Saturday, February 23, 2008


Arbors, trellises and pergolas are something I love in the garden. Not only do they add structure and heighth, but they give me something on which I can grow vines. They also can provide some privacy provided they are strategically located.

An arbor versus a trellis versus a pergola can be confusing. For my purposes I define an arbor as a freestanding arch or other structure on which you can grow vines, a trellis is a structure attached to something like a house or building or even an arbor, on which you can grow something, and a pergola is a freestanding or attached structure which you can not only grow vines on, but you can have a party under. As you can see, the words trellises, arbors and pergolas are sometimes interchangeable and leave ALOT to interpretation. This post is about about arbors and growing vines.

I usually use arbors as entranceways into gardens. They define a space within a fence and again, the all important consideration for me, they provide a spot for vines and other flowers to grow on. I do not have alot of sun in my garden so reaching for the sky helps bring the plants up to the sun and aids in that lighting issue.

Good vines I have used on arbors include: Carolina gessimine, clematis, black eyed susan vine, dropmore honeysuckle, silverlace vine, hyacinth bean, cypress vine, sweet autumn clematis, moonvine, and wisteria.

You can make arbors from: wood, metal, PVC pipe, brick, rebar, plastic, and just about any type of material which would hold up well outside. There are many commercially available arbors as well.

These are but a few types of arbors. The first picture is of a wood arbor in Lola's garden in Florida, the second picture is of a huge PVC arbor in my garden (I covered the PVC with chicken wire to enable two vines to grow up it), the third picture is of a metal arbor with four types of clematis growing on it, and the last arbor is a metal arbor which can be seen at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Nashville, Tennessee. That is my Jimster standing under it.

There are many more types and these are but a few. In the interest of shortening my posts and saving a few more arbors for another time; I will finish up this post by saying I'm....

in the garden....enjoying vines and the structures they grow upon.


  1. Arbors do add that extra structural element to the garden. They let you go vertical. I've got to get going on mine soon! That last one from Cheekwood looks like an ancient monolith akin to Stonehenge!

  2. Love em all. I bought a new metal trellis for my seven sisters rose as that wooden does not hold it very good and am hoping I can get the wooden one out and the metal one in without having to cut it down and start over. I have done that too many times and last time it never got as big as it used to.

  3. Mom, save me some escapee shoots from the seven sisters, I have a metal arbor for the over the steps at the rock wall. Would like seven sisters on both sides, it grows good up here, apparently likes it balmy, that way if for some reason you loose yours it will still be available. I'l make that my second project that way David doesn't have to be bothered by mowing around them.

  4. hey all,
    dave, i think the sculpture was intended to be like a monolith. they have a whole trail full of them.

    mom, i know how you love those roses so i hope it works out. i too will someday have some roses on my house. maybe seven sisters. is it white and blooms once a year?

    dawn with peaches, it is easy to root climbing roses from cuttings. you'll have no problem with some shoots from mom.

  5. I agree about the ancient monolith look of the last one.

    Jean how long does the canes on your seven sisters rose get? Mine are 3 chain link fence sections long. I have one in a corner & it grows both ways. Will have to cut it at the house end. I also have 2 more on an arch similar to the 1st pic. that is up & over the arch. Fear I may have to cut those also if they get too long. If it touches the ground it will root. It has light to med. pink colored blooms in clusters of 7 or 8 blooms. Hope you metal arch works.

    Dawn with Peaches,
    That sounds like a great idea by you rock wall. I can vision how pretty it would look.

    Would you please explain the difference between rambling & climbing roses. Mom had one in her back yard when I was a kid--seems it had pink blooms. But it would grow up & then the cames would bend & cascade down like when water hits the top & sprays downward. Wish I had cutting of it but long gone. I just know it was pretty.

  6. hey Tina,

    I like the pvc one covered with wire. A very contemporary statement. Is that a banana tree under it?

    I have made several trellises from tree limbs and honeysuckle branches..they last a season or two and then go to the compost heap.


  7. lola, very good question. ramblers and climbers are pretty similar. first of all, no rose can climb. you have to train them up the arbor or pergola or trellis.

    ramblers will typically spread much more than climbers, and will have smaller bunches of flowers.

    climbers are going to grow fairly straight and maybe not put out as many canes as ramblers, and typically have larger flowers. that is my understanding of them.

    whatever type of rose you get, it is important to research not only what type of growth habit (rambler or climber or shrub or mini), but also how large it will get and how vigorous it grows. this info can be found on the web easily.

    seven sisters is identified by antique rose emporium as a climber. here is another link on climbers/ramblers

    i searched and searched all the databases when i was looking for my climber. found it growing downtown and took a few cuttings and now it is about 10 feet tall, 5 or six canes and only two years old! i may have gotten too much for my money but it was beautiful in bloom. a rambler.

    i hope this helps a little. i don't know an awful lot about roses but am learning. this helps me out to learn!

    gail, that is a musa bajoo growing in the center of the veggie garden. the pvc arbor opens to the garden. it is a massive arbor. i have a sweet autumn clematis on one side and a double carolina gessimine on the other. i am looking for good things from these two vines which can be vigorous, that is why the arbor is so big. it never rusts, but time will tell whether it will get brittle. so far so good. i painted it with the plastic paint. i like green in my garden. had you ever seen a pvc arbor? i bet not. my garden is a little different but works for me!

    i also like branch made arbors but i don't have any! shame on me. you should post some pictures of yours on your blog so i can get some ideas.

  8. Tina,
    Thanks for the info.
    I was told that mine was an old rose. It was given to me. Hers is a mass of rose on her fence. It appeared she just let it go where it wanted & she didn't try to train it. This will be my 2nd yr. to really watch it & see what happens. I had put it on the arch the spring I broke my let. Missed out on all my plants & I had everything a picture. Young'un tried to water but hard as he was recovering from a double transplant, work & see me in nursing home, bring my clothes home to launder & return next visit. He has been a trooper through it all.

    How did you anchor your pvc arch down? Concrete in ground? I have some here that I've wanted to do something with so you've given me an idea. I can make one & put it between corner of house to azelia bushes to give an allusion that there is something further beyond. It would have to be something light. Maybe those beans you sent me. THANKS LOADS.

    Where's the gang tonight?

    Hope all had a lovely day.

  9. Oops. Did it again. Hit wrong button. Anonymous aka Lola

  10. The Saint and I worked on and completed the addition to the wood shed making a nice garage for the riding mower! I am soooo pleased with the way it turned out. The thing flows together so well, it looks as though the addition has always been there! Now the new car will fit in the garage the way it should....

    I was too tired to cook dinner after our hard work so we ran to town and while there we stopped by Lowes again. Picked up supplies to add a potting bench behind the new addition! Ah, the perfect spot to pot things in the shade and not in the shed with a mess to clean up on the floor! Dont know what it is about this time of year but I get so much energy to start little projects...

    Not to gloat, but we had shorts on today! Yes, that nice but calling for a freezing night next week. Arggg, I guess I will take these nice spring like days when we can get them. Beats snow and ice everyone else (but Lola) seems to be getting....

    Love the arbors! We dont have one but would love to build one over the swing in the yard.

  11. The arbors are pretty --we have a pergola --not real fancy but it does provide some shade in the summer. I do envy you Skeeter with those shorts --as I layered on two shirts today when we took the kids for a walk. It felt cooler than it actually was --I think we must have alot of moisture in the air. Hi Jean --hope your staying warm and not getting the snow. Hi Dawn with Peaches --how about you just keep taking the snow for all of us? Well, okay we just get occasional ice and flurries but you can have it. Hi Lola --see my name is so unique --heheheh.
    Hi Tina, as usual I enjoyed your posting --you really have a way with words. I know I've told you that before but it's so true. Enjoy your weekend!

  12. hi lola,
    i recognize your writing by now so i knew it was you! lol. seven sisters IS an old rose. i hope your son? is fine and on the mend. sounds like a real trooper.

    good question on the pvc. i just happened to have two 4x4s concreted into the ground the right distance apart. i slid the arbor over them. i measured to make sure the pipe would fit first. i needed 6 inch pipe to go over the 4x4s. it has worked well. not sure what it will do when i get some vine weight on there though. we'll see.

    not sure where my mother and dawn with peaches is. skeeter and anonymous are here. nina is probably still busy. my computer internet has been acting up so i am late.

    skeeter, i am SO happy for you as you sound like ONE contented lady tonight. i know you are like me, such joy when everything in the garden is tucked in safely. i like the pictures. i will post them sometime. i am especially looking forward to seeing the potting bench. shade is a must, you got the right idea.

    you can gloat anytime, we love to hear about the warm weather when we are having cold and will return the favor when you are sweltering (we in tennessee will be too though). maybe mom and dawn can talk about the coolness in maine. nothing better than summers in maine.

    btw...kennebunkport it is! i don't know how to spell it either! good going!

  13. hey anonymous, like i said, my computer is acting up. staying in the house today to do the house. urgh! painting trim, hanging curtains. not like me but occasionally i do it. maybe tomorrow it will be warmer and i can stay outside all day! and not feel so guilty! it was cold today. cold and yucky. i expect you are out everyday and it is good for you. any daffys blooming in your yard yet?

  14. one more comment from me, sorry guys. i saw someone (anonymous) left a comment on a post i did last year. was that you lola? i am not sure how it was done since it isn't displayed. let us know if that was you. the person talked about liquid aerify as an amendment. how did they get that post???

    another aside, angela, enjoy the houseplants. if you need any more, let me know as i don't particularly like them and can't seem to figure out how they keep multiplying!:) before long the inside of my house will be as green as the outside! the problem is of course they shed leaves and i have to actually water-not mother nature!

  15. Dawn when you are here you can take what you want. Brian Sara and Josh were here today and Sara asked if they could have his 1st birthday here and I told her I would be honored. So why don't you play on coming down then and you can help me put the new trellis up and take what you want then. April 13th. I will cook a meal for everyone but not sure if noon time or night time. Whatever they want. I usually clean it out at about that time every year anyway but did not get it done last year.

    Tina you should see that grandson of yours. He never stops walking.
    Does not wanna sit at all. His hair is so long, curley and red. I
    told him he got it from his Grammie. Just like he knew what I was talking about! He laughed anyway.

    Tina and Lola it is a med. to bright pink and at one time was over the roof of my house but I cut it down to the ground 3 different times. My mother and I dug a little piece of it at a summer cottage here in town that had no one living in it one summer. Just took a tiny bit. It has small clusters and smells so darn good and has a full bloom once a year and the rest of the summer it has some clusters here and there.

    Tina I also like the PVC arbor. Very neat idea and I don't think it will rust. We used to put a Christmas Tree with lights in front of the garage every year and David dug a hole and put PVC pipe in the ground to put the tree in. Worked great. Tree stood straight as an arrow thur many a noreaster.
    The PVC pipe stayed in year round and never rusted. Got the idea to do that from Uncle Chuck as he did it for Aunt Marion.

    Anonymous the snow is not too bad. We did get a little more that a dusting yesterday, maybe 2 inches but it was very warm today. Went out on the porch with the kids and I was in bare arms and not cold. Next 2 days are to be the same and then another storm.

    Oh I almost forgot Tina but as I told you I am not sure I have a pic of kids in the garden but I will look in the morning. But I put a couple of house plants on the coffee table today and let Josh water them and Sandra took a pic. But then she had to go to work so she will send it tomorrow.

  16. Skeeter,
    Glad you got you addition finished. I bet it looks great. It's rained for last 2 nights plus here so too wet to try anything in yard. Pergola over the swing would be great.

    I know the old finger just pops there without me looking. lol

    I thought you would know me by now. Gosh, I already have 4x4's there but not in concrete. They are the tops of an old clothes line posts. I would have to remove the arms {of which I have hanging pots on}. Maybe that would work for a light weight vine.
    Hope you get your puter straightened out. It sure can drive a person crazy sometime.

    Hi Jean & Dawn with Peaches where ever you are. Nina's having a ball.

    Hope all had a lovely day. Have a restful night.

  17. Hi guys, Watched my son and his girl yesterday, seems you can't leave them alone when young and again later on in life, teenagers. Like his friend she is nice and spoiled. One of the five diabetics in the school, 4 of them in his grade. Anyway heading off to get the stove and fridge. Later.

  18. wow mom, your hand must be feeling better. good deal.

    send the picture of josh right away. i took one from my space but of him at thanksgiving, but would rather have an up to date one. how about joanne? let me know.

    i did look up seven sisters and it said it is named for the different shades of pink it blooms. i don't believe i have ever seen yours in flower. not sure why.

    hi lola,
    yup, i know your writing. anonymous gets confused seeing her name there but we all understand. she definitely couldn't figure out when she bought stainless steel when dawn with peaches accidentally published anonymous. neither could i until dawn told us! lol

    if you do a pvc arbor over your clothesline, make sure the pipes fit snug. you don't want it bouncing around. but it would work great. put some chicken wire on it so the vines can grow up.

    you and mom posted about the same time. hi everyone else. i had a great night. the pups let us sleep until after 7 am! i put a pillow in their crate and that must've lulled them into dreamland a little deeper. they are so happy to have the pillow. and you know what? they now usually go to their crate when i call them. especially bruiser. i love that dog so much. hubby likes cj, and jimmy likes baby. two are gone thursday. baby will follow soon. we'll be sad to see them go but know they will have good homes. they better!

  19. Very good Skeeter and I think but not sure that Kennebunkport is the correct spelling. You were the only one that even answered. Now, their place is on a point and they mention that almost as much as Kennebunkport. What is the name of the Point? Tina do you know that?

  20. Tina, It wasn't me that left that comment. I have no clue as to what aerify is.

    Would that be Walkers Point, Jean.

    Yeh, gotta watch those teenagers all the time. Sad so many are diabetic. Young'un use to be--since his transplant {Pancreas & Kidney} he is no longer a diabetic. Fought it since he was 15. Uncontrollable diabetic.

  21. dawn with peaches, i didn't miss your comment, it must've logged right after i did. better watch that boy and his girl!

    mom, i have no idea what point you are talking about. is lola right?

    wonder who it was who posted on aerify-when it is archived? it will remain a mystery for now. i just thought it would be nice to let others access the old posts.

  22. Yep, I'll answer before mom does because I was racking my brain to figure the point, and Lola is right, Walkers Point.
    I am thinking of a pvc trellis? Next to vinyl siding, just for a climber rose. I thought the rambler bloomed every other year(unless cut back) and the climber was every year, even sparse blooms throughout the summer. Either way I want a trellis to match the siding, Mom, told you I would make you a copper trellis, has to be a arbor and go away from the house because of patina.(sp) when the thing turns green!

  23. Forgot to tell Lola, how wonderful your young'un has recovered so well! Out of the 4 diabetics in my sons high school, two came from our town. Zacks good friend is a semi-uncontrollable diabetic, and worse, he can't feel when he is low. Zack has caught him a couple times. He's a great kid. Zack is used to this, (more than me) his girl had a cancerous birthmark removed when she was two then her parents discovered her diabeties. (i think she spent too many hours it the o.r.) She is a only child and gives Zack a run for his money! Has lots of drama. Hee, hee.

  24. Yup as Dawn with Peaches is Walkers Poing. Good going Lola!

    Dawn, I do not remember you ever saying you would make me an arbor or trellis. But, GO FOR IT!!!

  25. Dawn with Peaches,
    It's great that Zack is around & knows what to do. Young'un's grandson even at a very young age of 3 knew when Papa was in trouble. And would ask him "Papa did you take your medcine". Even driving one time Anthony was feeding his Papa candy because Anthony knew he needed it. It is very, very hard on a parent to watch your child suffer with this disease--even harder on the child. It got so bad I had to call rescue to the house. One time no blood sugar reading at all. Shot of D-50 & he's off & running. I must admit since he moved back in with me he has faired better. Now it's anti-reject meds. A lot of them.
    Sorry, didn't mean to rattle on so.

    Jean, copper would look real good. Not hard to make one yourself. It looks better when it turns green. I don't think it would take long in Maine.

    Tina I looked up aerify & it is an amendment. I think you can buy it in liquid form. I've never heard of it before. Will read more about it later. Would be interesting to know who it was.

  26. hey all, copper trellises are beautiful! i love the patina. dawn with peaches, copper goes with everything!

    mom, walkers point..never knew it.

    lola, it is ok on the comment. comments are always good. i just didn't know how they accessed it as that post was a long time ago.

  27. heck ya, a copper trellis would be a magnificent sight in my big yard.
    Jack of all Trades made me a big copper windchime several years ago and I still have it on the front deck.

  28. Its hung over the b-b-q so it did not patina as well. We have copper left from jobs, most of it went to the recycling (kind that pays you) last April, it shouldn't take long to get more

  29. jack of all trades should make both you AND dawn with peaches some copper trellis. and heck, while he's at it, he can make me one too!

  30. From what I've read it had to be someone with a subscription to that part.
    I checked out local wal-mart for milorganite & they didn't have any. Have you found any supply yet? I did. Will call first to make sure they have on hand before I drive.

    Jack of all trades could make some money on the side.

  31. lola, i actually haven't looked yet. i probably won't need it until the fall but will find it. i keep hearing about milorganite in all of my gardening magazines. sounds good. does it work well for you? how long does it stink?