Saturday, 23 April 2022

Teepee, Tipi or Tippi?

So I got out  Huw's book to check my April tasks, and realised it was time to construct a support for my runner beans. My broad beans are now out of the greenhouse and flourishing happily in the Raised Bed, but the newly planted runners have yet to germinate. Apart from the two which came from Kezzie's seed packet and some of you kindly identified for me. Yes, definitely runner beans, red flowers and all. 
I bought a pack of 10 canes and a circular support thing from the garden centre. H says "use 8 canes, for your 8 plants, to build a wigwam with an 18" base". I am not sure how many will germinate, and the support has 10 slots. So we will go decimal on this one.
I drew a circle round a tray, and marked out 10 points, then wrestled all the canes into place. I practised in the Futility Room [not wanting my efforts to be laughed at by passing dog walkers]
Then I went and planted it firmly in rows 8&9 as instructed, and thought about wigwams.
Here's the thing - wigwam is a term used by Native Americans in the North East. They are dome shaped in structure and intended to be relatively permanent, used by settled tribes. But teepees [sometimes spelt tipis] are the conical ones, and used by Native Americans of the Great Plains and much more portable, so used by nomadic tribes. 

I never knew about the different shapes, did you? In my childhood, the picture books all showed the conical ones and called them 'wigwams' [and incorrectly referred to their residents as "Indians" even though they had never been to that subcontinent] Furthermore, some tribes [eg the Arawak and Wampanoag] were genuinely welcoming towards the European invaders settlers, and not as warlike as some make out.

Conclusion - Kezzie's beans are growing up a tipi., and hopefully there will be a few other plants joining them soon.
There is of course the word Tippi - which is the name of a filmstar - Tippi Hedren, who starred in Hitchcock's 1963 horror movie "The Birds". The film is set in California. although Daphne Du Maurier's original 1952 book is firmly placed in Cornwall.
Tippi is 92 now - here she is with her daughter Melanie Griffith, and grand-daughter Dakota Johnson, both well known actresses themselves. My favourite MG film is Working Girl when she co-stars with Sigourney Weaver and Harrison Ford. I'm not so sure about DJ [I suppose if Grandma made her name in black&white movies, it made sense for her to star in the '50 Shades of Grey' trilogy. None of which I have any desire to watch] I won't include a clip here from The Birds [it is scary, and also I want to keep the birds away from my beans]
However, Carly Simon won an Oscar for her brilliant theme song for Working girl, and this clip has a few gratuitous shots of Harrison Ford [here playing a sharp suited businessman not an Amish farmhand] Just look at those crazy 1980s fashions and tap your feet to the song. Enjoy...


  1. I'm sure your climbing beans will do fine and you should get quite a crop from one 'tipi'. A lot of (connected) topics in one post! Are you familiar with 'flight of ideas'?!

  2. Very good! Your beans will be very happy.

  3. Love your preciseness at drawing round a tray and spacing the canes out.
    I do a shove it in the ground any-old-how wigwam and every year the wind blows it over!

    1. I can't help it - I'm a retired maths teacher!!

  4. I hope your runner beans will enjoy running up their teepee and reward you with lots of tasty beans! :)

  5. I've used an upturned plastic flower pot to hold my canes in place. I wrangle the ends of the sticks through the holes. My beans, tomatoes and most of my peas are being started off by a greenfingred friend who sows seeds for the whole church!

    1. The holes in the pot idea is a clever one. One friend at church has said she will let me have some courgette seedlings soon

  6. We planted our runner beans against a section of metal fencing - but all of those dead vines at the end of the season where a nightmare to disconnect from the amazing tangle in the fencing.

    I LOVE "Let the River Run" so thanks for the video to start the morning right!


  7. I hope it will be possible to lift out the entire structure at the end of the season and cut away the dead bits and save the canes for next year. I am so glad you like that song too!

  8. I love learning about words so thank you for sharing.

    I admit it, I'm buying runner bean plants because I know my limits!


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