"You never get a second chance to make a first impression."
The cold, snow filled days of early winter are a perfect time for gathering ideas, looking through seed catalogues, and planning next year's garden. What wasn't working and needs to be moved? What new plants should be added? What needs to be updated and changed?
I am unhappy with the entrance to the garden at the very back of our property and that has got me thinking about garden entrances in general.
Why fuss over the entrance to a garden?
Well, for one thing, it is the first thing you see. It makes a statement right up front and can set the tone for the rest of the garden.
A garden entrance is also a perfect place for a gardener to express their unique personality and design aesthetic.
The possibilities are simply endless. An entrance can be everything from rustic to sophisticated and formal, spare to romantic and vine covered.
Trumpet Vine, Campsis radicans, with its bright orange flowers, covers the arbor entrance way in this Niagara-on-the-lake garden. While the vine is attractive and a magnet for hummingbirds, gardeners should plant Trumpet Vine with some caution because, it can be invasive.
Incorporating a structure like an arbor at the front of your garden can impart a sense of order to the natural chaos that is a cottage style flower garden.
Covering that arbor with a flowering vine makes it all the more dramatic. The visitor passing through the arbor is enveloped by greenery on all three sides.
I knew from the get-go that this garden in Niagara-on-the-lake was going to take my breath away.
Artist and interior designer Eleonora Roberts designed this arbor to echo the peaked shaped of the roof of her Streetsville, Ontario home. I will be showing you more of her lovely garden in the coming weeks.
Arbors can come in all shapes and sizes. They can also be opened or gated.
Private garden, Waterdown, Ontario. A Climbing Hydrangea covers the lower part of the wall on the right side on the garden gate.
A gate is a perfect place to display accessories like a bell, a welcome sign or a decorative wreath. The hinges, latch and handle are adornments that can dress-up even the most basic garden gate.
Building materials offer a wide range of design alternatives. If wood seems too rustic for your tastes, wrought iron is another classic option.
Gate at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton, Ontario.
Garden gate at Canada Blooms 2011.
Private garden, Mississauga, Ontario.
Wood and metal can also be combined beautifully.
Private garden, Brampton, Ontario. A climbing hydrangea is on the left hand side of the gate and a Cotton Easter is on the right.
An unknown variety of Honeysuckle covers the arbor. Pink Bee Balm is in front of the arbor just to the left, Ligularia is the large leaf in front of the Bee Balm, and Gooseneck Loosestrife(caution invasive!)
is the white flower in the right foreground.
Of course, not every entrance is at the front of a garden. A garden can be divided into "garden rooms" and can have an entrance or passageway that stands at the doorway to each of the rooms.
Private garden in Burlington, Ontario. The white flower with the greyish-green foliage that
can be seen in the background is self-seeding Lychnis coronaria 'Alba'.
A more rustic approach to an arbor at the We're in the Hayfield Now Nursery.
Here a hedge forms the walls of the "room" and the rustic arbor is the doorway.
This is one of the gates that David Tomlinson has used in his garden called Merlin's Hollow. An arbor stands at the entrance to each of the four garden "rooms" at Merlin's Hollow.
The same gate from the other direction. The perspective created by the arbor's geometry adds a greater sense of depth and distance from one room to another.
A closer look at one of the passageways at Merlin's Hollow. Pink columbine has self-seeded itself in the middle foreground and a pink Beauty Bush blooms in the background.
An unknown variety of Wisteria covers the arbor.
In this Mississauga, Ontario garden, an arbor marks a doorway leading to a patio area.
Plant materials can be as varied as the entrance way itself. This gardener in Georgetown, Ontario has used annual Morning Glories.
This Brampton, Ontario gardener has used roses to great effect.
There are so many options for creating a garden entrance that the hardest part is trying to decide among them!
What should I do to re-vamp my back gate? It is time to get dreaming...