It was only a matter of time, and not very much at that. The Columbus has now reached the top of the twine stretching from the tomato cage to the shepherd's hook. This means that I have had to implement the next stage of construction. This will hopefully set the stage for some shade over the rest of the summer. I have now stretched some twine over to the poles opposite:
The pic above also gives you an idea of how well the Columbus is doing. Here's the same thing from the side:
Hopefully you can see the twine sloping upwards to the right. You should also be able to see that the bird feeder has been moved over to a hook on the pole too (the one below where the twine has been attached). The cat insisted on being in this one and who am I to turn him down. He'd probably dig something up just to spite me if I didn't include him anyway.
As well as being the tallest, the Columbus is also looking very bushy, with loads of secondary shoots coming out at all levels. On more than one occasion I have had to dissuade it from climbing the maple:
Here's the Cascade, looking thinner and slightly bug-eaten (if you look closely). The new leaves are also visibly much paler in comparison to older ones (this is normal though as far as I can tell):
The Willamette certainly hasn't given up, but is a little way behind. It seems to have taken a while to recover from having it's apical meristem lopped off by some nefarious bird (allegedly):
And this is what the whole lot looks like head on:
Note how the lower hanging basket on the left has been taken over by sunflower seedlings. This and the damage caused by birds landing on the tomato cages were contributing factors in the moving of the bird feeder.
At this point I'm very much hoping that further growth along the twine will happen without any more intervention on my part. My experience last year in Houston with the growth along the balcony leads me to suspect that I will have to give it a helping hand. If that is indeed the case I might be tempted to see what happens when a shoot is forced to grow along a helix of opposite handedness to that which they would normally follow.