Seems like some climbers are happier when they’re going up, and others when they’re going out. The wisteria I kept going on about back in early summer absolutely rocketed up its wire, but lost its way once it got to the top. It’s been staggering around drunkenly, and needs to be constantly tied into the horizontal wire. The drought hasn’t helped matters at all, as it has lost strength as well as its direction.
The grapevines couldn’t be more different. This is their third summer in situ (the first summer was only partial, to be fair). They’ve lolled about, wondering whether they could be bothered doing anything at all, and during those summer downpours of the last few years have been fungally retarded time and time again. This summer, with absolutely no extra water, they’ve bolted up their wire, hit the top, and then run sideways like possums on a powerline. It’s as if they were fuelled by the drought.
My excitement was initially contained to the possibility of them making it to the top this summer, but has now expanded to consider the possibility of them making it all the way along the wire under the facia by the end of the season. They seemed to be doing this so fast that I kept thinking I must be imagining things. In order to get a grip on reality, I marked where the stem was at 3pm yesterday, then (having forgotten to do so at 3pm today, being a lazy, sunny Sunday afternoon) marked it at 5pm today. You can see the markings in the pic above. That stem had travelled 8cm in just over 24 hours. Of the three other stems, another had grown 8cm, and the others 4cm and 7cm.
While I was looking that closely, I also noticed some young caterpillars. Then I noticed the butterflies that were laying the eggs of the caterpillars. Then I noticed the praying mantis’ that were eating the butterflies that were laying the eggs.
I watched one happily bite off the head of the butterfly, then chew down into its body while the legs flailed around helplessly. It was gruesome. The fact is that despite the name, they’re not praying, as I’d always thought, but preying. I’ve yet to fully adjust to the harsh reality.