above: early February 2016 after the runner bean vines have died back
below: July 2015 at the height of flowering of the runner beans
This work is currently installed on Plot 20 in The Burgoyne Valley Community Farm at 2232 Fulford Ganges Road, east of Reid Creek, on Salt Spring Island. The trellis is roughly in the centre of this modified scene, just south-west of the West Gate.
The dimensions are roughly 9 meters x 3 meters and extending at times to a height of 7 meters. Some of the vines may well establish as perennials and the local, dead wood, harvested from the riparian forest along Reid Creek, is already beginning to break down — contributing more nutrients such as nitrogen to a clay soil that is depleted by partial water-logging and standing water in the winter. The trellis will be replanted next year but the design will change as the height increases to support the long vines.
This traditional variety of Scarlet Emperor Runner Bean, that was only planted on June 10, 2015, started blossoming massively on this trellis on July 24. Many honey bees and some hummingbirds are now enjoying the trellis.
2015 June 28 Burgoyne Valley trellis
salmon smoking rack bean trellis, 2015, Burgoyne Valley Community Farm
This project explores the sculptural side of a living, plant-centred installation (and intervention). In this case, the garden plot of KEXMIN field station at the Burgoyne Valley Community Farm, supports some experimental plantings of an early variety of Scarlet Emperor Runner Bean, Phaseolus coccineus, that some people in the region are trying to ‘perennial-ize’ with the mild and warming winters of Salt Spring Island. And within this context, the traditional salmon (and other seafood) fisheries in the area are in decline and under increasing pressure. The trellis is made of dead standing Red alder, Alnus rubra, in the adjacent riparian woodland and harkens back to the traditional Salish salmon smoking racks that Brochu-Ingram knew from his childhood in Saanich.
This phase of the project, and the documentation, was developed by Brochu-Ingram with four hours of advising and assistance of Alex Grünenfelder. This installation involves well over 100 feet and 30 metres of trellis and so far, as it develops, has required over 100 hours of construction. As the beans grow higher, so does the trellis. In the work in Geneva, we hope to explore the necessity and aesthetics of installations based on local vernaculars and materials.