Sunday, September 29, 2013


We've tried a variety of different pergolas, shades, umbrellas, etc on the deck. An umbrella sticking up through the middle of the table does NOT work. Odds are sooner or later I'll forget to close it when not in use. And the way the breezes come around the back of the house cause problems with anything that can catch the wind. Worst case scenario? The last umbrella we had on the deck (on the BACK of the house) ended up smashed to pieces on the front sidewalk once. Not kidding!

And more than one neighbor has had a pergola with a canopy on it destroyed because of the winds we can get here.

Then there was the former pergola - cheaper than most, but again, with a cover that could catch the wind and really rip it to pieces (even though it was screwed down to the deck). And then, over a few years, it started to rust out. I decided to keep the parts, and have used them for various garden things. Then this year a new idea hit me - reassemble it (roughly) in the corners of four veggie/fruit tree beds! Now that I'm not doing the CSA there's less pressure to absolutely maximize garden usage!

Kinda funky, hunh?  I'm not so worried about missing/rusty parts looking less attractive.  I did hit a good portion of it with black Rustoleum after putting it together (half had been used out in the sun the last year and a half, the other half tucked away out of the elements).

And then I picked up four cheap clematis at Lowes, and stuck them in the corners...

In future years, if it stays in place, I'll probably put some chicken wire or something up the corners to help whatever I want to climb up the trellis parts.  Right now I would love to see it smothered in clematis blooms at some point - but what about gourds!?  Vining squash or cukes?  Tromboncino squash!?

I'll definitely have to guide the clematis for it's first year or so.  Two of the pergola corners are in the strawberry/plum tree beds, and I can see the clematis getting lost in the's already wrapping around one of the plums.

Is it a frivolous use of garden space? Sure.  Will flowering vines compete with veggie/fruit producers?  Probably.  But it could be fun to have it covered in vines and walk under it on a hot summer day.  Maybe the dogs will find it's nice for shade while I'm out working in the garden...  Who knows.  It COULD be a big flop, but I won't know if I don't try it out!

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