Garden Fences, Arbors, Trellises, & Gates and Things That Grow Along Them

My garden is surrounded by a network of rose and grape arbors, and during the blooming season, a variety of things climb up and along my arbors. Like the traditional cottage gardens, my garden area is small, and my system of arbors increases my garden area by allowing things to grow upward, too.

My garden is my sanctuary. It is the place that I go to hide from and heal from the world, but the therapy does not work if I see other people or their houses. For that reason, my trellises and arbors have dual purposes. They increase my garden size by carrying it into the air, and they seal me into my own private and secret garden.

I have several types of clematis climbing around my house, and this year, I added 10 more Zepherine Drouhin Climbing Roses to my garden. Roses are essential for me. I like the old garden roses or the antique roses best. I like the way that they are simple and unpretentious, and I like them because their scent has not been hybridized out of them. I rarely plant a rose that does not volunteer a generous amount of old, garden rosy aroma. In that respect, I guess that my garden is aromatherapy, too. but in my small garden, Zepherine Drouhin is nice. It is almost thornless, and when 15 or 20 rose bushes are encasing a small area, thorns can be a problem.


“When I walk through that gate…that’s my escape.” – Maria Sharapova

This is the gate where I enter my back garden from my front. It is covered by grape vines.

Have you ever considered the true nature of a fence? We often think of a fence as something to keep a creature inside an area–i.e. fencing cattle or a dog or chickens inside. I actually think that the more important purpose of a fence is that of serving as a screen–to keep others out–to create boundaries, to provide spaces for privacy, to establish sanctuaries.


“When the hornet hangs in the holly hock, And the brown bee drones i’ the rose, And the west is a red-streaked four-o’clock, And summer is near its close It’s Oh, for the gate, and the locust lane; And dusk, and dew, and home again!” – Madison Cawein

The above photo is the area around a small pond that is directly behind my grape arbor and that gate. I have replaced the trellises behind the pond, but there is still a tall fence that extends down the side of my garden. On this fence, I have several climbing roses, several clematis vines, and a wisteria vine. For autumn blooms, there is also a sweet autumn clematis growing along this fence. Sweet autumn clematis is an enthusiastic grower and by mid-April, its vine has already reached an area that is 6′ by 6′ and it has just begun to grow.

“Come into the garden, Maud, For the black bat, night, has flown, Come into the garden, Maud, I am here at the gate alone; Maud And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad, And the musk of the rose is blown. For a breeze of morning moves, And the planet of Love is on high, Beginning to faint in the light that she loves On a bed of daffodil sky.” – Tennyson

My fences and trellises and arbors are important to me. Within the boundaries of my fences, I have created for myself a haven.  I am not anti-social. When I am out among people, I generally enjoy them, but when I am truly at home, I love my garden, which has been designed as a screen from the demands of being social. It is interesting to note, however, that although I have encircled myself by tall and flowery fences, I have also left a network of gates. “To everything, there is a season.” At times, I open my gates wide and invite special people to join me.

I do agree that fences make good neighbors. When we are behind our fences–screened away from society–we are shielded from people–from playing the game. But I also like gates. I like the fact that a gate allows us to leave our cloisters, and it allows our chosen friends to come inside.

©April 16, 2017


11 Comments Add yours

  1. I love all the colors – Jealous of your green thumb 🖤

    1. jackikellum says:

      Thanks. I grew up gardening and surrounded by gardens.

  2. ahiggins2013 says:

    Glad to find your blog. I am a gardener, too, but not with arbors and trellises and climbers. I have a perennial garden in a large courtyard. Love your photos, too.

    1. jackikellum says:

      I love courtyards. Do you live in the South? I associate courtyards with New Orleans and Charleston, SC. I am originally from the South

  3. ahiggins2013 says:

    I lived for some years in Petersburg VA and Charleston SC, but now I live in Emmitsburg Maryland. This courtyard was built in 1964, but only three years ago I got the ok to work on it.
    It’s in the center of a very large ( seven wings and four stories) convent where I live. The “grounds guys” used to do all of it, but that’s a long story. Anyway, three years ago it had basically mulched areas and those large rose bushes that seem to be in favor with grounds guys these days. So I have been planting perennials that attract pollinators. This year, the third year I have been at it, is showing results, as the plants emerge. I don’t know if I can post photos here, but I will try.

  4. ahiggins2013 says:

    It won’t let me cut and paste here. I’ll post some on my own blog.

    1. jackikellum says:

      That is such a great story. I am about to create a Children’s Garden for my local library. I’d love to see your photos.

    1. jackikellum says:

      Beautiful place. That is an enormous undertaking. Do you live in the convent?

  5. ahiggins2013 says:

    I do live there. I’m a Catholic Sister. I teach at a nearby college.

    1. jackikellum says:

      That is very nice. I am originally from the Deep South. I lived in Mississippi until I was 53-years-old. For the past 14 years, I have lived near Atlantic City, in New Jersey. I occasionally come to Maryland. Good luck with your project.

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