Green Thumb Sunday: Fences and Arbors

Front Gate Yesterday, the gates and fences bordering both my garden and the six and a half acres surrounding it stuck my fancy. The line “‘Good fences make good neighbors'” from the poem, Mending Wall, by Robert Frost came to mind. Later, I reread the poem and saw new meaning in it. I think Frost was poking gentle fun at his neighbor and all of us. Now, I know that Frost was speaking of emotional fences , not literal ones, but after living in the country for nineteen years, I find I support the neighbor’s point of view.

Here, fences do make all of us, both human and animals, good neighbors. Although my barriers aren’t herculean, they give everyone, including the wild dog packs which roam, boundaries. A word to the wise: if you tire of your dog, you are not doing your animal any favor by dropping it here. Before we had the wire, which lines the split rail fence, the dogs constantly harassed my animals. We used to keep horses, and the dogs loved to chase them. The wire barrier and my dogs stopped most of that.

Further, the fences and arbors I’ve placed around my main garden aren’t just for show. They stop the bunnies from eating all my lettuces, daylilies and other edible plants. Also, the deer seem to avoid the enclosed garden. The thorny, climbing roses and native grasses I’ve placed in strategic areas also seem to help. That way, they’re free to go ravage my fruit trees, but that’s another post.Split Rail Fence

As to humans, on three different occasions, including one New Year’s Eve, folks drove too fast around the corner at the edge of our property and crashed through the gate and split rail fence shown here. Later, the same fence slowed one woman’s car as it rolled three times through it, landing in the lower pasture instead of the lake. The highway patrolman said the fence probably saved her life.

Arbor DetailLet’s move on to arbors. I am in love and have been since I saw one in a magazine twelve years ago. When I first wanted one, a welder friend of ours made two for my garden because they couldn’t be found here. Now, I think they are being shipped in from Mexico, and the ones I bought last year are fabulous. I don’t know how available they are in other parts of the country, but if you love the cottage look, and can find one, snag it for yourself. I’ve collected several, and if I could think of a way to include more, I would. They provide architectural interest, and there is something about walking through a gated arbor which makes me pause and release my breath in a sigh. They are the doorways to sacred garden space. How they are placed, and what adorns them, reflects the gardener’s personality. Most of mine have roses climbing up the sides. I used to place the same rose on each side, but I’ve decided with my newest acquisition to plant completely different varieties. I also like the classic clematis/rose combination so often shown in magazines. The French inspired arbor on the left is in shade, so I don’t know if I will grow anything on it. It is fairly complicated, so it is interesting in itself. However, if anyone has a suggestion for a climbing plant that likes shade and hot weather, please let me know.


  1. Jen Shurley says:

    Wow! Your photographs are beautiful! Thank you for sharing them! They are very inspiring.

    I’m so glad you like them. I really love taking photographs, and the blog is a good way to show them.~~Dee

  2. “Doorways to sacred garden space,” what an awesome idea. I wish I felt that way about my arbor. The rusted metal piece has such character.

    Thanks. I’m glad you liked my words. I really do sigh when I walk thru one. They are such gateways.~~Dee

  3. Just was able to catch up on the past few days and I am motivated to go out and plant bulbs, can I still do it or have I waited too long?

    Where I live, fences are areally good thing!

    The Park Wife

    PW2, I really don’t know where you live, but I think I pushed the envelope on bulbs as far as it can go. I would wait and plant some others next year. Yes, in a state park, fences are a really good thing.~~Dee

  4. Martha says:

    Hi –
    You have some beautiful fences at your place.

    We ended up fencing our 2.5 acres with chain link because of neighbors who enjoy pointing guns at people.

    We resisted giving up the wide open feeling but have been happy 100 times since then that the fence was in place. So, good fences made us less afraid of our neighbors indeed.

    Only one arbor graces this place and it has grape and butterfly vines on it all summer.

    I tried Jasmine once but it couldn’t survive Oklahoma winters. Confederate Jasmine is new to me – I’ll have to look it up.

    Thank you, Martha. You’ll have to write and tell us about your crazy neighbors sometime. I thought all the nutty ones moved out here. We can see through our fences, because the field fencing mostly blends in with the grass. Maybe it’s the wide openings. I’d like to see your grape and butterfly vines. Please take a picture for us next summer.~~Dee

  5. Ang in TX says:

    Dee, you might try “confederate jasmine” for a shady area. Also, Cattle panels and four landscape timbers make a really nice wide arbor.

    Ang, I’ll give confederate jasmine a try. I’d like to see the arbor you’ve described. Do you have a picture on your blog?~~Dee

  6. jim says:

    You tease us with all this talk of arbors but don’t show them? What kind of woman are you?

    Jim, look up, I did another post for you.~~Dee

  7. Curtis says:

    Beatiful Dee. I love the garden arbors I see around with roses or morning glories planted around them.

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