Anyone own a vine covered pergola in the Great Lakes region?

svejkovatJune 18, 2013

I live along the east coast of Lake Michigan on latitude with Milwaukee. I've seen a dozen or so pergolas in town but none with vine growth which, personally, wastes so much of their potential.
I lived in Athens, Greece for two years and though I never asked or identified the most common vines (grape?) many outdoor eatieries served beneath them. Shielding your conversation and meal from all but flickering and romantic dapplings of the harsh sun overhead, cooling and oxygenating the breeze.

I'm wondering what might be considered an ideal vine for the purpose in Michigan. All plus/minus considered. Grapes could be messy if not well maintained. Wisteria would be fantastically beautiful, but heartbreaking in Michigan with unpredictable frosts and it grows slower than many of the other vines I'm familiar with locally. There is an unknown vine on my deck that grows like science fiction; i sometimes hear it whispering 'feed me'... could just be the wind.

and then there's always Kudzu.

...for that timeless aura of 'Ted Kaczynski in-the-glen".

Any ideas?

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This may not be suited to your area. I am in N. VA (zone 7, almost 6) and I have just completing a pergola over a portion of my patio. I bought 3 fuzzy kiwi (Saanichton) and a male and transplanted them into pots awaiting the completion of the pergola. I will have them run up decorative chains to the top of the pergola (see photo). I also have hardy kiwis growing on a trellis and I know they would be good for your area.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 1:50PM
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I don't have any pics but had a home on the western end Lake Ontario and had a wonderful grape arbor similar to the picture you provide. The grapes were a Ontario strain of Ziffandel. Never had a problem with them making a mess. Picked in the fall and turned into about 5 gallons of homemade wine by a Sicilian neighbour.

I would think any strain of New York or Ontario grape would be hearty enough for you.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 10:29AM
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In my area the squirrels and birds get most of the grapes.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 10:02AM
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Try Kansas Wisteria. Very fast growing, so you will have to prune it yearly after it is established. Very hardy and lovely Spring flowers.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 1:31PM
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I used Silver Lace over part of the pergola that covers a portion of my pool patio.

Pergola is about 9' tall, about 40' wide and 16' deep.

Planted two vines, one over the arched arbor that leads into the pool area. The other vine went up against the pergola. The Silver lace was to cover about half of the pergola, a few New Dawn rose climbers were to cover the other half.

Planted the vines a few years ago, they were about 5' tall when planted. The arched arbor is in the bottom left corner of the following photo. You can barely see the vine I planted against the pergola, but you can see the unweathered support pole I used to train it, it's leaning against the second pergola post from the left.

By late summer the vines were flowering and had grown over the top of the arbor and over the top of the Pergola.

Here's a photo I took today, the vine has grown about 9' vertical to the top, then the full 16' depth of the pergola:

I had this same vine when I lived in Wisconsin, on a lake about a half-hour north of MKE. Here in CT it's done well through several winters. No issues.

I've seen Silver Lace listed in some places as invasive, but it's never strayed by root, nor has it crowded out some of the other plants near it in the gardens. I think it's just a rigorous climber.

The flowers are white and somewhat delicate looking. I guess that's where the "lace" in the name comes from. The petals, when they fall, are not a nuisance. I don't consider it to be a dirty plant in terms of shedding.

It's been winter and wind hardy, and provides a nice dappled shade in the summer.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 8:08PM
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Try Kansas Wisteria. Very fast growing, so you will have to prune it yearly after it is established. Very hardy and lovely Spring flowers.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 12:13PM
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