Years ago, when visiting a friend in Tacoma, we toured the Lakewold gardens. Near the back door was a trellis screen covered with a vine such as I had never seen before. The leaves were not only variegated, they were variegated in pink and white. I said I had to have this vine which turned out to be a hardy kiwi, Actinidia kolomkita.
The fact to remember about all Actinidias is that they require cross pollination by a male plant in order to make fruit. I was not really interested in the tiny fruits so I did not worry about buying a single vine. I wanted the pretty foliage.
In his book Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden Lee Reich calls these ‘lusty vines’ and as you can see from the photo that may be an understatement.
I planted my hardy kiwi behind the hardy roses in the Shed Bed to give some interest to the area after the roses’ brief bloom period. It has done precisely that. Sometimes visitors to The Annual Rose Viewing are more interested in the vine than the roses.
The Shed Bed has fairly rich soil (its right next to the chicken house) that drains well. It has not been bothered by pests or disease, and according to Lee Reich, once the plant is established it is trouble free. The biggest problem is pruning to keep the new shoots and branches under control – easy enough to do at the lower levels, but I’m now going to need a ladder.