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A fort covered in vines?!?!?!

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A fort covered in vines?!?!?!

Post  thewhips7 on 5/21/2010, 12:37 pm

Hi Everyone -

I live in Morris Connecticut and I love my sqaure foot garden boxes. They are doing so nice this year. I want to venture out and build a fort in a sunny area for my kids and was thinking of making it of chicken wire and poles/posts so that I can cover it with vine plants. This could be cool. Anyone have any recommendations for zone 5 plants that will grow/vine quickly and not completely die come winter?

Linda

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Re: A fort covered in vines?!?!?!

Post  Ha-v-v on 5/21/2010, 12:58 pm

I had a friend tell me a few years ago she would take scarlet runner beans and make a tee pee out of them for her kids and grandkids. I have planted some this year, but because I like their bright red flower and they are an edible ornamental. Im going to put a link in on scarlet runner beans with some growing ideas for cold climates.
Scarlet Runner Beans

I really like the fort idea !! I think I will make a small tee pee in the garden for the youngest. I will use scarlet and some other beans too Smile Thank you for the great idea !!
Ha-v-v

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Re: A fort covered in vines?!?!?!

Post  Wyldflower on 5/21/2010, 1:13 pm

Did you see This Thread with trellis ideas? LOVE the teepee!

Are you looking for a more 'permanent' fort using perennial vines? I know veggies like beans will work, for sure, in zone 5. If you want a perennial flowering vine, you may want to think about clematis.

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Re: A fort covered in vines?!?!?!

Post  dmpower on 5/21/2010, 2:04 pm

I have a permanent fort that I didn't plan on when I planted wisteria. It took a couple of years to fill in, but it is beautiful in every season. You only need the uprights and possibly something across the top for the first vines to cling to. After that it will cover the space with no problem. This is what I was told the growth pattern would be like and it certainly was for me:
It sleeps
It creeps
It leaps
Mine is about 7 years old and it followed that pattern for the first 3 years. Now it just leaps


I also have a fort that I planned on with hop vines. The vines are removed every fall, but grow back with more rhizomes the next season. It is a wonderful place to sit, and when it blossoms there is a nice hint of hops to make you think of what you can do with the harvest. I believe you could grow some great hops in your area.

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Re: A fort covered in vines?!?!?!

Post  milaneyjane on 5/21/2010, 3:39 pm

That is what we are doing with our beans and cucs this year for the kids on canel panels. It will be a long tunnel for them and I am debating if I close off one end. If you are using it for the kids to play in you might want a nonflowering plant to avoid the bees.

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A fort covered in vines?!?!?!

Post  thewhips7 on 5/21/2010, 3:48 pm

Hi Again - wow - lots of quick replies, i love it. First - thanks for the link to the t-p's they are very cool. And Clementis has been suggested to me a few times so I am really leaning to that becasue it will come back each year after winter. Though the point about bees is a good one - and i'm not sure if Clementis attracts bees. Wisteria also sounds cool if i don't get over run by it...... but i think the more 'jungle-ier' the more the kids will like it. Also considering something called the Virginia Creeper becasue it grows fast and tall and I have read the fall foliage is red and spectacular. My husband thinks i'm a little nuts - but I'm excited about this - and I love to see my kids get excited about something. Linda

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Re: A fort covered in vines?!?!?!

Post  miinva on 5/21/2010, 3:50 pm

What are canel panels? We're about to try our hands at building a chicken 'hoop coop' with cattle panels and we have plans to put in two long, narrow beds with an arching trellis between them so they can grow together.

A friend of mine has trumpet vine that grows in thick and gorgeous every year on an arch over her walkway, but we're in Virginia (7b, I think), so I'm not sure trumpet vine would grow where you are.

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Re: A fort covered in vines?!?!?!

Post  milaneyjane on 5/21/2010, 4:05 pm

I was so excited to hear someone else trying it too I mistyped---it should be cattle panels LOL!

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Re: A fort covered in vines?!?!?!

Post  miinva on 5/21/2010, 4:08 pm

Very Happy I use them for my peas and tie strings between the spaces, although I found trellis netting this year so I'll be attaching that for the fall peas.


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Re: A fort covered in vines?!?!?!

Post  Wyldflower on 5/21/2010, 4:17 pm

I'd be wary of the Virginia creeper. It's pretty, and does have spectacular color in the fall... but if you're planning to make this fort anywhere near other plantings, you should be aware that it spreads VERY fast, and will take over everything if given a chance! My next door neighbor has it on the chain-link fence between our yards, and last summer it pretty much took over my lilac bush. If I didn't keep cutting it back, it would have taken over my garden, too. Of course it's right near the BEST spot for my garden, which I have set about 6' from the fenceline.

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Re: A fort covered in vines?!?!?!

Post  jenjehle on 5/21/2010, 4:46 pm

I found this picture when I did a search to see what wisteria looked like. Not sure what your kids would think, but my kids would love a fort covered in this vine!



Now my wheels are turning wondering if I could make one for my kids too! Thanks for the idea!!

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A fort covered in vines.

Post  GloriaG on 5/21/2010, 4:55 pm

Hi jenjehle,

Wisteria is great - just be careful your kids aren't allergic to bee stings. Wisteria is notorious for drawing swarms of bees.

Gloria

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Re: A fort covered in vines?!?!?!

Post  herbarium on 5/21/2010, 5:14 pm

I agree - be wary of Virginia Creeper. It can take over everything.
Some children are likely to try anything with berries without considering whether it is edible. Another concern about Virginia Creeper.
You might want to check the book Sunflower Houses and other books by the same author. There are many children (and adult) friendly and fun ideas.
In some places Wisteria is also too rampant.
What about wolfberry (goji) http://www.richters.com/Web_store/web_store.cgi
or kiwi?

herbarium

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Re: A fort covered in vines?!?!?!

Post  chocolatepop on 5/22/2010, 12:48 am

I'd, like others, stay away from VC, way to invasive. Would a simply ivy be too little? Or a moonflower type vine?

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Re: A fort covered in vines?!?!?!

Post  dmpower on 5/22/2010, 8:15 pm

@miinva wrote:What are canel panels? . . .
A friend of mine has trumpet vine that grows in thick and gorgeous every year on an arch over her walkway, but we're in Virginia (7b, I think), so I'm not sure trumpet vine would grow where you are.

I personally would shy away from trumpet vines. They are also known as hell vines - because they grow veraciously and it is almost impossible to stop them. Some vines are better suited for for trellis etc and others for wall and solid fences. Trumpet vine is better on a solid surface. I had red and orange trumpet vines that I loved. I forced them to cover a chain link fence. The fence has been down for 8 years and we are still trying to get rid of the vine. It shows up 100s of feet away. It is now showing up in my sfg. Only use it if you know you will never want to change its location

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Re: A fort covered in vines?!?!?!

Post  dmpower on 5/22/2010, 8:25 pm

@GloriaG wrote:Hi jenjehle,

Wisteria is great - just be careful your kids aren't allergic to bee stings. Wisteria is notorious for drawing swarms of bees.

Gloria
I have a very large wisteria, and yes there are a swarm of bees, but
very early in the season. In fact mine has already bloomed and is a
green fort now and no more bees. The blooming wisteria is April 16th, and the green was today. My dog is in the same location as the pool noodle


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Re: A fort covered in vines?!?!?!

Post  lakemom on 5/24/2010, 5:16 pm

For year round green, English Ivy might do the trick. Like other ivy's it can be invasive but if you put an edging around the fort to help contain the roots they should be fine. YOu could use some morning glory and/or four o'clocks the first couple of years to fill in while waiting for the ivy to mature. Oh, a FYI, English Ivy is the ivy that you see growing all over old brick buildings etc.

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Re: A fort covered in vines?!?!?!

Post  LaFee on 5/24/2010, 6:37 pm

Virginia Creeper is a pain in my neck. It covers everything ... like kudzu, and it's nigh on impossible to kill. I wouldn't plant it on purpose in trade for a winning lottery ticket. It's one and only redeeming quality is that it is gorgeous in the fall...but the ten months of foul language can't make up for the two months of pretty.

It also can cause a poison-ivy-like rash in those who are sensitive...which makes it a particularly bad idea for kids.

Wisteria are pretty and they smell nice...but they're messy. Not a big deal...just to be aware. (My neighbor's Wisteria has escaped their yard, gone up and over the trees on their side of the wall, and are coming down the trees on my side. Not sure, but I think I have more of their wisteria than they do.)

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A fort covered in vines.

Post  GloriaG on 5/24/2010, 7:00 pm

Hi LaFee,

You're right about Wisteria being messy. I think the worst part however is how invasive it is. It has taken us YEARS to get rid of wisteria in one area in our yard and we're still trying to get rid of it in another area. It's very hard to train and super hard to kill. It seems to grow 6-foot runners in a week.

Although I love the look of it, and we had a beautiful specimen tree for years, if you're really want a vine with reasonable maintenance that's safe for children - I would steer away from wisteria.

Gloria

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Re: A fort covered in vines?!?!?!

Post  sceleste54 on 5/25/2010, 12:21 am

That is one of the prettiest Wisteria I have ever seen.... beautiful !!

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Re: A fort covered in vines?!?!?!

Post  PeggyC on 5/28/2010, 5:34 am

i just decided to make the kids a tunnel/fort the other day, and silly me, i thought it was a decently original idea...



for more explanation than you could possibly want: http://craftycrofts.blogspot.com/2010/05/square-foot-garden-2010.html

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Re: A fort covered in vines?!?!?!

Post  Ha-v-v on 5/28/2010, 7:57 am

The ideas I get here!! I have been thinking about this thread since it was started. I now have a lean to made with t posts and chicken wire for the roof for our youngest. I have scarlet runner beans and nasturtium in peat pots germinating for this. I cant wait to see it when its full of vines. I am sharing a picture of it here




I plan a tee pee of sorts for one guy, we will see.

Ha-v-v

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