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SHARING SECRETS: Garden Structures Galore

Photo credit: Linda Chisari.
The view from the Chisari vegetable garden to the front yard.

Edited by Tina Ivany.



Sharing Secrets Editor Needed - Many thanks to Tina Ivany for her great work editing this column. Tina is "stepping down" from this position and we are looking for one of you to "step up" and take over!

The Sharing Secrets Editor is responsible for sending a garden-related question to the membership each month, collecting the responses, and sending them to our Managing Editor. No editorial experience is required. You just need a love of gardening and lots of gardening questions! To volunteer or learn more about volunteering please send an email to Karen England


Garden structures can add personality and style to our landscapes.  Do you have a favorite place to purchase arbors, arches or trellises for your garden, or do you build your own? 

Photo credit: Tere Troute.
Eden rose growing on a rose arbor built by Tere Trout’s husband.

Tere Trout: My husband built this trellis/arbor to support my Eden climbing roses.  It is one of my favorite places to sit, particularly at this time of year when the roses are blooming!

Carolyn Conway: Sorry to say I'm simplifying my garden but neighbors in this area usually go to Rogers Gardens and the Armstrong Nurseries.  I love to look at Plant Depot in San Juan Capistrano since they have unusual and fun items and lots of pots.

Photo credit: Dru Van Voorhees.
Arbor built by Dru Van Voorhees’ son.

Dru Van Voorhees (92010): We prefer to build them. My favorite is this one (photo attached) built by my son.

Photo credit: Lisa Rini.
Lisa Rini and Steve Wallet’s wisteria trellis.

Lisa Rini: We build our own - thanks to an architect husband, carpenters, and my needs for wisteria!  Here is the remade trellis along our driveway - hope to replant bare root wisteria in 2021...

Photo credit: Linda Chisari.
The view into the Chisari vegetable garden.

Linda Chisari (retired Landscape Designer): I always prefer to design them myself and have them built in place... so much easier than trying to fit something pre-made into an existing space! Both arbors are in my entering my vegetable garden from the driveway and the other leading out of the vegetable garden into the front yard. I designed them to ‘frame’ the garden.

Gerald Stewart: I've been gardening for many decades. Long enough that wooden trellises have rotted, over and over, and replacing them is a pain. I make my own out of copper. They will outlast me, so I never have to deal with trying to re-trellis a fully mature plant. I plan to do the same to replace a garden arch I bought. After a decade it rusted-out. What's left of it--the top--will serve as a pattern when I make a new one out of copper. Similar to that are large containers dotted through the landscape to add interest and/or accent. After replacing half whiskey barrels three times, I invested in glazed, fired ceramic pots. They, too, will outlast me. I figure when I croak that my heirs can consider the copper as a valuable recyclable. As for the glazed pots, I'll be dead, so I won't have to listen to them moan about figuring out what to do with hundreds of not-recyclable pots and urns…

Photo credit: Cindy Bruecks.
Wrought Iron Screen Re-Imagined as a Gate by Cindy Bruecks
Photo credit: Cindy Bruecks.
The view from inside.

Cindy Bruecks (92107): Here is my take on garden structures and trellises. I go off the beaten path. When I added a spacious deck to the front entry of the house, I knew I needed a gate, and I wanted to make a statement (how typical!) I found a lovely wrought iron two-part gate in one of the antique stores on Newport Ave in Ocean Beach. It was hinged in the middle like a screen, but it was just the right size. It wasn't terribly expensive, although by the time I hired a smithy to reverse the way it opened and to add a latch mechanism and hinges, it wasn't cheap. The result is unique.

I have bought smaller things at both Goodwill and Salvation Army. Of course, they may have nothing on the day you are there, so you pretty much have to haunt the places until you find the perfect treasure. Yes, I got one arch from Smith and Hawkins, new, but it's so rusted now it's barely able to stand up. My beach proximity gives anything metal a real challenge. I have harbored a wish to build my own out of bent rebar, but the bending process is a bit beyond me. Maybe for the strong folks who have the special gizmo that makes it easier.

I hope this gives you ideas. If you go visit old cousin Sally who lives in a sparsely populated area, be sure to schedule some time at the local thrift and second-hand stores. No telling what you may find.

Photo credit: Cathy Tylka.
Cathy Tylka’s Hardenbergia, still blooming in May.

Cathy Tylka (Escondido): I look for arches wherever I go... hard to find. Sometimes a re-sale store has something that can be used, but nowhere regularly do I find them. Hope you enjoy my winter blooming Hardenbergia, still blooming in May!


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