Horizontal Gardening

In the center, you can see the old arbor, made of poles and wire panels.I like arbors, they are perfect for growing things horizontally, not just roses but beans, clematis, vining spinach, bitter melon, gourds, squash and lots more. You can grow a crop of many vegetables in a very small foot-space, by using trellises and arbors. This one, shown above and below, has been in place for 6 or 8 years. I first put it there between two beds that had tomatoes in both.

Closer view of the arbor that's about to be replaced

I've grown a number of crops on that little arbor. Two years it's been planted with Potawatamie Lima beans, a Native American variety I found from a trader at the annual Rendezvous at Fort deChartres in Illinois. Several years I've grown both green and red varieties of Malabar vining spinach there. The arbor was built of ash saplings, screwed and wired together, and covered with metal cattle panels. But the poles have finally rotted and it was time to replace the arbor with something more substantial. Our architectural style here on the farm is what we've dubbed, "Chi-Zarks," and sometimes simply, "Chi-Zarkian," combining the slightly Chinese/Asian influence, with Ozarks farm architecture. So we drew up a sketch on a board, for an arbor that would fit with the other pieces already in the garden. For example, the gazebo, below, we added 3 years ago. You can see the gateway in the right corner, also Chi-Zarkian in style.

Gazebo under construction 3 years ago. Note the gateway arbor on the right

The gazebo as it is now, fitting in well with the garden plants.So the new arbor - you can just barely see the old one on the right side of the above photo - needed to fit within the Chi-zarkian style of everything else in the garden. George Hudson and I conspire on building things, starting with simple sketches and making adjustments as he builds and I watch. George can building absolutely anything.

George Hudson, working on the new arbor

That's George, in the middle of the garden, working on the new arbor. If you stand in front of the rose trellis you see on the left, it lines up perfectly with the new arbor he's building. Maybe sunlight on the summer solstice will align perfectly with, who knows what...the rose bush?

The newly-completed arbor, above, ready for planting

I think the new arbor blends in like it's always been there. Good job, George! Yesterday I planted a Weeks Fourth of July rose and a Rebecca clematis. The Fourth of July rose is a fragrant, edible, climber (clematis are not edible, however). You can find lots of my recipes for eating roses in my book, How to Eat a Rose, available from my website.

Clematis, 'Rebecca' a re-blooming clematis

Now the new arbor will be home to this fragrant rose and the roses will be featured in cakes, teas, desserts, ice creams, salads and more.

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