To say that I'm excited about the completion of our Arbor project is an understatement. In many ways it turned out better than I had hoped. From the plants we used to the materials and the design nearly everything went according to plan. Of course I spent a good deal of time before the project began planning this arbor. I went through at least 3 different design ideas for the project including two arbors with only two posts a piece, one at the beginning of the corridor and the other at the end. My wife talked me down from this one insisting that we should concentrate on one really special arbor. I think she was right and I'm not afraid to say that!
Here's a long distance shot of the arbor from the top of our driveway. We positioned the arbor at a slight angle for a couple reasons. One was the look, it just fit the pathway better. Number two was because of a gas utility line that we needed to avoid. I actually had the lines marked last fall so I would know where they were. I didn't want anything (mainly myself) to interfere with them!
If you walk down the driveway and onto the sidewalk you can see the angle of the arbor a little better. The diamond designs move in the wind with a gentle clinking of the chains that suspend them. Eventually vines will cover the arbor. From one side it will be honeysuckle and from the other I was thinking of planting moonflowers which open up in the evenings.
As you continue across the yard toward the arbor you will see the pathway begin to take shape. Although it hasn't fully leafed out yet the Forest Pansy Redbud is in front of you. It's early spring flowers and purple heart shaped foliage will be a focal point for any travelers down this path. The deciduous plantings will soon be covered with foliage and you will see the full impact of this area. To the right the Japanese maple draws the eyes toward the corner shade garden filled with hostas, heucheras, Soloman's Seal, and a new find: Japanese Forest Grass! You can even see the new dry creek bed I put in the other day.
On the left is the honeysuckle. This particular one is Lonicera sempervirens (Trumpet Honeysuckle), not the dread Lonicera japonica which, along with it's friend Kudzu, seems to be taking over the southern U.S.. Lonicera sempervirens is native to the U.S. and is favorite of hummingbirds. In fact before I could even plant the honeysuckle two hummingbirds visited it and that was only one day after its purchase! This particular variety is called 'Alabama Crimson', an unfortunate name for a great plant but I suppose Tennessee Orange just wouldn't have fit. It is red after all.
Once you reach the arbor a set of stepping stones laid on the ground guide you down the path. They aren't intended to really be stepped on but rather to guide the gardener visually down the pathway. Of course they are convenient for avoiding wet shoes when walking through the early morning dew.
A quick look back will show you how the gardens enclose around the arbor. The obelisk was made from leftover 1"x2"s and will support some climbers of a yet to be determined nature. To the left is the corner shade garden and to the right is the deciduous glade with a fothergilla, viburnum, and several other woody plants.
And here it is at night, lit with the light of our front porch and the solar lanterns hanging from the front posts. I can't wait to see how it all fits together with the self seeding garden in bloom.
I've really enjoyed being able to participate in the 48 Hour Blog Challenge. I may not win the $5000 but I feel like I've already won. After all, a great experience is priceless!
For information on how I built my arbor check out these two posts: