I have decided to grow an ornamental grapevine under my patio roof which is polycarbonate. Its great in winter as it lets light in and protects from rain, however in summer it is very hot hence the decision to grow the ornamental grape which performs particularly well in and around the Mornington Peninsula. They are readily available and are inexpensive. I purchased mine from Coolart Nursury on Coolart Road in Somerville.
The best aspect of my decision is that in winter there will be plenty of light when I require it as the vine is deciduous and in summer I will have a beautiful lush green canopy. There are not many products that come with a guarantee of new for old every year. Shade from living plants is so much more interesting to look at than man made shade cloth which will eventually disintegrate in the sun leaving bits of plastic dust littering the environment.
Instead of fixed and solid shade materials shade through leaves is always intriguing as there is always something changing with the sun the light or the breeze.
You have complete control over the size and shape of your canopy as they are pruned in winter. The shoots coming off the main branches are shortened to about 3-5 buds. Typically the new growth will be from these stumpy pieces each year. As my vines are new I have the opportunity to develop the growing points. Thinning them to about 40cm-60cm apart usually will give good summer shade
A couple of points to keep in mind when you have decided to create this beautiful shade are firstly 1 plant will spread up to 20 metres and don’t twine the stems around the posts of the structure. Lay the main stems along the top. Keeping the framework of the plant to the top and outside allows the climber to be moved aside for painting or maintenance.
One of the most stunning features of these vines is produced when spring turns to summer you have the choice to let the stems dangle down the edge forming a curtain effect if you need further sunprotection or if not necessary these can be cut shorter. The curtain effect really emphasises the graceful effect of deciduous climbers