plant after all - and I'm waiting for Helen to 'phone back and tell me what it is. (She's got one too.)).
Friday, May 23, 2008