Secretary of the Interior

A Blog from the Editor of St. Louis At Home

Monday, May 21, 2012 / 8:56 AM

The Constant Garden: Creating Enduring Views with Gardens that Bloom all Summer

The Constant Garden: Creating Enduring Views with Gardens that Bloom all Summer

“Blooms all summer.” For a gardener, these are some of the most welcome words on the little plastic tag. I’ve never quite mastered the art of constant color in my garden—what to do between the tulips demise and the dahlia’s arrival. And don’t get me started on that eternity between chrysanthemums and hellebores.

But a stone mountain lion or vine-covered arbor? Garden fascination that lasts throughout the year with no weeding or watering required? That definitely distracts from botanical intermissions, providing that most elusive of gardening joys: instant gratification.

A simple trellis in cedar or wrought iron adds height and interest to a garden, and a Stairway to Heaven climbing rose will keep the structure smothered in gorgeous from spring until fall; then it will stand proudly (if somewhat immodestly) throughout the winter.    

Make the entrance to your garden enchanting, and it will be inviting no matter the season. It’s hard to resist walking beneath an arbor, whether it’s exploding with clematis in June or twinkling with tiny white lights in December.

And about that instant gratification. If building an arbor isn’t on your to-do list, consider adding a quiet companion. Unlike the real thing, critters and kiddos in unpainted concrete will sit quietly (and stay put) in your favorite garden spot.     

Most of these photos were taken at the fabulous new Gibbs Gardens in Georgia. The robin eggs are nestled in my garden arbor, bringing color unmatched by any flower, anywhere.

1. A small visitor nestles in a grand entrance

2. A cozy arbor can bring new life to your garden.

3. Not all garden visitors are whimsical!

4. Arbors add structural interest before the wisteria blooms.

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