Friday, June 18, 2010

An Ornamental Grape of Special Note

I don't want to turn this blog into a series of jags about the fabulous attributes of this plant or that. That story has its place, but for the theme of this blog a worthy plant profile should say more than how good it looks. Vitis coignetiae(crimson glory vine). Let's call it Vitis coignetiae and pronounce that French looking word any damn way we please. I most recently heard this plant being revered in an podcasted interview with the famous English gardener Beth Chatto. I was pleased to be able to think to myself, ah yes, I know it and grow it. I won't try to wax sentimental about its attributes except to say that its leaves are fascinating in their color, texture, and positioning. The vine has the ability to add an allure to places it is grown. But don't plan on eating the grapes. I first remember seeing it at an outdoor restaurant, and I wish I remembered where, because when I saw it I knew I had to some day grow it for myself. I wasn't sure about it's hardines, so when my first planting died I suspected hardiness as the problem. Fortunately the second try worked. Vines, especially large vines such as this one, can't be grown to their best advantage just anywhere as my planting of it testifies, yet I am glad I have it in spite of its less than inspired setting. Even when it is not at its "best advantage", it can grace its site. Some plants are so worthy that they need to be in the inventory of plants the gardener is not only aware of but knows how to use and grow. I wanted to know how to use Vitis coignetiae , so I had to grow it, as best I could. I think my kind of gardener can't be satisfied simply admiring plants, we have to find some way of growing them.