Interviewed by Leslie Criss | Photographed by Joe Worthem
Charlie Langford is a Tupelo resident who recently retired after 40 years in the newspaper business. He and his wife, Ginna Parsons, are the parents of three grown children who are out of the house. Still at home are two cats, Leonard and Jack, and Delta rescue dog, Julie. They enjoy traveling, cooking and working in the yard.
Q: Where did you get the idea to design and build trellises?
A: This hobby started about 20 years ago when I came across the book “The Garden Trellis Designs to Build and Vines to Cultivate” by Ferris Cook. It’s a tiny book and beautifully illustrated. The trellis designs got me interested in building my own.
Q: How many have you built? How long does it take to complete one?
A: After 20 years of tinkering, I can now build a trellis in about three hours, start to finish. I learned to build jigs that help with measurements that repeat in a design. This cuts a lot of measuring time. I’ve probably built 50-plus over the years. The carpentry on some of those earlier creations was a little shaky. However, the past two years have been the busiest, especially since we started sending them to other parts of the state. This year most orders, seven in the past month, have come from repeat customers.
Q: What sort of plants need a trellis?
A: Any climbing-type plant, like honey-suckle, roses, trumpet vines, clematis, morning glory and black-eyed Susan vines.
Q: What’s growing on trellises in your yard?
A: We have Jackmanii clematis on several. My mom has a rose growing on one of the first trellises I built that is attached to the side of her house. Some folks don’t use them to support plants, but as decorative yard art. One year, we propped one on the front porch and strung Christmas lights on it.
Q: Do you have plans for additional woodworking/outdoor projects?
A: We refer to spring around our house as trellis season. This is when most people place orders for me to build, but business trails off when the weather heats up. We’re now looking for something to build for the fall. We have some ideas, but haven’t decided.
Q: For anyone interested in purchasing one of your trellises, how may they contact you?
A: You can friend me on Facebook at Charlie Langford and send a private message, or email me at email@example.com.