Clip­pings: Jackie French takes a green cur­tain call

Jackie French on the joy of grow­ing leafy cur­tains, a beau­ti­ful rose and the gar­den jobs for the month.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

Imagine for­est light in your own liv­ing room, with green leaves fil­ter­ing harsh mid-sum­mer sun. That’s what “green cur­tains” – climb­ing plants that clam­ber up win­dows or hang down them – give you. Un­like or­di­nary cur­tains, green leaves don’t block all the light. In­stead, they give cool­ness, beauty and pri­vacy… and cost only a few dol­lars, too.

In­door win­dow box

The eas­i­est “green cur­tains” are grown from a win­dow box in­stalled in­side. In­door gar­dens need less wa­ter than those out­side and they are safe from harsh, hot winds, as well as frosts.

Climbers

Plant climb­ing bean, pea or sweet pea seeds in a planter box filled with soil and add slow-re­lease fer­tiliser. Now thread cot­ton up from the planter box to the top of the win­dow, one thread for each seed. As the plants grow, they’ll twine around the string. In Fe­bru­ary’s heat, you’ll have both cur­tains and beans in about six weeks – magic for chil­dren.

Hang­ing plants

work bril­liantly as “green cur­tains”, too. In­stall the win­dow box at the top of the win­dow – make sure you can reach to wa­ter it. Climb­ing beans or peas will hang down with­out any aid from you. So will peren­ni­als such as New Zealand spinach, a tough na­tive spinach that can grow a me­tre a day if well fed and wa­tered, and in a sunny spot. Choko vines, cu­cum­bers and even straw­ber­ries also make glo­ri­ous hang­ing cur­tains.

Pas­sion­fruit vine

One of my favourite “green cur­tains” is a pas­sion­fruit vine grown in a large pot in the owner’s bed­room. They’ve trained it up the win­dow frame so leaves and fruit hang down. Each sum­mer, the vine cov­ers the win­dow and in win­ter it’s trimmed to al­low in light.

Suc­cu­lents

The most ele­gant “green cur­tains” are made by in­stalling bars across the win­dow, then hang­ing small pots of suc­cu­lents, such as echev­e­ria, or any hardy cac­tus. You have the “green light” ef­fect, giv­ing pri­vacy with­out feel­ing shut off. The “al­most sym­me­try” of the pots is stun­ning, too.

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