Sow There! Grapevine wreaths and ring tosses on cloudy days, 1-10-2020

Grapevine wreaths and ring tosses on cloudy days. (Heather Hacking — contributed)
January 10, 2020

Nope. I haven’t planted the bulbs. The bags of daffodils and freesia remain — sad and neglected — in a box near the ottoman. I won’t feel badly about myself as a gardener. I’ll get to it tomorrow, or next weekend.

While I admire a person who wants to avoid procrastination this year, I just don’t feel up to planting bulbs – yet.

If you’ve ever visited my house, you understand that I enjoy the process of gardening much more than the outcome. It makes me smile to buy a bag of bulbs. I hum the entire time I put bulbs in the ground.

I experience ecstasy when I see blooms from the daffodils I planted three years ago.

Last week, I wrote about dormant grapevines, which reminded me that it was time to prune. I was in the yard, wearing my cute gardening smock and holding the clippers … and I realized I had forgotten all of those textbook pruning techniques. Re-learning would take research, and my plan was simply to spend some time in the yard.

I clomped out to the mostly-dormant lawn and clipped away with careful uncertainty.

Amid the snips, I texted grapevine expert Mark Carlson to ask his advice for the next time I prune, possibly in February.

In the meantime, what I managed to wrangle was a worthy pile of vines. They were pliable and ever-so-long. The sky was soft, with just enough daylight to enjoy some time — just me, the vines, and the din of the traffic on the busy street nearby.

Once you get started making grapevine wreaths, it’s difficult to stop. When I wrapped the middle section of the prickled rope around my head, the two ends were easier to braid into circles. Rather than trim off the errant side branches, I twirled the lengths into a rustic mess, which met my unplanned intentions.

Bonus that the curtains were drawn at my neighbor D.’s house, so I had no known witnesses.

The weaving of the vines became semi-hypnotic, when I wasn’t fwapping myself in the face. I envisioned how people would naturally string vines into long chains, which would naturally lead to propelling one’s self from tall tree to tall tree, which would elicit cheerful cries that would echo through a forest.

By accident, I discovered that sometimes the skin of the vines begin to peel, and can be used like twine to tie the circle into place.

What unbridled, simple joy.

Of course, I have no plan for using the wreaths. That’s not the point. I was feeling the organic pull from the earth, the sky and the vines – pushed to creativity.

And otherwise bored.

After I proudly posted photos on social media, friends suggested I weave herbs into the frames, or attach dried flowers.

Maybe I’ll get to that — sometime in the spring.

I’m thinking the circles could also be used for a ring toss. Why not? They were crafted around my neck and will certainly fit over my head. If I stand silently, people could strategically toss them at me.

My third-graders last year would have paid money at our school carnival.

Later that day, because I do this sometimes, I searched the Internet to see how others have spent an idle evening near grapevines. One gal in a video,, noted that things tend to stay together when she tied the vines with thin wire. Maybe I’ll remember that next time.

I also wasted some time looking at incredibly well-done grapevine wreaths on Pinterest. This was a mistake and made me judge myself when compared to others. If I wanted a perfectly formed circle, with no jagged edges, I could buy one for $9.99 from Amazon. Would that be any fun?

As it was, I could have made circles well into the night, but daylight dimmed.

The good news is there are more vines intact for another slow day.

I’ll read the advice from Mark, if he gets around to sending it, and trim back the rest of the vines before its time to plant tomatoes.

In the meantime, I’ll gladly gather any photos readers may have of their vine-inspired creations. Maybe this topic will have legs, and we can talk about vines until Valentine’s Day.

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