Originally uploaded by kimberlyfaye
I’m not sure whether to spell it “tipi” or “teepee” but either way you know what I mean, and you will have a lively family activity creating a living tipi with walls of beans and morning glories. This will be a sanctuary where your kids read a book, take a nap or day dream of adventures involving cowboys, pirates, Native Americans and world wide and interplanetary heroic escapades.
First you need to buy or find the tallest tipi stakes you can, from ten to fifteen feet tall. Bamboo garden stakes, metal rods or wooden stakes all work well.
Once you have your three to ten stakes, select a sunny garden spot and clear it to bare dirt. Insert the stakes several inches into the soil, to give them a strong footing, and leave a space for a doorway, so kids can enter their tipi. Cover the tipi’s future floor with a thick layer of mulch.
My favorite mulch for this is cocoa bean shells which smell of chocolate. The mulch will prevent weeds from growing and creates a comfy resting spot.
Tie the stakes together at the top to create the triangular tipi appearance.
Now you can pick which vines you want to twine up along the stakes and create the tipi walls. Good choices are Morning Glory and Scarlet Runner bean seeds.
These are vigorous and showy vines, and the Scarlet Runner beans are both ornamental and edible. If you are create this garden feature with children, encourage them to choose which seeds to plant. There are many more selections beyond beans and morning glories.
Scarlet Runner beans have flowers of splashy crimson, and are often grown solely for their flowers. If you want to eat them, pick the beans young while they are still tender. Everyone loves hummingbirds and these little flying jewels adore the nectar in Scarlet Runner beans, another point in this bean’s favor at our house. The vines reach from eight to twelve feet tall.