Best Way to Decorate Your Garden with Arbour

A cousin of the arch and the pergola is the arbour, an equally traditional garden structure originally designed for romantic trysts between lovers. Arbours have featured in the literature of several different cultures for centuries, and remain a timeless garden favourite.

Romantic arbours

Secluded, shaded but cosily warm arbours help engender romance in gardens, especially when clothed in scented, flowering or leafy plants.

Decorate Garden Best Way to Decorate Your Garden with Arbour

Flowering plants for arbours

There are many richly scented flowering climbers to choose from. Some flowering climbers have a formal appearance and are best grown on relatively sharply-outlined arbours, perhaps constructed from a combination of planed wood supports and square trellis-work. Arbours formed of rustic poles demand informal climbers. However, whatever their nature they must create a screen of foliage. Formal climbers: These include the ever reliable Clematis montana (mountain clematis). It has a deciduous nature, being late coming into leaf in spring but often retaining its leaves until mid-winter, especially in warm and sheltered places. The flowers reveal a formal and regular nature, each with four large petals. The species has white flowers, whereas ‘Elizabeth’ is soft pink. Informal climbers: Few climbers are as sprawling and informal as the glorious honeysuckles.

Lonicera tragophylla is vigorous and deciduous and only suitable for large arbours, but it has the virtue of growing in shaded areas, where its roots are kept cool and moist. Large, terminal clusters of bright yellow flowers appear during early and mid-summer.

Companion planting on arbours

Growing several climbers on the same arch is an exciting and different way of getting the best from a garden – and if you pick the right ones, it will not take long. Also, plants can be positioned around the base of the arbour to help increase its beauty and impact.

Plant the deciduous Clematis macropetala, with nodding, light and dark blue flowers during late spring and early summer, on one side of an arbour, with Jasminum officinale (common white jasmine) on the other. The jasmine reveals masses of white flowers in lax clusters from early summer to autumn. Take care that the vigorous jasmine does not swamp the more reserved growth of the clematis. Plant lavender on each side of the arbour.

Decorate Garden 1 Best Way to Decorate Your Garden with Arbour

Plant a dark-petalled, large-flowered clematis on either side of an entrance to an arbour covered in the bright yellowish-green-leaved, herbaceous plant Humulus lupulus ‘Aureus’ (yellow-leaved hop). Use clematis varieties such as ‘Vyvyan Pennell’ (violet-purple flushed carmine), ‘Lasurstern’ (purple-blue) or ‘Lord Nevill’ (deep purple-blue). For a less dramatic picture, use ‘Lady Caroline Nevill’, which reveals lavender-grey flowers with mauve stripes.

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