The hop vines that grow along the south side of our house are both a blessing and a curse. Every year in late winter, I pull out massive amounts of trailing underground hop roots in the hope of keeping these vines under control.
The vines usually recover quickly from this setback. Stronger than before and out for revenge, they are soon back to swallowing up the sunny side of our house.
But the hop cones are such a beautiful, fresh green when they emerge in late summer. And they are rewarding to work with.
So today, I’m sharing a couple of my recent hop projects.
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A Hop Garland
The hop garland was surprisingly easy to make.
I simply measured how long I needed the garland to be and then weaved a few hop vines around one another until I had a long enough garland. Hop vines like to wind around each other naturally anyway, and they almost feel sticky to the touch. So it was easy to get them to stay woven together.
In the few places where I could not get them to stay together naturally, I just tethered them together with biodegradable garden twine.
The key to success is to do this project when the vines are still green and pliable. It’s no good trying this once the vines have already dried.
Then, using clear fishing wire, Chris and I suspended the garland from small hooks that are already installed on our porch ceiling.
There were a few larger hooks, just above the porch entrance, that also came in handy for hanging this garland.
I weaved in extra clusters of hop cones where needed for a fuller look. When necessary, I tied them on with biodegradable garden twine.
This was several weeks ago. Now the cone clusters have dried and mellowed to a soft caramel color.
And we added pumpkin string lights to the garland.
The garland is now brittle to the touch, but it’s holding up very well. It definitely helps that it is under cover and, for the most part, protected from the rain.
The little hop headpiece that I made for our porch lion looked good at first.
But, since it was not under cover, it suffered in the weather and ultimately had to be tossed.
A Hop Wreath
Several years ago, I made this hop wreath using a metal wreath form as a foundation.
It was a fun and exuberant wreath, but now I know how to make an all-natural wreath using no metal forms, wires, or other manmade elements. The beauty of an all-natural wreath is that, when the season changes and I no longer need it, I can just toss the whole wreath into the compost bin and get on with my life – no need to separate it from a metal wreath form first.
I started by clipping some of the grape vines that grow on our fence and weaving them around one another into a wreath form. As with the hop vines, grape vines are easy to work with when the vines are still green and pliable.
I just tucked the ends in until they were secure. The grapevine wreath form didn’t have to look pretty since it was going to be partly covered by the hops anyway.
Then I cut a length of hop vines. These vines had woven around one another while they were growing, so they had already done some of my work for me.
Then, for lack of a better description, I just weaved, folded, and tucked the hop vines securely onto the grapevine wreath. It took a little bit of trial and error, but it was fairly easy.
There is nothing manmade holding this wreath together. It is just vines wrapped around one another.
The front door is very protected from the elements so, like the garland, the wreath mellowed into a golden caramel color after a couple of weeks.
A Little Viola Pumpkin
This isn’t a hop project, but I thought I’d share another little piece of my porch decor: This simple little viola pumpkin.
I cut the top off of a sugar pumpkin and hollowed it, scraping out the seeds and some of the pumpkin meat. (The meat I’d removed made a nice side dish with our dinner that evening.)
Then I cut a drain hole in the bottom of the pumpkin. I planted the violas in a small plastic container and placed it inside the hollowed pumpkin. A bit of moss conceals the plastic pot.
The hollowed pumpkin probably won’t stay fresh for long, so having the violas in a plastic pot will make them easier to remove when the time comes. I know some folks use bleach or other substances to keep their pumpkins fresh longer but I don’t because (1) I’m too lazy, and (2) I like to compost my pumpkins when I’m done with them, so I want to keep them all natural.
More Fall Porch Decor
The rest of my fall porch decor is not exciting and, as you will see, our porch furniture needs a facelift – badly! But here it is anyway.
(In case you’re wondering, the white box in the photo above is our Ridwell box.)
Now to plan: Should I revamp the existing porch furniture or replace it with something new, perhaps one of these looks?
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