Friday, December 7, 2007

Flashback: The Espalier

At my former home I trained a pyracantha on the brick wall of my boring 60s’ rancher. The pyracantha thrived in its fairly shady spot and grew quickly. Toxic thorns don’t make pyracantha the easiest plant to work with, but its glossy evergreen leaves and orange fall berries are worth the trouble.
I purposely set out to make the espalier pattern not symmetrical, preferring to let the vine’s natural curves be the guide. My own affinity for curlicues and scrollwork admittedly was also in play and the result is decidedly unconventional. Some might say even weird. Passers-by would ask what kind of plant it was, thinking that you could buy a plant that grew that way.


I used the Wayward Vine support sold at most nurseries; it’s a little concrete button with a wire hook that you cement onto your masonry. The early picture was taken in 1998 after I first planted the pyracantha; the second picture is four years later in 2002.

6 comments:

Pam/Digging said...

Pam @ Digging says:

How cool is that?! My god, it looks like a lot of work though. How much snipping did it require? And are you doing another one at your new house?

CarInUtah said...

I came across your blog through a link on Pam's site & I look forward to seeing the transformation at your new house.
I also want to know what is involved in making this kind of espalier. Every time we take our kids to Disneyland I stop and look at a red brick wall that has a very precise diamond-shaped espalier. I have photographed it & want to try something similar. I'd love to hear how much work is involved and what type of plants you think would work. I'm a little fearful of pyracantha :)

CarInUtah said...

I came across your blog through a link on Pam's site & I look forward to seeing the transformation at your new house.
I also want to know what is involved in making this kind of espalier. Every time we take our kids to Disneyland I stop and look at a red brick wall that has a very precise diamond-shaped espalier. I have photographed it & want to try something similar. I'd love to hear how much work is involved and what type of plants you think would work. I'm a little fearful of pyracantha :)

Kiwi said...

It's not as difficult as it might seem. It's like much of gardening: lots of initial effort, then waiting, and then routine maintenance. Probably once a quarter it requires clipping and winding stray stems around existing growth. My new house has no masonry walls, so no espalier here. Other vines that could work are confederate jasmine, yellow spring-blooming jasmine,or even a climbing rose.

M Sinclair Stevens (Texas) said...

Very artistic. I doubt that I'd have the patience. I tend more toward the blowsy, unkempt look, as does my garden.

mss @ Zanthan Gardens

Grace said...

I like the new banner! Ah, the pyracantha! "What kind of plant is that?!?!"