Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Goya sun curtain

In the summer, my north-facing office window gets blasted by the westering sun from 4 o'clock until sunset. And pretty though it may be, it makes the room very hot. Having whittered on at length about the merits of passive solar architecture, when it came time to build our house we couldn't resist putting most of our windows on the north where the spectacular views are, so now we get the full effects of north winds in winter, and afternoon sun in summer.

This year however, I plan to take shelter behind a curtain of green leaves and weird knobbly gourds. Goya, or bitter gourd, grows prodigiously and climbs up anything. The gourds themselves are very good to eat too, principally with tofu. The plant itself does give off a rather pungent smell when agitated, so it will be interesting to see if the breeze wafts the funky scent of jungle weed into my room.

A couple of hooks in the deck and some more on the roof gable with some string between should provide an adequate support for the goya vine. If all goes well, the missus won't have to ask, "Do we have any goya?" She can see the lovely grotesque gourds a-dangling there when she goes out to hang out the washing.

When I was planning the growth pattern of my goya, I couldn't help humming the melody to Making Plans for Nigel. "Nigel's whole future is as good as sealed... di-doo-doo-doo"

I did think about growing another mokkobara (Rosa banksiae) in this spot as a permanent measure to protect from the sun and wind, but they like full sun in summer and winter. This place only gets full light from around now when the sun is high enough in the sky to reach over the house. If you know of a good plant (vine or evergreen tree) that would thrive in this situation, do let me know. Bamboo of some sort?

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