Slinky Hack and Trellis for a Favorite Flowering Vine

I’m sharing my favorite flowering summer vine and a creative way to help it climb that I discovered, with a Slinky!

Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata) is a favorite easy-to-grow flowering summer annual and an excellent climber for a trellis or fence. No relation to Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), it climbs 8 to 10 feet in a single growing season, and up to 20 feet in frost-free areas, Zones 10 and 11.

This is my fourth summer with Black-eyed Susan vine. It blooms all summer until frost, which is typically November here in North Carolina. Last year I planted it to climb up a ladder as a trellis.

The wood ladder lived a hard 4 years in the garden and was repaired twice before finally being laid to rest this spring.

This year I planted the vine on a 3 foot tuteur and trained it to climb up a birdhouse pole next to the tuteur with the help of a Slinky.

The Slinky hack is one I discovered in Garden Gate Magazine in the readers’ tips section. Incidentally, if you have a garden tip, you can submit to Garden Gate, and if published, receive $25. You can also ask questions and get help with a design challenge.

My birdhouse pole is 6 feet tall and 2 inches in diameter. I lifted the birdhouse from the pole (after I made sure no one was residing in the birdhouse) and slid the Slinky over the pole.

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The Slinky stretched easily back up to the top of the pole. I bent the end of the Slinky with pliers to wrap around a wood screw I placed on the base of the birdhouse. For added insurance, I added a cable tie attaching the end of the slinky to the screw and cut off the extra length.

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I used cable ties at the bottom of the pole to secure the Slinky to keep from springing back up.

What I like about this Slinky trellis is that the silver metal disappears to the eye while the vine is growing.

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I guided the Black-eyed Susan vine over to the Slinky and watched it climb around and through the Slinky.

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Black-eyed Susan vine is long blooming, heat tolerant and doesn’t require deadheading. The most common varieties are yellow or orange, but you can find it available in other colors by seed.

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It prefers full to part sun, with afternoon shade ideal here in the hot, sunny South. Water it until established and then weekly during the heat of the summer and you’ll be rewarded with blooms all summer long until frost! Blooms slow during the heat of summer, but pick back up in the fall.

I added the Slinky the end of June and the Black-eyed Susan vine climbed the 6 feet to the top of the pole in about 4 weeks time.

You can also see a pink Morning Glory that volunteered and is intertwined with the Black-eyed Susan.

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A pair of Carolina Wrens have since moved in and said they like curb appeal and landscaping the vine offers.

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The garden has been thirsty and benefiting from our much-needed 3 inches of rain we received last week.

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Mother Nature has been fickle over the last couple of weeks, with areas around us flooding while we wait for rain headed our way and then watch the system magically part like the Red Sea and go around us, leaving us dry.

I was happy to have a break from lugging the hose and have some relief from the heat.

We’re heating back up this week with the heat index in 100+ degree range with the humidity.

Some of the Limelight Hydrangea blooms are the size of footballs!

More than 300 million Slinkys have been sold since its introduction in 1945.

I found my Slinky at Target for $3.

Here’s a little history of the Slinky. I apologize in advance if you can’t get the jingle out of your head. ;)

“It’s Slinky, It’s Slinky. The favorite of girls and boys. Everyone wants a Slinky.”

Chalking It Up to Bees and Flowers Around the Potting Shed, here.

Thank you for your visit, sharing with:

 Metamorphosis MondayThe Scoop,
Gardens GaloreStyle Showcase

  43 comments for “Slinky Hack and Trellis for a Favorite Flowering Vine

  1. August 6, 2018 at 7:33 am

    Mary, Everyone wants a Slinky now after seeing it in your garden! Genius and thanks for the step by step photos showing it as it grows. I’m loving those big beautiful hydrangea blooms too!

  2. Vicky
    August 6, 2018 at 7:35 am

    I’m going out to buy a good supply of Slinky’s today! Thanks for the great idea!

  3. Linda GOODYEAR
    August 6, 2018 at 7:38 am

    Great idea Mary!!

  4. Granny Gay:)
    August 6, 2018 at 7:50 am

    What a neat idea for all vines…thanks again for sharing, Mary….off to buy a slinky!

  5. August 6, 2018 at 7:51 am

    If “Everyone didn’t want a SLINKY” before they read your piece, they will now!! Thank you for an informative PSA!! Your gardens look wonderful even with a slight drought!! I too am a hose lugger! HAPPILY! 🦋🍄🌺🌻🌸🌼

  6. August 6, 2018 at 7:51 am

    Brilliant Mary, I love this idea! I remember the Slinky and the jingle in the commercials, and yes, it will play a loop in my head now all morning :)

  7. Coleen
    August 6, 2018 at 8:02 am

    How clever and perfect!

  8. August 6, 2018 at 8:09 am

    Mary, most of the blogs I follow are beautiful and entertaining. Yours is the most informative!

  9. August 6, 2018 at 8:16 am

    That’s a great idea!!! I love my black-eyed Susan vines, but have only been growing them up a boring old trellis!

  10. August 6, 2018 at 8:17 am

    A slinky! That’s a great idea for encouraging a trailing vine! How neat to have a blooming vine going up to your birdhouse. Will the black eyed susan vine come back next year?
    I think a wren family is in my blue bird box again. They built one year in my walking iris plant on my porch and it was fun to watch them.
    All your plants look heathy despite the drought. Glad you got some rain. We have been at the beach this week but my rain gauge showed 2 1/2 inches.
    Your limelights look so pretty. Blossoms as big as footballs are amazing! Lovely photos.I love the butterfly on your limelight.

  11. Barb Zuleski
    August 6, 2018 at 8:28 am

    We love your slinky vine trick, I am sharing it with my garden club this evening… thank you!

  12. Cristy Bennett
    August 6, 2018 at 8:34 am

    Happy to see you are growing your black-eyed Susan vine this year…cool idea using a slinky! It is beautiful! As I shared with you earlier this summer, I planted two of these vines (yellow flower) this year after seeing your post from last year. Each are on their own obelisk trellis. I love the vertical height each gives in my garden. They are doing well in spite of our heat and drought conditions here in Michigan. Glad to learn that the flowers are affected by the heat. I have been thinking I need to fertilize more. Thank You for sharing your green thumb talents and inspiring garden ideas!

  13. Rita C.
    August 6, 2018 at 8:43 am

    This is so brilliant, thank you for sharing! ♫♪It’s slinky, it’s slinky…..♪♫ oy, it’s stuck.
    Also brilliant is that photo capture of the wren tiptoeing onto the ledge outside the birdhouse entry! Love that!

  14. Nancy
    August 6, 2018 at 8:54 am

    Thank you for your wonderful ideas. I just received a beautiful trellis with copper ornamentation on top this weekend. The black-eyed Susan is a good suggestion, and I really like the slinky idea.

  15. August 6, 2018 at 9:16 am

    Wow Mary, that jingle sure brought back memories of the slinky!! What a great idea of using the slinky for helping the vine climb. I need to remember the black-eyed Susan vine since it is heat tolerant. I love seeing the Carolina wrens that have taken up residence in pretty birdhouse…I don’t blame them!! May you have a happy week of gardening, Mary. xx

  16. Pam Schrantz
    August 6, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Thanks for the awesome idea and photos!!

  17. Cyndi Raines
    August 6, 2018 at 9:42 am

    Thank You! What an awesome idea! Next time to town, I’ll be stopping at Target. My Morning Glory vine is doing great, love the Heavenly Blue version. I was too late this year to purchase the Black-eyed Susan vine, they were all gone, but I really enjoyed last year’s and discovering the deep hole in the center of the flower! Note to self for next year, get to the greenhouses a bit earlier so I can purchase a bright yellow version. Thanks Mary, Love the little wren!

  18. August 6, 2018 at 9:56 am

    Simply a brilliant idea! Love your black-eyed susan vine. You have given me great inspiration for another year ~ thank you!

  19. August 6, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Brilliant tip…love it. All the lushness you have must be hard to deal with for dry weather. We, too have had rain all around us for a month. TODAY, first measurable rain since the 4th of July…YAY!

  20. Donna Milazzo
    August 6, 2018 at 11:04 am

    Another use for Slinky! One I’ve heard is to attach them on the pole beneath a bird feeder. The squirrels can’t climb the pole and watching them try is entertaining. I have to move my Black-eyed Susan vine because mine was too close to my bird feeder and giving the rats a way to get on them. Maybe I’ll give this a try in another location. Thanks as always for the inspiration and stay cool!

  21. Nancy
    August 6, 2018 at 11:38 am

    What a great hack! Thank you for all the info on the black eyed Susan vine. I have never grown one but now you have peeked my interest and it’ll be on next years list. I also adore your tuteur with the little watering can man on top. Where did you find such a treasure? I so enjoy your blog, all the gorgeous pictures, and wonderful tips, like slinky’s, that you share.

  22. Betty Butkiewicus
    August 6, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Mary what a great idea. I use it on my bird feeders, trying to keep the squirrel’s from raiding.

  23. Betsy
    August 6, 2018 at 11:46 am

    Everyone at the Slinky factory will be wondering why sales suddenly increased!

    I am in complete envy of the beautiful hydrangea blooms! Our hydrangea season is over thanks to multiple weeks In triple digit heat. Always my favorite flower in the yard and in arrangements; yours are gorgeous!

  24. August 6, 2018 at 11:59 am

    Great idea and fantastic post!

  25. Linda
    August 6, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    I’ve loved Slinkys for as long as I can remember! Your idea for the garden is great! I want to try it! I’ll have to have two – one to train vines on and one to play with! Thanks for you post – I like the Blak-eyed Susan vine.

  26. Laurie
    August 6, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    Just brilliant!!🌺🌸

  27. Kathy M
    August 6, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    What a great idea for using a slinky for climbing vines. Glad you got some rain. We got about eight inches all told in Greensboro but now the sun has returned along with alot of heat
    and humidity. The weeds are loving it. More info on the blacked eyed Susan vine. Check around the area they were planted last year. I always find volunteers and have dug and moved them successfully. Also quite easy to start from seed . Great plant and so heat tolerant.

  28. Cathy Wright
    August 6, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    When will you order your seeds for next year?

  29. August 6, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    I remember how amazing your black-eyed Susan vine was last year! It is truly amazing, as is your ladder trellis with all of the watering cans! I love that slinky idea! That was such a creative idea! Next year I can garden as our backyard construction will be finished!

  30. August 6, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    Such a fun post, slipping back into my childhood, great bird shots, stunning garden and clever tricks, what’s not to love! At least you get rain, ca never gets rain until late fall, I am dragging daily, Scott gets a new sprinkler station working and I then plant a new area with no water, I never get ahead of this water game!

  31. Sheran
    August 6, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Love your post! And what an awesome picture of the bird ‘stepping out’ of his house!
    The butterfly with the limelight hydrangea is also stunning.

  32. August 6, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    I have a purple bean vine growing up and pole and now across the deck railing! This is my first year having it. My neighbor has the black eyed susan vine in yellow and I love it and will try it next year too. Thanks for the idea of the slinky!

  33. August 7, 2018 at 6:05 am

    Mary, your black eyed Susan vine is just beautiful, the color is divine. I haven’t heard of the slinky trick, but it certainly works. Next year this vine will be added to my garden. I will be singing the song for the rest of the day😊. A walk through your garden is always pure pleasure with so many lush plants. Your limelights are thriving and they remain a favorite of mine. Your wren capture is amazing. I am so glad you received rain. We had a lot of rain last week and extremely hot weather that followed. I think I am ready for autumn. Thank you for joining Gardens Galore. Have a wonderful week❤️

  34. Sharon
    August 7, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Oh gosh, that will be in my head all day!! What a great idea I’m going to go out and get some slinkies for next year. This was the first year I didn’t have a black eyed susan vine, miss them. I’ll be ready for next year Your garden is always inspiring, I’m steeling your ladder and watering can idea !

  35. Linda L Hovgaard
    August 7, 2018 at 11:25 am

    What a “fun” post! I didn’t get a black-eyed Susan vine in this year and I miss it. Can’t wait to try the slinky hack. I remember getting a slinky when I was a child and just loving it! You brought back great memories and now I can get another slinky and use it as an adult…how fun. What a summer……I live in Oregon and this is the dryest, hottest summer I can remember. I can relate to lugging those hoses around…..better get out there now. Thanks for always making my day with your posts.

  36. Marie in AZ
    August 7, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    What a great tip! Love it!

  37. August 8, 2018 at 6:27 am

    A slinky?!!…genius!…I think I shall definitely plant the Black-eyed Susan vine in the next house. I did not have much luck with the Confederate Jasmine in the last one….your gardens are truly beautiful and lush…we have been having lots of rain here lately…and every time I see your little garden lady..it makes me smile!! Have a great day Mary!

  38. Barbara Hearn Hearn
    August 8, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    I loved all the flowers and the birds, but the thing that caught my eye was your adorable dogs. Are they poodles?? They are just so cute!

    • August 8, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      Thank you Barbara, no they’re Bichons 🐾🐾😀

  39. Cyndi
    August 13, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    Wow! What a STUNNING garden! We just bought our forever home in December, I hope to have a beautiful again one day.

Thank you for your comments~ they make my day ♥

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