Before the inspiration could fade, I decided to take a stab at constructing those twig teepees to support our new tomato plants, as an alternative to the circular cages you get at the hardware store. The first step was sorting through the raw material: this heap of yard waste moldering in the small lot behind our house.
I used pruning shears to trim off protruding branches, and brought a bundle of different lengths and thicknesses back up to the porch.
Once I started working with them, it was clear that the thinner branches were best for my purposes -- easier to trim, more flexible, and sufficiently sturdy to support the plant (I hope). Forming the tent shape was trickier than I expected, as even the slight curve of the branches affected the way they all came together at the top.
Crazy ballooning "teepee":
I used some copper wire I had lying around to fasten the twigs at the top, for a decorative touch:
Twine wrapped around the branches to help support the growing plant:
We'll see how they work. I can't decide if the finished effect is more "rustic cottage garden" or "Blair Witch II: Haunted Porch." It would probably look better with three teepees instead of two, the same way a bouquet of flowers looks best with an odd number of blooms. Perhaps a good excuse to add one more tomato variety to the mix.
In other gardening news, the morning glory tendrils have already found their way around the nearest guiding length of twine. How do they know how to do that? The sweet peas were not quite as enterprising, and needed another nudge in the right direction this morning.