The number of vines on my garden wish list will soon outnumber the structures on which I can grow them. Is that a bad thing, you ask? It would be if I had to rely on the vine supports for sale at local nurseries and home stores. What I found on a recent shopping trip was either overpriced, lacking in character, or made with flimsy materials. That’s what motivated me to make my own trellises out of bamboo. Bamboo is a wonderfully versatile building material and one of the world’s most renewable resources. It’s lightweight, strong, and flexible, and it looks at home in most gardening schemes, even in the garden that surrounds my late-19th-century in-town house. Another plus is that bamboo can last 8 to 10 years before showing signs of deterioration.
One of the benefits of designing and building my own trellises is that I can determine their size. Furthermore, I can work with two cane widths to give my designs more visual interest. To tie the bamboo together, I use a wax-coated black lashing cord that contrasts nicely with the buff-colored bamboo. I mail-order bamboo in bulk to save money and to have extra on hand for other projects. With an investment of less than two hours and for about $10, I have a custom-made trellis for one of the vines in my growing collection.