An Arbor

This is the saga that involves a rose named Killer, aka Alberic Barbier, a privet hedge and a happy ending, or beginning, if you will. We previously introduced Killer in a post about the far corner of our property and the improvements we intended to make there. Click on the terms highlighted to read the stories. There was an update , and even a
final chapter? written. People were getting tired of hearing about Killer and I was tired of writing about him and even thinking about him, especially after he left a thorn in the knuckle of the third finger of my right hand that is still causing me pain.
The story involved more than just the removal of Killer. In the background of this photo of him blooming taken in 2005 you can see the green wall of a privet hedge. Privet was a popular planting when our house was first built in the fifties. Nearly every house in this neighborhood has some privet. It was used to outline the property borders here.

It was decided that a less high maintenance shrub would be planted to help define the property edge. Arborvitae has proven a good choice for some of the lines, among others. The old clothesline pole is shown above with some of Killer’s canes still wrapped around it, but there are no roots left, they were all dug out. A crossvine is still growing on the pole, a little damaged from the removal of the rose but it has a strong root system and will regrow.

This post was placed to help Killer to grow into the privet hedge. A chain was attached to the clothesline pole and threaded through an eye screw on the back of the four by four. The rose canes were to run along the chain and into the privet. That proved to be a bad idea. For a more detailed explanation of why this was bad, click on the links in the first caption. This story is not really about Killer at all, that is only background. Let’s move on.

Moving rapidly through space and time, and to shorten this story, the privet was cut down with a chainsaw.

Then the massive roots were dug out with a pickax and a lot of effort on the part of my better half. Thanks, hon. The corner section of the privet was left in place to conceal the utility pole at the boundary of the three properties. We may regret this decision, but it can be removed at a later date if need be.

All clean and crying out for plantings.

Foster hollies, ilex x attenuata ‘fosteri’, were purchased and planted in the high quality soil in this area. They should fill in and provide some diversity to the arborvitae to its left and the Leyland Cypress grouping on the other side of the utility pole.

Another factor, this is really involved, I know, was the deaths last year of two of the three large chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Crippsii’ from the late freeze / drought double whammy we received last spring and summer. They were a roaring success up to that point at giving some privacy from the neighbor’s house.

Enter our hero. Offspring Gardoctor, carpenter extraordinaire, designed an arbor to my specifications, brought in the materials, and built us a most beautiful arbor.

How magnificent is this? Far exceeding our expectations. Last weekend my better half and I attended a birthday party out of town. During that time, Gardoctor and his associate were going to build the arbor. I had apprehensions about this project being done without me being here to observe and supervise. It was dark when we arrived home and late so that the arbor was not seen until the next morning. I was so pleased to see the job he had done, it was perfect in every way. Oh joyous day!

He had a plan for a finishing touch to be added at the far end, to make the brackets into a diamond shape in order to give it a more private and finished appearance. A seating area of some kind is planned for this space.
Trellis was added along the hedge side of the arbor for more privacy and a place for vines, clematis among others, to be grown.

The diamond was finished in between the rain and snow belts that have moved through our part of Tennessee, the only thing left is the plantings and some outdoor furniture. In other words, the fun part.

Part of the space’s enchantment is entering the arbor through a path that winds past the pole housing the crossvine and follows around back towards the house. The seating area will be in the back corner so as to not block the walkway. There will be the scampering of little and big feet here when the Faire Garden clan meets next time as a game of run through the arbor is played. A smile is forming at that happy thought.

Just a little before photo, circa 2005, and after to show how this arbor solves multiple problems for this part of our property. The neighbor’s house, who I like, but don’t want to see when I am meditating on the meaning of life, the universe and everything out in the garden needed to be blocked somewhat.

And now it will be. Many thanks to the masterful Gardoctor.


There was also a vote about which rose or roses should be ordered to replace Killer. One of the visions of the arbor is to have flowers dripping off of it.
Click here to see the result of the vote . We did follow the voter’s decision with one of our choices, Madame Alfred Carriere, shown below. The other rose ordered was Fortune’s Double Yellow , shown above. The Antique Rose Emporium, was quick to point out that Fortune’s was hardy only to zone 8, we are zone 7 here, therefore the guarantee would not be extended to that rose. That is a risk that will be taken. Both Madame and Fortune, among several others, were grown in the garden we created at our Texas house. The pale pink of the everblooming Madame is stunning. But the peach blending into yellow of the spring blooming Fortune’s is a sight not to be forgotten. And the fragrance of them both should make the new arbor THE destination of our daily path perusal, weather permitting.

The arbor is a dream come true. It will be enjoyed for years to come, thanks to our own Gardoctor.


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44 Responses to An Arbor

  1. robbinscabin says:

    Wow! The Arbor, The tale of Killer, and YOUR GARDENS are amazing! Does your Gardoctor make cross-country housecalls? LOL

  2. Melanie says:

    Frances, that arbor is about as perfect as can be. I love the though of big feet and little feet playing “run through the arbor”. The roses will look lovely draping over it. I have a beautiful honeysuckle growing over a garden swing here. It looks nice too in that kind of place. I have a photo on my blog and wish I knew how to give you a quick link. The only way I know how to get there is click on the label Plant Profile-5 and then scroll down to Honeysuckle dreams.

  3. Frances, says:

    robbinscabin, Thanks for the kind words. I’ll pass that along to Gardoctor.

    Melanie, thanks, I did check out your honeysuckle covered swing, it must be so wonderful to sit under when in bloom, like a dream. I would like to have a swing under the arbor. We are measuring the space now.

  4. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Kudos to your Gardoctor. I am sure he could make a living building arbors for people. I can’t wait to see all of your roses and vines growing up the arbor. This sitting area will be just perfect.

  5. Layanee says:

    It looks great! Roses and arbors like soup and sandwich! Can’t wait to see them growing through, up and around it. I loved playing in a rose arbor when I was a child and I hope you will have many round eyed children enjoying this new space!

  6. lintys says:

    LOVE the arbor Frances! Every garden should have one!

  7. Gail says:


    What a lovely story and what thoughtful folks you have in your life. The arbor is perfect and I look forward to the photos of the new rose plantings.

    BTW…I do love your gardens, especially all the winter interest. Is that Rosemary along the path? I have been thinking about transplanting my Rosemary into the sunniest spot in my front bed, now that our zone is warmer. They are so big I can hardly move them indoors anymore. What is the evergreen tree/shrub on the path?


  8. Frances, says:

    Lisa, thanks. We are looking at swings for the area, we like to relax and not just work around here.

    Layanee, thanks. I hope the children of all ages, included me, will see lots of roses and play around the arbor.

    Linda, thanks. I agree.

    Gail, thanks. That is indeed rosemary, it is surprisingly hardy here, we do have good drainage with the slope. Those were planted from four inch pots in the spring when Lowes has them with the herbs. I think timing is important for putting them out, early spring gives them a chance to get a good root system before cold weather. Fall planted ones died for me. Glad I tried again in the spring, and they were cheap!

  9. brokenbeat says:

    next time y’uns come up to visit, tell the gardoctor to the circular saw. i’ve got a plan and i need his expertise.

    side note: for those of us the wished killer to live, can you name one of the new roses something dark and threatening in killer’s honor? just a thought.

  10. Phillip says:

    The arbor looks great! You will love Fortune’s Double Yellow – it is such a beautiful rose. I just moved mine last year and it seems to be doing well. I recall that it took several years before it bloomed for me but when it did – wow! Then it stopped blooming and I think it was because it wasn’t receiving enough sun, so I’ve moved it.

  11. Crafty Gardener says:

    WOW Gardoctor did an amazing job on the arbour. It is an wonderful addition to your garden. I sure would love to come and tour your gardens.

  12. Dee/reddirtramblings says:

    Oh, Frances, I do love your arbor, and your rose choices are wonderful. You know how much I love roses. I think I may change my header to some dripping roses after spring. I can then change it back to the road in the fall. Look, you’ve just inspired me. I can’t wait to see what furniture you choose to highlight the space and rest your weary bones.

    Yea for the Gardoctor.~~Dee

  13. Anonymous says:

    i’m slightly speachless (except the “wow” i muttered) at seeing the beautiful arbor my bro-in-law built-it’s amazing. i can’t wait to see it in all its glory! the nicest thing is knowing how much it will transform over the years into a magical realm for all of us to enjoy. It looks like a fairy’s dream home.-mashley

  14. Blackswamp_Girl says:

    Wow! What wonderful work your Gardoctor did… and your “hon,” too. (Those privet roots didn’t go easy, I bet!)

    Even without the planting, that area looks lovely. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for your “unguaranteed” rose. (They sell own root roses, don’t they? So maybe it will be root hardy with enough protection?)

  15. Frances, says:

    brokenbeat, we will pass that along to gardoctor. And the naming of the new rose to honor killer’s memory is a good idea. We shall see what name the roses wish to be called.

    Phillip, that’s great. I have moved the own root roses, that is one of the reason’s to choose the Antique Rose Emporium, theirs are all own root, will mixed results. We had the Fortune’s in Texas, it was amazing.

    Crafty, Thanks so much. I wish you and the rest of the gang of bloggers could come too. Maybe some time if you are down this way, let me know!

  16. shirl says:

    Hi again, Frances 🙂

    Fantastic to see your much anticipated arbour finally built and I am sure you feel it was well worth waiting for. It looks great! Oh yes… it is the fun part now 😀

    In a very short time you will not be able to imagine your garden without it. Roll on the summer when you can get out and enjoy it 😀

  17. Frances, says:

    Dee, thanks. I really like your road picture, maybe you could have two, but who doesn’t love dripping roses? I am answering your comment to the Killer post here; I know about Mermaid. It was one of the roses we planted on our garage in Texas, along with Fortune’s Double and Madame Alfred. It climbed from the top of the garage into a large pine tree. It had to be the thorniest rose, I read that it was good to use to deter thieves, you bet!

    Mash, it is wonderful. The fairy garden is right at the entrance too.

    Blackswamp Girl, thanks. Both men did an outstanding job to help make the garden more ‘faire’. Fortune’s will get some extra mulch and protection and will be sited for the warmest spot. It’s worth a try for such a beauty.

  18. Frances, says:

    Shirl, thanks, we are looking forward to the planting. So far two clematis, Carnaby and Jackmanii and a black hellebore have been planted. We don’t waste any time planting stuff around here!

  19. Annie in Austin says:

    It’s wonderful to see garden dreams come true ~ I’m so happy for you, Frances!

    This sentence from your post expresses what a lot of us are feeling…
    “The neighbor’s house, who I like, but don’t want to see when I am meditating on the meaning of life, the universe and everything out in the garden needed to be blocked somewhat”

    No matter how nice the neighbors are, we’d prefer their house and stuff to be invisible.

    Now when the kids are gone the Faire Gardener and her hon may enjoy a private game of chase around the arbor!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  20. TopVeg says:

    How fantastic – such a great place to sit and admire the roses and their scent!

  21. Frances, says:

    Annie, thanks. It isn’t being rude to want privacy while in your garden, or I don’t think so anyway, no matter how you feel about your neighbors. Every time I look at the arbor it conjures pleasant scenes in the future.

    TopVeg,,Thanks. Hope the roses grow quickly.

  22. Robin's Nesting Place says:

    That is a wonderful large arbor! He did a great job. I look forward to seeing the seating area and planting progress.

  23. Frances, says:

    Robin’s Nesting Place, thanks so much. We are looking at swings for the seating and waiting for the roses to arrive, being shipped later this month.

  24. lynndelou says:

    The arbor is wonderful. The gardoctor did a great job. He is quite a craftsman.

    Looking forward to sitting under the arbor.

  25. Frances, says:

    Hi Lynn, you will be able to not only sit under the arbor but play run through the arbor as well. ;->

  26. Yolanda Elizabet says:

    You’ve done it now, haven’t you Frances? Now we all want our own gardoctor to built us such a lovely arbor. Great job!

    I like it that you’ve chosen Madame Alfred as she is such a good friend of mine. 🙂 Fortune is sounding very promising too, how fortunate! giggle

  27. Dave says:

    Very cool Arbor Frances! I wouldn’t mind having one similar to that over our patio…er where we want to put our patio.

  28. Frances, says:

    YE, thanks. this whole enterprise has given us lots of delight, with more to come.

    Dave, sounds good. Someday you will have it all, but then you will have found something else you want/need. ;->

  29. Pam/Digging says:

    I particularly admire that diamond detail in the arbor. I can just imagine the arbor dripping with pale pink roses this summer, while you and Heathcliff rest comfortably shaded beneath.

  30. Katarina i Kullavik says:

    What a nice story! I can well understand you joy – that carpenter made a geat job!
    /Katarina at Roses and stuff

  31. Wurzerl says:

    I am looking at your pictures, I am reading your nice story, I begin once more with the first picture and suddenly I know it…… I need a GARDOCTOR!!!
    Thank you for this wonderful post!
    Have a great day. Wurzerl

  32. Frances, says:

    Pam, thanks. The diamond really sets it apart. We do plan to sit there, it will be wonderful.

    Katarina, Thank you very much. We are fortunate here.

    Wurzerl, Thanks. The gardoctor is a joy.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I admit I haven’t read every word
    But my life is a little absurd
    So a quick glance here and there
    Does Gardoctor have hair?
    A second to think
    and then a quick blink;
    To adjust my eyes
    a beautiful surprise
    I see fairies prepare
    (Does Gardoctor have hair?)
    I can smell the roses
    and imagine the proses
    Brokenbeat will create
    From Gardoctor’s top rate
    Arbour Faire Garden dreamed of
    A place the whole family will love
    I can’t wait for the times
    We laugh till we cry
    We know Semi will be the first
    And I bet my bladder will burst!
    So thank you Gardoctor:
    The Architecture monster
    Your contribution is vital
    A construction plans idol
    I think you found your place in this world
    To build beautiful art even if for the squirrels
    We all love you so much
    You have your own special touch
    So keep on with your work
    And build till it hurts
    Feel the pride we all feel
    And sense that everythings healed
    I love you little brother, you know it
    Your big sister, aka: Chickenpoet

    Much Love, CP

    PS. Thanks, that felt good

  34. Frances, says:

    Chickenpoet, my cup runneth over. love.

  35. semi says:

    Oh my! it is wonderful. Better than I imagined. The walkway into the mystical area of faire garden. GarDR is really talented, I think this might be his niche. I already have a place in mind for mine. GREAT JOB!!!!

  36. Frances, says:

    semi, you should see it in person, you will love it!

  37. Nan Ondra says:

    I’ve been following your garden mystery, Frances, and somehow missed this post for a few days. I’m glad I found it! Your new arbor is simply splendid, and the surprise factor makes it all the more special. I can’t wait to see what it looks like this summer! Though, if your view was a problem, couldn’t you have simply taken over that neighbor’s property as well? At the rate you’re going, I can easily see you needing that extra space.

  38. Frances, says:

    Nan, thanks. Funny you should say that, when we first moved into the house we had planned to buy every property on this small block. Then we started the remodel that ate up the vast sums we thought we had, and that was 2000, BIG losses in the stock market. That house was for sale but the garage building had just started and we were feeling a pinch. All the properties have now been sold so there goes that dream. BTW that house was sold for $40K.

  39. chuck b. says:

    I’ve sold my client on the idea of an arbor… When she approves the construction, I’m going to give the contractor a link to this post, and say “This is what I want. Give me this.”

  40. Frances, says:

    chuck b., welcome back! That sounds great, hope he leaves a comment! ;->

  41. Anonymous says:

    Thank you everyone for the great comments and poem, they all meant a lot to me. And yes, i do house calls ;). gardoctor

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  44. Does he hire out?? Love that arbor! Taking out mature roses or privets or anything that a pickax is needed is hard work!!! What a great addition to your garden.

    Thanks Janet. He is for hire and has become quite the carpenter since then, 2008. He rebuilt our back garage deck, too. Sometimes you need a pickaxe, and sometimes I am the one swinging it! Be careful on a hill, though, with that swinging.

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