Photo caption: Arbors can provide a beautiful framework and vertical gardening space for pole beans, melons, or squash in food gardens or serve as a support to climbing roses and flowering vines in garden beds. Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Gardener’s Supply Company
By Melinda Myers
Incorporate arbors, trellises and other structures into your designs when planning new or updating existing gardens and landscapes. These structures help form the framework of any garden, add year-round interest and provide years of beauty and function.
Utilize arbors to define and connect distinct areas of the landscape. Invite visitors into your landscape with a vine-covered arbor. Guests won’t be able to resist the invitation to enter and experience the beauty that lies beyond. Cover these structures with vines for seasonal interest, additional texture and blossoms. Combine two different vines to extend or double your floral display. Plant an annual vine for quick cover with a perennial that takes a year or more to establish and cover the structure.
Beat summer’s heat by creating your own shade with vine-covered arbors. Plant annual or deciduous vines that let the sun and its warmth shine through during the cooler months. When the leaves return, they provide shade and cooler temperatures during warmer times.
Arbors are as much at home in the food garden as the flowerbed. Connect two garden beds with an over-the-top arbor. Grow pole beans, melons or squash up and over the Titan Squash Tunnel (gardeners.com). You’ll expand your gardening space by going vertical and help reduce disease problems by increasing the sunlight and airflow reaching the plants. Secure large fruit to its obelisk with a net, cotton or macramé sling to prevent them from breaking off the vines.
Dress up any home, garage or shed with trellises covered with flowering vines, climbing roses or an espaliered fruit tree. Provide space between the wall and trellis when mounting them to a building. The space reduces the risk of damage to the wall and the plants benefit from the added airflow and light.
Many trellises are works of art in their own right, so when the plants go dormant the structure continues to dress up an otherwise blank wall. Whether you prefer simple squares and diamonds, circles, leaves or ceramic songbirds perched among the branchlike supports of the Enchanted Woods Trellis; select a design that reflects your personality and complements your garden design.
Combine several trellis sections to create a decorative screen or bit of fencing. This is a perfect solution for creating privacy or a bit of vertical interest in any size or shape of garden space. Add colorful glass bottles and contemporary design to a vertical planting with a trellis like Gardener’s Achla Designs Vinifera Bottle Trellis.
Use obelisks as focal points and plant supports in the garden or containers. They’re perfect for creating scale in the garden, especially when new plantings are small and immature. Select a support tall and sturdy enough for the plants you are growing.
Add a bit of beauty and elegance when growing watermelons, cucumbers, pole beans or tomatoes. Train them onto decorative obelisks and they’ll be pretty enough to include in flowerbeds and mixed borders. Add more beauty and a bit of hummingbird appeal with scarlet runner beans. The bright red flowers are followed by green beans that can be eaten fresh or its large seeds harvested and used fresh or dried.
Always consider the function, strength and beauty when selecting structures for your landscape. Team them up with plants suited to your growing conditions and you will benefit from years of enjoyment.
Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by Gardeners Supply for her expertise to write this article. Her web site is www.MelindaMyers.com.