Twig Tuteur

Sturdy Vine Support for Assertive Scramblers

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A twig tuteur is similar to an obelisk, but sturdier and more rigid. Twigs to make a tuteur will need to be thicker and stronger, to hold their shape and the weight of a more robust vine.

Twig Tuteur

I’ve seen these made out of cedar and placed over a ‘Versailles’ planter – a square box with feet on the bottom to hold them up off the ground.

The look is that of a formal topiary shape once the planted vines cover and fill the tuteur.

Making a twig tuteur out of willow or other twigs adds a country air to your garden, and as it ages and darkens, it provides character.

Adapting some of the same methods to build a twig tuteur as a twig trellis you can make several of these in an afternoon to plant beans or peas on them in the vegetable garden.

To start making your twig tuteur, first decide on its function. Will it go on top of a large box or container?

Or directly in the ground?

Confirming these choices will mean a difference in the ultimate height - in most cases, if the container is 30-50cm (12-18") tall, then the top of the tuteur is best at about 1.5 meters (~5').

Any taller than this and there is a danger of it blowing over in a wind storm – a disaster if you have a precious vine growing up it.

  • Start with five or seven thumb sized long twigs, and arrange them in a circle, tying the tops together with a piece of wire. You must have an odd number to make the weaving part work properly. 
  • Don’t worry about completely finishing the wire as it’s just to hold the pieces in place.  See more about wire techniques for crafts.
  • Make sure the canes are all equally space and upright.
  • Starting at the base, wind a long grapevine in front of one cane, then behind the next. Eventually you’ll end up back where you started, but keep going, this time going behind the ones you were in front of last time.
  • After several wraps, the tuteur will be fairly secure.
  • Leave a space and start wrapping more grapevine around, packing it down fairly firmly.

Once you’re sure that the twig tuteur will stand up to use, install it in your container, or the garden for planting.

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