you please give me some information about ornamental grapes. I have
a large deck which I would like to cover and the ornamental grape
sounds perfect, but will it be cold enough in Hamilton to get a
good display of autumn colour? Does the ornamental grape have fruit
of any sort that would attract unwanted plagues of bees? Where can
I get a specimen?
grapes are very cold-hardy, and for a good display of autumn colour,
the colder the better. However, you should still get a good display
in Hamilton. They grow best in a well-drained spot exposed to as
much sun as possible. Be careful though, as they can be very vigorous,
so need plenty of space and a sturdy support to climb on.
My favourite is the crimson
glory vine, Vitis coignetiae, which can grow up to 20m in ideal
conditions. It has attractive, deeply-veined leaves which are bronzy-red
when young, turning bright red to purple in autumn. Or you could
try the Teinturier grape, Vitus vinifera 'Purpurea', which reaches
around 10m with downygreen new growth and purple mature foliage
providing a contrasting display all summer.
Most ornamental grapes
produce small inedible fruits at times, but they're usually very
bitter and seldom attract bees or wasps. To avoid the risk, however,
you could easily snip off immature bunches of fruit in early summer.
Prune the vines in winter
to encourage healthy new growth. Don't put it off until after bud
burst in spring, as grape vines can bleed large quantities of sap
at this time which may cause the shoots to die.
Your local garden centre
may stock some varieties, or contact specialist growers Courier
Climbers, PO Box 2458, Tauranga, or check out their mail order website
Gardener, Issue 131, 2003, Page 26
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.