Time to Collect Perennial Seeds

20160813_192008_HDRLate summer and early fall before the rains are great times to collect seeds, and if you are like me, plant them. There are a couple of theories on planting seeds. One is you collect them, put them in tiny envelopes and try to mimic outside conditions such as storing them in the refridgerator for a couple of months as they get their cold hours. While this may be necessary if you are planting seeds that need “Chilling hours” in a region that doesn’t get the cold.  If a plant is growing just fine in your yard you probably don’t need to do this or follow the little zone planting diagrams like you see on the back of seed packets. Those are mainly for plants that are grown as annuals.

The other seed theory and the one I ascribe to is: if nature plants her seeds now, you can do the same. Germination may not be as high the first year but Mother Nature has this whole seed bank thing going on, which fascinates me to no end. The seed bank is a natural storage of seed within the soil, some dormant, some ready to sprout this year. It is a process that allows a species to live on, if one bad year hits or even a series of bad years, there are still seeds waiting in the soil for the right time.

I first became aware of this when I planted tons of wildflower seeds a friend got me for my new home in the woods. I expected a glorious spring. I got some blooms but 11 years later I am still being surprised by some of the varieties popping up where I planted them.

So, I plant my seed right after I collect it. Much of my planting involves flinging seeds about in different areas but for some seeds I do get down and plant them the proper depth.

Pictures of common flowers and their seed pods and seeds:

Violas
Violas

Violas are the smaller perennial version of Pansies, they produce little rounded conical pods that break open to reveal many little sticky seeds

Viola seed pods on the plants.
Viola seed pods on the plants.

 

Viola seeds being removed from pods
Viola seeds being removed from pods

Lunaria (aka Money Plant, Honesty or Silver Dollar Plant. These have purple flowers in the spring and develop branches of beautiul pods. The pictures show how to free the seeds from the pods by rubbing the outer two layers gentle leaving the shimmery silvery inner membrane and collecting your seeds.

Lunaria, also called Money plant.
Lunaria, also called Money plant.
Rubbing the outer membranes off gently.
Rubbing the outer membranes off gently.
The two uter membranes rubbed off, leaving the translucent inner membrane and seeds in hand.
The two uter membranes rubbed off, leaving the translucent inner membrane and seeds in hand.
The end result, can be used in bouquets or left in the garden to shimmer on crisp fall days.
The end result, can be used in bouquets or left in the garden to shimmer on crisp fall days.

Obedient Plant or Physostegia virginiana, or False Dragonhead can become invasive but I got the “Manners” pink and white varieties which will help. To collect seed you need to get it before the seed falls. Look inside the pods and harvest the seeds just as they turn  dark.

Obiedient plant just finishing flowering.
Obedient plant just finishing flowering.
Obiedient plant seed case and seeds.
Obiedient plant seed case and seeds.

Catmint plants spread seed easily. Inside each little seed cup is a black seed. by the time I got to them many were empty but i got a couple black seeds.

Catmint plant after flowering.
Catmint plant after flowering.
A few black seed to plant.
A few black seed to plant.

Digitalis or Foxglove plants produces hundreds if not thousands of seeds per plant. The tiny seeds are easy to throw about and some will come up right away and others will wait. The seedlings are easy to transplant if you have too many in one area.

Digitalis aka Foxglove. Note: all parts of the plant are poisonous.
Digitalis aka Foxglove. Note: all parts of the plant are poisonous.
Foxglove with seed pods opening.
Foxglove with seed pods opening.
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One pod and the many seeds it contains.

Many bushes and trees have seeds you can colllect at this time also:

The Japanese Maple has samaras:

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The American Cranberrybush (Viburnum trilobum):

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Fall colors of the bush:

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There are many others that sre easy to collect. I will leave you with this today and will come back with some more next time.

Once you’ve collected seeds you can share and trade with friends. Happy Hunting!

 

 



 

 

 

Time to Plant Iris!

"Proud Tradition' Tall Bearded Iris in front and 'Batik' in back.
“Proud Tradition’ Tall Bearded Iris in front and ‘Batik’ in back.
'Bewilderbeast' Tall Bearded Iris by Brad Kasperek, 1994
‘Bewilderbeast’ Tall Bearded Iris by Brad Kasperek, 1994

I love roses, yes. I love many other flowers too. Iris are probably in my top three. As the nights start to cool down and all the Iris Sellers are selling out of many of their top Iris, it is time to stop cursing the deer and plant something they and the moles, voles, and gophers don’t touch. The Iris. They will eat some iris but they stay away from the most commonly planted Bearded Irises.

'Clarence', Tall Bearded Reblooming Iris by Lloyd Zurbrigg, 1990
‘Clarence’, Tall Bearded Reblooming Iris by Lloyd Zurbrigg, 1990

Planting Iris is an easy task compared to many other plants. They like full sun, but I grow many of mine in less than ideal conditions living in a forest and they still thrive.  The Bearded Irises need well drained soil, but some like Siberian and Japanese like wet and even boggy soil. They like slightly acid soil (pH of 6.8 is ideal) but they will grow well in soils on either side of the perfect pH. Adding peat or compost to very sandy soil helps retain some moisture for the roots.

'Art Deco' Tall Bearded Iris by Schreiner, 1997
‘Art Deco’ Tall Bearded Iris by Schreiner, 1997

Plant the iris so the top of the rhizome is level with the soil or in very hot or cold situations up to an inch below. July, August and September are the best months for planting.

'Hello Darkness' Tall Bearded Iris by Screiner, 1992
‘Hello Darkness’ Tall Bearded Iris by Screiner, 1992

The selection at online stores is amazing. They often are also Iris Hybridizers and send good quality rhizomes. They want their iris to succeed in your garden. Avoid buying the dried up iris hanging on racks in bags at Big Box stores. So often these are dead. Good nurseries will often have boxes of fresh rhizomes direct from growers, the only problem here is sometimes people mix up the iris in the bins and you may get a surprise, I have!

Historic Iris are making a comeback, many are being sold on ebay. Check the provenance of the iris so you are sure you are getting what you think you are. Many iris are similiar.

An unidentified Historic Iris, possible Barry Morell
An unidentified Historic Iris, possible Barry Morell

Happy Planting!

Victoria, Princess Royal and her Roses

Victoria, Princess Royal as a young girl. Portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1842.
Victoria, Princess Royal as a young girl. Portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1842.

Britain’s Princess Royal Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa, was the first born child of Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria), Queen of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from June 20, 1837 until her death January 22, 1901, and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

She was born November 21, 1840 and died the same year as her mother on August 5, 1901 of breast cancer. As a young girl she was provided with a very good education and showed great aptitude and interest in learning. She became engaged to Prussian Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm Nikolaus Karl. “Fritz” as he was called also received a good and liberal education. They married on January 25, 1858 at the Chapel Royal of St. James Palace in London. They had 8 children.

Victoria wife of Kaiser Friedrich. Portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter
Victoria wife of Kaiser Friedrich. Portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter
"Fritz" and Victoria with their two oldest children, Wilhelm and Chralotte
“Fritz” and Victoria with their two eldest children, Wilhelm and Charlotte. Portait by Frana Xaver Winterhalter.

Fritz became Friedrich III, German Emperor and King of Prussia after the death of his Father, Emperor Wilhelm I on March 9, 1888. He ruled for only 99 days as he was in the late stages of Laryngeal cancer. During his rule he wrote notes as he could not speak. He died on June 15, 1888 and his son Wilhelm II became the last German Emperor and King of Prussia, ruling until November 9, 1918. The year 1888 became known as The Year of the Three Emperors.

After Friedrich III’s death, Victoria became know as Kaiserin Viktoria.

The Roses named after Victoria include “Kronprinzessin Viktoria’, a Bourbon Rose that is a sport of ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’. It was introduced in Germany in 1888 by Franz Späth at his family’s nursery of the same last name. It is moderately fragrant and blooms in flushes throughout the growing season.

'Kronprinzessin Viktoria' Bourbon Rose. 1888
‘Kronprinzessin Viktoria’
Bourbon Rose. 1888
The same rose a few days later, showing the fullness.
The same rose a few days later, showing fullness.

The other rose that I have that is named after this Victoria is ‘Kaiserin Friedrich’, a tea rose that likes to climb. It was bred by Heinrich Drögemüller in Saxony, Germany in 1885. This beautiful yellow and pink tea is very full and has a strong fragrance. It also is remontant ‘Kaiserin Friedrich’ is one of my personal favorites.

"Kaiserin Friedrich' Climbing Tea Rose, 1885
“Kaiserin Friedrich’ Climbing Tea Rose, 1885

There are several beautiful roses named after Victoria’s daughter-in-law, Auguste Viktoria and her grandaughter Viktoria Luise.

Victoria, Crown Princess of Germany. Portrait by Heinrich von Angeli, 1876.
Victoria, Crown Princess of Germany. Portrait by Heinrich von Angeli, 1876.

 

 

 

 

Roses!

Summer Memories
‘Summer Memories’ Shrub Rose

Summer Memories 2

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‘Summer Memories’ a sturdy beautiful white rose with pink and yellow undertones. Bred by Tim Hermann Kordes in 1992 but not released by Kordes until 2004 in Germany. Blooms are about 3″ and it blooms in flushes throughout the growing season.

 

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‘Clothilde Soupert’ Polyantha Rose

‘Clothilde Soupert’ Polyantha rose. Sources say the average diameter of the blooms is about 1 1/2″ but this beauty is more like 2 1/2 inches. Generally, the first spring blooms are generally the largest. It also blooms in flushes throughout the season and is very fragrant. Bred by Soupert and Notting in Luxembourg, 1888. One of my new favorites.

 

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‘Arrillaga’ Hybrid Perpetual Rose

‘Arrillaga’, a Hybrid Perpetual bred by Father George M. A. Schoener, Ph. D. in 1929. This produces large light pink blooms in a large flush in spring with occassional later blooms. I am really impressed with the quantity and quality of these roses.

 

Laguna
Laguna Large-Flowered Climber Rose

20160618_070950_HDRLaguna™ Large-Flowered Climber Rose has old fashioned blooms of dark pink with a strong spicy fragrance. The foliage is very healthy. It was bred by Tim Hermann Kordes in 1994 and released in Germany in 2004 and the USA in 2008. I did an earlier post on Laguna during the winter

 

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‘Grace Darling’ Hybrid Tea Rose

‘Grace Darling’ is an early Hybrid Tea named for the daughter of a lighthouse keeper. One night she and her father rescued the crew of of the shipwrecked Forfarshire in 1836. She became world famous overnight and was sent gifts and money from far and wide. People wrote to her asking for bits of hair or clothing. Her fame in the Victorian era overwhelmed and overtired her. She died at the early age of 26 in 1842.

This rose honoring her was bred in 1884 by William Bennett in the United Kingdom. The rose is a pure pink with a strong fragrance. It grows more bushlike than the modern Hybrid Teas and is on the small side. It blooms in flushes throughout the growing season.

I will leave you today with one of my new peonies this year, Lady Alexandra Duff bred by Kelway and Son in the United Kingdom, 1902.

Lady Alexandra Duff Hybrid Lactiflora Peony
Lady Alexandra Duff Hybrid Lactiflora Peony

 

 

 

 

 

Busy Spring but finally Flowers!

 

'Duchesse de Brabant' Tea Rose
‘Duchesse de Brabant’ Tea Rose blooming finally.

I am finally getting some rose blooms in the garden

'Duchesse de Brabant'. with all its protection, blooming
‘Duchesse de Brabant’. with all its protection, blooming
'Duchesse de Brabant'Rose
‘Duchesse de Brabant’Rose
'Rival de Paestum' China/Bengale, Tea Rose with viola
‘Rival de Paestum’ China/Bengale, Tea Rose with viola

I’ve been spending all my time digging up the roses that gophers have eaten down to a nub and placing them in pots hoping they will root. So far out of about 30 I have only lost 2. The rest are in various stages of rooting.

Roses eaten by gophers in the hospital.
Roses eaten by gophers in the hospital.
'Gentle Hermione' buried deeply to root.
‘Gentle Hermione’ buried deeply to root.
'Tess of The d'Urbervilles®' rooting, close-up.
‘Tess of The d’Urbervilles®’ rooting, close-up.
'Full Sail' Rose rooting after being eaten into little bits by a gopher.
‘Full Sail’ Rose rooting after being eaten into little bits by a gopher.

Some of these shown are patented roses and I am not propagating them, merely saving the whole plants I bought at nurseries that were eaten by gophers. I strongly believe in the breeder of roses getting their just compensation. As you can see, I am rooting the whole plant with the patent tags still attached.  I propagate other roses that are long past any patent infringement. You can find patents on Help Me Find by looking up the variety and also at the US Patent Office under plant patents. Plant patents currently last for 20 years. Just because a rose is over 20 years old does not mean it is out of patent. In the case of Jasmina ™, the rose was developed in 1996 in Germany, but the patent in the US was not applied for until July 21, 2006 and issued on June 17, 2008. From what I can gather the 20 years starts at the date of the patent’s application.

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I’ve also been digging up roses that haven’t been eaten yet and putting them in buried 10-15 gallon squat pots. As my Dad always said, “Keeps me out of the pool halls”.

'Stanwell Perpetual' Hybrid Spinosissima Rose
‘Stanwell Perpetual’ Hybrid Spinosissima Rose

This rose has a very sweet, pure rose fragrance. Every grandmother should smell like this rose.

'Stanwell Perpetual'
‘Stanwell Perpetual’

 

El Niño in My Backyard

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Heavy rains in Northern California. Annesylvania’s creek has been running high, up to the top of the banks in many places.

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This is all good for California’s drought. The water from this creek flows into Lake Shasta which has been down to the lowest level since 1977, 889 feet above sea level in December 0f 2014. Full capacity is 1,067 feet above sea level. At full capacity the reservoir holds 4.5 million acre feet of water. Last December it was 29% full at 912.10 ft. above sea level.

20160313_170203_HDRYesterday it had reached 77% full at 1031.92 feet above sea level and the island that has had an isthmus connecting it to the shore for too long, Beaver Island, is an island once again. We have had almost 10 inches of rain in March, as of the 13th. Between midnight on the 12th and midnight of the 13th Lake Shasta rose over 6 feet!

My soil is a silty sand with gravel in places. Sometimes pure sand. Very hard for water to stay in. Percolation tests are a joke here as the water disappears almost instantly. This series of storms has created little lakes and creeks in the sandy soil.

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Such a pleasure to see all this water and know it is going downhill to where it is really needed. It is good to know there will be plenty of water available for farmers and the Chinook Salmon will not have to face a third year of a little warm water instead of the cold water they need for spawning.

The Missing Coyotes

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Spring is just around the corner and with the melting snow comes some surprises, some good, like the Galanthus above and some like the discovery that during the winter gophers decided to eat many rosebushes,

In my little town a group of vigilantes, old men in camo gear, decided we no longer needed the coyotes. They dressed up and went out with their guns and killed the coyotes.  A year later I see jackrabbits in the streets and gophers, where I never had gophers for ten years I have owned the property are eating all my roses and any other tasty plant.

What the gopher does to rose plants.
What the gopher does to rose plants.

 

 

The 'Carding Mill' rose I planted last year.
The ‘Carding Mill’ rose I planted last year.

I don’t do poison, knowing full well I may be poisoning owls, hawks, my neighbor’s cats and the ecosystem. Traps are iffy, messy and I don’t have time nor the body to lie on the ground with a .22 like my father did to rid the land of his gophers.

A war has started, a defensive war. After speaking to experienced rosarians I have decided to plant my roses in 15 gallon buried pots. First the pots are drilled with many holes (smaller than 1″ so gopher’s can’t sneak in). This is my new reality. Protected below from gophers, protected above from rabbits and deer. Can’t wait to see this David Austin ‘Princess Anne’ grow.

The best offense is a good defense.
The best offense is a good defense.

 

‘Sweet Cassandra’ Miniature Rose

While looking up one rose on helpmefind.com and then looking who sold it, I discovered a rose nursery in Southern Oregon that I was unfamiliar with: Burns Miniature Rose Nursery. http://www.burnsminiatureroses.com/  As I like to do business with nurseries that are somewhat nearby (I’m in Northern California) I looked at what they have for sale and discovered a rose I just have to have!

'Sweet Cassandra' Miniature Rose bred by June Burns
‘Sweet Cassandra’ Miniature Rose bred by June Burns

This little rose cried ‘perfection’ to me. The simplicity yet complexity of its beauty is something I want in my garden.

I called the Nursery and got a prompt call back from Tom. I ordered three ‘Sweet Cassandras’, which I found out is named after Tom & June’s daughter. I want them delivered in May, they are happy to oblige.

Sister Sharon Rose
Sister Sharon Rose

Burns nursery is a newer one and they are busy building up stock. They have a nice selection of beautiful roses. I invite you to visit their site and fall in love.

 

Roses for Arbors ~ Céline Forestier

Celine Forestier by Stan Shebs
Celine Forestier by Stan Shebs as seen on Wiki

I am looking for a rose to plant this Spring on my new arbor. It must be a small rose with superb fragrance, that blooms throughout the season. It has to be white, pink, light apricot or pale yellow. I got many good suggestions from people in a garden forum I like. They came up with climbing hybrid musks like ‘Bubble Bath’, a polyantha ‘Renae’, A Paul Barden creation: ‘Mel’s Heritage’, ‘Collete’ a climbing  Romantica™, ‘Ghislaine de Féligonde’, a rose I have elsewhere and many other fine recommendations.

‘Ghislaine de Féligonde’
‘Ghislaine de Féligonde’ in my garden.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have tentatively decided on Céline Forestier for two reasons: I have two small plants in the garage which I ordered this winter and I have located the arbor next to my Pale Yellow Garden. My Pale Yellow Garden is a portion of my yard planted around a smallish Black Oak (Quercus kelloggii), a common oak in Northern California and in my mixed Ponderosa Pine forest.  It started with an “Elizabeth’ magnolia.

'Elizabeth' Magnolia, Photo by Laimah Osman in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
‘Elizabeth’ Magnolia, Photo by Laimah Osman in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

From there I planted ‘Capistrano’ and  ‘Mary Fleming’ Rhododendrons.

'Capistrano Rhododendron' available for purchase whiteflowerfarm.com
‘Capistrano Rhododendron’ available for purchase at the whiteflowerfarm.com
'Mary Fleming' Rhododendron. Photo by June Bouchard
‘Mary Fleming’ Rhododendron. Photo by June Bouchard.

And on from there, Fothergilla, Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox), ‘Moonsprite” and ‘Charlotte’ roses, and other pale yellow flowering plants.

'Charlotte' English Rose in the Pale Yellow Garden
‘Charlotte’ English Rose in the Pale Yellow Garden

Why PALE yellow? I have an aversion to bright yellows, oranges and reds. When I flip through Rose books and come to the roses starting with ‘gold..’ I get physically ill. Pale yellow I can take.  It blends well with the white and blushes and pinks I adore.

Celine Forestier, available from Angel Gardens in Florida. angelgardens.com
Celine Forestier, available from Angel Gardens: angelgardens.com

So then, on to Céline, a pale yellow, pinkish at times, fragrant (strong spice tea according to helpmefind.com), climbing noisette. I love my Noisettes. Ever since I became acquainted with ‘Champney’s Pink Cluster’ I have been in love with Noisettes and the Tea-Noisettes. I’m pushing my Zone 7a or b a little here (USDA agricultural zone) but so far, so good.  AND I have 2 in the garage!  What could be better? So that is the plan so far for the arbor this Spring.

Book

I recently purchased (and read) a book, Noisette Roses, 19th Century Charleston’s Gift to the World, and fell even harder for these little fragrant puffs.

Keep dreaming of Spring!

 

 

 

Plans for Spring ~ New Arbor

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Gardeners in snowy areas spend a lot of time indoor reading catalogs and perusing the internet for garden things. This is the time we dream of glorious Spring days and plot out how to make them more glorious.  For some, like me, it means in the middle of a snowstorm with ankle deep slush on the road and a growing river in the driveway, the familiar Fedex man pulls up and searches his truck for a box for me. “I know it is here someplace” as I stand ready by the truck, taking a break from shoveling snow, to get the package so he doesn’t have to wade through the cold mess.  “It’s a big one.” He says, “I’d better get this one for you”. A huge flat rectangle appears and he kindly puts it in the door to my entry hall. It must be the arbor I just ordered from Hayneedle.com. Payment just cleared this morning and here it is already, blocking all avenues of passage in the hall.

Do I stow it in the garage and sensibly wait for Spring? No. I take down the live Christmas tree in my living room to make way for construction.  I take out all the pieces and styrofoam and enough bubble wrap to make a large Halloween Costume. The arbor is well packed and arrived undamaged. I do find a little live moth in the bubble wrap and immediately kill it and put it out on the snow. No stowaways from China will become the next pest to decimate California Agriculture on my watch.

I then sit down to read the directions. Yes, I am a woman, I read directions.

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Only these are pictures and it says I should have so many bolts and nuts. I don’t have them though I found the ground stakes, and two cute little wrenches. So I go back through all the packaging, no luck. Before panicking and calling the company to complain I look over the pieces and find that some of the bolts are welded onto the frame of the arbor with the nut on them and other nut-bolt pairs are in the places you will need them on the arbor. Ah, I have gotten the new improved version of the arbor. The “Belham Living Iron Swirling Vine Arbor” to be exact.

Belham Living Iron Swirling Vine Arbor from Hayneedle.com
Belham Living Iron Swirling Vine Arbor from Hayneedle.com

I assemble to top arch in the living room and it goes together easily and then I see how big this thing really is and how put together it may  cause some logistics problems. I move outside to the covered deck and assemble the top sides (I may be a woman who reads directions, but that doesn’t mean I follow them) to the top. I mean who wants to reach up and try to put the top on two long sides?

And there it sits, I will assemble the bottom part when the arbor is in the place I want it to be, still a decision to make.

I have been looking at arbors all fall and winter. I have found several I like but cost is a factor in my life. I finally was looking at Hayneedle.com and found the arbor I purchased that fit my requirements. I wanted iron, because the wooden ones decay eventually, and carpenter ants scout the forest looking for wood things to eat. I wanted it tall and wide. My sons are tall men, 6’3′ and 6’5″ and my husband is 6’2 so I am aware that stooping under a cute little arbor may be okay for me, but they hate it!  I also want something I can drag tall trees, through, wrangle a wheelbarrel load of compost through and just be large and magnificent. When I saw that the “Belham Living Iron Swirling Vine Arbor” was on sale, marked down to $149.98 from $399.00, I went for it. With free delivery.  They have many choices on Hayneedle and on Amazon.

swirling vine arbor2

I am very happy with the overall heaviness, rustic feel, and quality of the arbor. It is real iron and even thought the swirly part is thin, it is attached to a good solid iron frame.

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It is nice and wide with an inside clearance of 55 inches.

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This is an arbor that is wide enough to use as a Wedding Arbor because two people would fit easily if the 4′ 9″ space.  The sides are almost 23 inches wide.

The bottom pieces to be installed when I move it to the final location.
The bottom pieces to be installed when I move it to the final location.

I love the little pineapple details at the top.

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It was a sunny day today, so I did put it up in an area I had dug the snow off yesterday. It looks a little lonely with all the small plants buried in the snow.

Beautiful arbor!
Beautiful arbor!

Now another decision, what rose to plant to grow over it? I’m leaning towards Celine Forestier as I have two little plants in the garage.

Celine Forestier, availbale from Angel Gardens In Florida, angelgardens.com Pam is a sweetheart who will help you find what you need.
Celine Forestier, available from Angel Gardens In Florida. Pam is a sweetheart who will help you find what you need. angelgardens.com