Arches in the Garden
The idea of arches in the garden may provoke mixed feelings about an old fashioned garden, romantic atmosphere, or an arch that was either misused or created a stunning effect.
Arches have always played a prominent role in architectural themes throughout history. Dating back to ancient civilizations such as the Babylonians of Mesopotamia and later the Egyptians and Greeks, the use of arches as a decorative garden element were very popular in England during the latter 1800’s when Queen Victoria reigned. To this day, arches remain a popular feature for many gardeners.
There are many types of arches whether self-manufactured or bought. It all depends on personal taste at the end of the day. Metal arches, wooden designs, and rustic examples are often found in the countryside.
Furthermore, there are wall arches, arches with planters, benches, arches at garden entrances and along garden pathways. The main idea of incorporating an arch in the garden has mostly been to accommodate a climbing shrub showing off its burst of floral color in its flowering season, or just as support for the branches and foliage in the off season. Special mood can be created in the garden with such green, halfmoon walkways. Certain climbing plants may be able to climb up a wall with tiny adaptive sucker roots clinging on to walls without the need of any support at all, such as ivies, and the Ticky creeper (Ficus pumila).
However, most climbers do need the support of either a wire, wood or metal fence, trellis or framework for the climber to maneuver its branches through the framework. Arches are ideal supports for climbing plants and also look old-worldly and sturdy as standalones.
The below climbers will thank you for providing structures:
- Climbing roses and Banksia Roses.
- Jasminum polyanthum (Pink jasmin)
- Lonicera hecrottii (Honeysuckle)
- Thunbergia alata or T. grandiflora (Black-eyed Susan)
- Wisteria sinensis (Blue rain).
- Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star jasmin)
- Petrea volubilis (Sandpiper Vine)
- Pandorea pandorana
- Distictus spp.
- Gelsemium sempervirens (Caroline jasmin)
- Podranea ricasoliana (Pink trumpet vine)
All these climbers will flourish in Namibian conditions as well, although some might be a bit sensitive to extreme cold or frost. Climbers in general are fairly low maintenance, with just some regular cutting to maintain the volume you prefer. Even in the vegetable garden, arches can be incorporated as a welcoming entrance or an interesting feature with calabash hanging from it. Peas and beans may also be used, even cucumbers which are all climbers, giving your veggie patch a vertical as well as horizontal look.
Arches will never be old-fashioned but will always provide a grand ambience making you feel like Queen Victoria in your own garden.
Eugene le Roux
Cell: 081 124 6965