For a vine to grow up, it must grow up something. A trellis can be that supportive something, as can an arbor, a wall, a tree, a shrub, or even a vine pole. All by its lonesome, this structure is classic in its architectural simplicity. But as the seasons warm and the vine does its vine thing, the pole becomes a swirling mass of green tendrils, outstretched leaves, and eye-high blossoms. Welcome to vertical gardening. Here's how to make a vine pole for less than $25. After an hour or so of craftsmanlike puttering, you may settle in for several hours with a seed catalog.
1. Build pole. From 1 x 4 treated lumber, cut 12 spacers to 3-1/2 x 3-1/2-inch squares. Starting at the top, glue 11 spacers 2-1/2 inches apart between a pair of treated 2 x 4s; the last spacer is flush with the bottom end of the 2 x 4s. (We used Titebond II, a weatherproof glue.) Clamp until the glue dries.
2. Add dowels. Drill holes for the dowels, and glue them. Cut the squares for the top end, and screw them in position. Attach the ball finial with a dowel bolt. (This is a specialty fastener with screw threads on both ends.) Drive it into a pilot hole by gripping the center section of the fastener with locking pliers.
3.Set and plant. Set the completed pole in a hole at least 30 inches deep. The choice of vine? Any will do. Our recommendation? Try a different annual each year and watch them soar.