The Rose in the Tire

Have I mentioned that Aufplum Acres is a challenge?  We have all this space and no idea what to do with it, aside from the general notion that there should be flowering things and fruiting things.  Also, the things that I wish to do – revamping the driveway, building in some terracing, stabilizing our ravine, raised beds, foundation plantings, an orchard – are expensive at best.  So I’m working on this impossible project: use what’s available, scrounge, recycle, and improvise to create curb appeal that fits into the suburban landscape that we occupy.  

My concern with going full permaculture is this: there may come a time when we need to sell this house.  It isn’t likely to be a quick sale. The interior is more modern today than it was when we purchased the place, but it requires a unique family profile: multi-generational, and of a handy variety.  I can’t afford to make it even harder to sell with a hodge-podge of unconventional yard choices.  

And yet, I have to make it work with a hodge-podge of unconventional yard choices.  

The garage has this broad wall that is not even remotely attractive.  I want it clad in climbing roses. Digging into the ground isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time.  We’re working with straight clay here – very little top soil. Raised beds seemed like the way to go, but not right up against the wall itself because the moisture in the soil would be terrible for the siding.  

I decided I needed a big tire to contain the rose, and a substrate of broken tile (removed from the in-law addition) for proper drainage.  So far, the rose is thriving in its tire home, but that leaves the problem of the ugly tire not being in keeping with the overall aesthetic.  

Solving this is a work in progress.  I started with an idea from Pinterest – wire cylinders filled with dirt and then stuffed with growing things.  Of course, the Pinterest option came from Europe and at close to 10 euros a pop, that wasn’t going to work anyway.  So I bought hardware cloth and made my own cylinders.  

It works, but only just.  The result isn’t attractive enough in the winter to really cut it.  In summer, with herbs and flowers growing around it in a riot of scent and color, it isn’t bad.  In the winter… ugh.  

The next plan is to revise the tire encasement with a crazy idea I got from Garden Rescue and make it look like just another raised bed.  That tire is heavy as duck, and it is staying where it is.  It was hard enough to get it loaded into the truck and placed where it is, that kind of back-straining work gets done once and no more.  Also, HH was instrumental in pulling off this little bit of madness (and perpetually patient with my crazy ideas), I don’t think he would go along with moving it again.

Side note: there is a lot of back-and-forth about whether or not it is wise to have tires in your garden due to the potential for chemicals and nasty elements to leach out into your soil.  Honestly, I’m more freaked out by the potential damage of breathing all the artificial scents than I am a little leaching. I don’t plan on putting anything into the tire that is intended for eating, but the tire will stay where it is.  I just have to figure out how to make it look acceptably attractive year-round.  

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