Large metal arbor in no water zone

sammy zone 7 TulsaJuly 29, 2014

I want to decorate my empty area without vegetation. My rose collection is down to 102. That suits me, but I am not sure what to do with the large metal arbor that is very rusty and securely cemented in the ground.

It has four legs, and a rather attractive ornament at the top. If we remove the rust, and paint it, it will be ok, but I cannot figure out what to put in or around it.

The area inside the four legs is large enough for a whiskey barrel.

We are going to purchase some statues, and I could put a big dog or lion in it, but I am not sure how to possibly tie that in with any theme.

I cannot run electricity out there for lights, and do not know what to do with it. It was fine for roses or other plants, but we want this area to be water free.

Whenever I go online, I can find vendors, but no attractive ideas on how to incorporate it into any attractive themes.

In Oklahoma we do not want cactus themes or cowboy themes. We already have burros, and some Mexican artifacts. That would be a possibility.

Any ideas?


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catsrose(VA 6)

An arbor is a gateway, a passage between worlds, environments. Frequently, one environment is more intimate than the other, like between a street and a private yard, or between a large garden and a smaller one. More suggestions would depend on how big your space, the shape of the space, and where in the space the arbor is. Putting a lion in the middle of the arbor would look like the lion is guarding the gateway. Since he is facing only one direction, one wants to know what he is guarding. If he isn't guarding something worth seeing, it will just look junky.

Have you looked at Japanese gardens, especially sand gardens?

Post some photos and you'll get better ideas.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 6:42AM
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If you want small lights for the trellis, look for battery operated LED outdoor Christmas lights when winter holiday decorations appear in the stores. I use have used some in an area without power for the last several winters. They have a timer; you set it by turning the lights on at the time you want and they will continue turning on at that time and shutting off about 5 hours later each night. 3 D batteries last about 5 months.

I agree that photos will help. How large is the area and what is nearby? In general I would vote for having a garden of native plants that do fine in whatever natural rainfall you have, as in my experience, even in the desert southwest, at least some plants will grow unless you regularly bathe the area with herbicide or pave it. It's a lot easier to choose plants (and they don't need to be cactus) that are suited to the area than maintain an area with no vegetation. Check out High Country Gardens for plants that will grow in low water regimes. In addition to hardiness, they give water requirements of the plants in terms of annual precipitation ranges. Many of these plants will attract beneficial insects and hummingbirds to your garden.

Here is a link that might be useful: High Country Gardens

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 7:27AM
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Target has solar powered outdoor lights that should work for you if you want lights.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 9:14AM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

I love solar lights! I have more sets than I should probably admit too and just looked at more yesterday. Only one set has died in the past 5 years the rest keep going (of the Christmas mini lights with a panel) They run for a bit after sunset and then shut off long before they are a bother.

I also have tons of the push in the ground type. At moms age, should there be some kind of emergency, I feel better knowing most of the night she can get out of the house and around most of the garden with out a flash light. (earthquake etc)

I would love to see pictures of your structure and hear what you like as a look. Formal, cottage, etc.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 10:44AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

OK does get a reasonable amount of rain? Some kind of native OK prairie planting would be lovely. An arch doesn't have to have any plants growing on it. It provides architectural interest, as the designers call it.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 10:48AM
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annesfbay(9b Sunset 15)

I love nhbabs and HoovB's idea of a native/drought tolerant garden back there. It may be something interesting to try out. I think that garden ornaments need some kind of garden to be placed in. The led lights and solar light are also a great idea. Good luck!


    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:12AM
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Maybe something like this: (amazon has it) The Dragon of Falkenberg Castle Moat Law. An area filled with statues would be neat.

How about a Chess board using white stone and black rubber mulch for the squares.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 1:40PM
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If the arbor is not a passageway, you could set a bench under it, as though the bench were set in a niche and clothe the metal with draped canvas or even voile to frame, shade and enclose the bench. But it would be best if you posted pictures to get the best ideas suitable for your specific site.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 12:27AM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Last night I went out with my camera, and took some pictures.

I have been so discouraged over the poor quality of my roses this year that I have not taken care of my camera, and am far behind in any pictures.

My husband had seen this arbor in a metal place, and fell in love with it. We used to have roses and clematis on it, but I no longer want to care for climbing plants.

If anyone feels up to it, you might tell me how to post pictures. I used to use Picture Trail, but stopped that subscription for a free one, and never started a free one. My new computer is on Windows 8.1. My camera is old. Last night it did not look like there was much color, but there are hoses everywhere.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 5:17AM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

Sammy you just click on choose file, then you find the file your photo is in(files will show up) and click on the photo. It will show when you preview your post. You can only post one photo at a time this way.
Here's my idea for what it's worth. We run electricity all over the place using heavy duty contractor's extension cords.If you were willing to do that then you could have lights. You could also have a fountain in the middle. Would it be that difficult to drag a hose out there once a week to top it off?
Then I have an idea for plants, water plants. There are liners for half barrels and pretty ceramic pots that have no drainage. You could have Water lillies, Callas and Cannas,goldfish etc. These would get topped off like the fountain. Perhaps you could drape some pretty fabric on the inside for shade and place a couple of chairs.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 8:52AM
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I was thinking of succulents myself. How about a bench under the arbor, then a brick-lined pea gravel pathway lined with various sedums? 'Vera Jameson' is my personal favorite, but there are many in beautiful colors and forms. In fact, by planting swooping drifts of different kinds of sedums you could get a lovely decorative effect. Hens and chicks (sempervirens) spread easily and are pretty cold tolerant. Agaves for punctuation ought to do well, too. They can handle a bit of frost. You could plant echeverias or senecios in containers near the bench for a little height. They are can take a light frost but not a deep one so you might need to take them in if you get a bad winter. Some succulents are frost-tender (the aeoniums and crassulas for example), but a number can handle milder winters such as you would be likely to get in zone 7. You could have a beautiful tapestry garden full of rich color and texture with just the agaves, sempervirens, and a variety of sedums, and not worry about winter unless you get a most unusual cold.

This garden could get by on natural rainfall once established. Of course baby plants of all sorts need regular water until they get their roots down and start growing well. After establishment you would want to drag the hose over if it goes more than about three weeks without rain. No need for irrigation, though, in a climate that gets summer rainfall. Not a no-water garden, but it would be a very beautiful one for very little water and not a lot of work.

I personally would be tempted to add two or three drought tolerant dwarf conifers just for contrast of form and texture. I was thinking of a narrow columnar juniper such as 'Pencil Point' (to 6 feet) or 'Gold Cone' (to 8 feet). I think of them as exclamation points. There are also some low mounding pines that are drought tolerant. You could check out vendors of dwarf conifers if these intrigue you. There are some good books, too. See what you library has. Contact me if you and interested and want specific titles. I could as easily have been named Bookfolly as Rosefolly.

Here is a link that might be useful: Examples of succulent gardens

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 1:24PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

succulents in oklahoma--well, no, not really. the mexican succulents are not cold hardy. the cold hardy alpine succulents like sempervivums and sedums do not like heat, especially humid heat. Shrubby sedums like old standard 'Autumn Joy'--well, maybe.

Oklahoma is home to marvelous native plants---please have a look round the net for examples.

photos--i use photobucket, then copy and paste the "html" code that displays with each photo under the "links to share this photo" label, and paste it in to the message box.

imagine this around your arch. how beautiful it would be!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 5:29PM
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I have grown or seen grown sempervirens and sedums in Pennsylvania's humid heat, which probably ranges only a little cooler, say 80's and 90's rather than 90's and 100's. It is still miserably hot and humid in the summer. But come to think of it, they are usually grown on low rock walls, no doubt for improved drainage.

Very well. I have gardened in the east and in California, but it is true that I do not have any experience with midwest gardening. I will withdraw my suggestion. I do this with regret. I was getting pretty excited about Sammy's succulent garden!


    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 10:59AM
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Design talent is transferable from any area of the country to any other. We wish to share your enthusiasm and hear your contribution.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 2:51PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

The arbor will go. The chemicals needed to remove the rust, put a base coat of paint and paint on a 9-10 foot arbor is just too dangerous.

I have bought some plants that are pretty, and at this point, I think I will put in some Blue Mist Spirea (Dark Knight) and some Rosemary.

I have taken notes on your suggestions, and have also taken notes on the photo suggestions. Thank you so much.

Now I need to return to the nursery, and see what else I can find.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 2:19PM
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