Twenty-Sixth Thing: Mrs Trellis from North Wales

I am, apparently, distantly related to Humphrey Lyttelton, though we never met. I did, however, go to Mornington Crescent on several occasions. And I once had a kazoo (though not a swanee whistle). You may not have a clue what I’m talking about here. Sorry about that.

Aside from the comedy programmes, I actually don’t listen to much Radio 4, although I’ve always been strangely fond of Gardeners’ Question Time (it’s like the much cooler, naughtier older sibling of Gardeners’ World). I say strangely because I’m not really much of a gardener, beyond some low-maintenance house plants and a few pots of herbs. But while the global economy is falling apart, wars are raging and climate change is well underway, there is something quite comforting in the fact that minor domestic horticultural concerns still have a place in national broadcasting. If GQT ever goes off the air, that’s when we’ll know that civilisation has collapsed.

As I have a north-facing yard, I am immediately limited in what I can cultivate. Thankfully there are some beautiful blue flowers that don’t need a lot of direct sunlight. I’m a particular fan of hydrangeas, especially as you can play God and actually change them from pink to blue. However, as I have discovered, you can’t change the colour of a climbing hydrangea: they’re all white.

So when my Hydrangea petiolaris became big enough to need a support structure, I decided that a blue trellis was the way to go.

My intention was to stain the wood blue but the product I bought turned out to be more opaque than I had expected. Applying the colour was also quite a task as the folding structure endlessly revealed patches I’d missed. And then there was hanging it. Without fancy trellis spacers to keep it the perfect distance from the wall to allow a plant to weave in and out, I improvised with bamboo, sawing inch-long segments for each screw to pass through to hold it against the wall.

I did think about holding back on publishing this post until the hydranga climbed to the top but it seems like a slow grower. Maybe I should be feeding it. Or perhaps I should call in to GQT for advice.

Tools / special requirements: Exterior wood paint/stain, bamboo

Time taken: 2 hours

Things learned: If you bury steel wool under hydrangea bushes, it will make flowers a more VIVID BLUE. Wonder how many other things this applies to…

Satisfaction (1-10): 8. Managed to get some paint on the concrete in the backyard despite all the newspaper.

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