The hop plant

Just over five years ago I was given a “grow your own beer” gift as a present, I followed the instructions and planted it. I wasn’t really expecting beer to grow from or even be produced from this novelty hop seed but thought it would make a nice plant all the same.

It lived indoors for some time, but after a year or so it had been transplanted to a number of bigger pots until it was time to venture outside. It had made a nice house plant but it felt it could be capable of so much more if it was given the freedom to do so. The last put it was transplanted into is the same pot it is in now and it has been outside ever since.

Nothing much happened apart from it being a larger climbing plant in the corner of the garden for a couple of years. I cut it right down each year and it came back a bit stronger each time. It’s roots must have had finally made their way out of the bottom of the pot and to the freedom of the ground as suddenly one year it started climbing along the fence and towards the house. It gave the fence some green colour and so I did’t stop it. I did however chop it right back in the winter.

It clearly liked that because the next year it reached the house within what seemed like just seconds although was a number of weeks (which is still quite quick). Once it had taken the house, it battled out in the other direction next door with his grape vine. The dueling that went on between wine and beer did mean the unwanted grape vine from next door had something to stop it taking over the world. The two together meant neither achieved world domination, keeping a useful stalemate between the two. The poor honeysuckle though, it continues to battle and not die off, but I fear for it’s long term future.

This year I haven’t chopped it right down but instead left the main ‘branches’ on the fence. I’ll give it a year like that and maybe next year chop it right back to the base again like I should. It’s mainly due to me being lazy that I’ve decided to do that, it did take a number of hours just to see the fence again.

No beer, but plenty of colour on a fence what for most of the year is in the shade of the large buddleia bush that towers over it each summer.

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