Having seen five Chelsea garden shows, worked on many Garden tours and with a grandfather who cultivated orchids, a father and godfather as florists I hate to admit that I have no green thumb… but I am an enthusiastic gardener! I love roses and jasmine climbing over archways and trellises, climbing ‘anything’, in fact to cover my ordinary fence and block out the view of chaos in my neighbours. The Chelsea garden shows definitely brought my banksia rose archway and my Anglo Saxon need for privacy introduced the trellises. Scorching summers and harsh winters mean everything has to survive on its own.
It’s a well-known fact that wisteria and jasmine are a must in any Italian garden and I snuck in the Banksia rose (just gorgeous) as I mistakenly thought it was an Australian plant, and because I don’t like roses with thorns.
So the wisteria quickly climbed my neighbours’ tree, crept over to my rose trellis and twisted its way into my ordinary fencing so much so that I thought it would eventually pull the fence down. The answer to that then had to be a pergola! I scouted the various hardware – garden shops, even investigated a made to order one (which was far too expensive for my humble garden!) and settled on a do it yourself ‘el cheapo’ number. I did however paint it 3 times with expensive wood stain and waterproofing as I think that’s critical.
And just when I needed a man to help me put it up….where are they?
At work! Which is understandable but useless to think we could do it after work as there’s not enough daylight. The semi-retired neighbour (with the chaos) was too busy, although gave some very helpful hints on how to do it, and my other young neighbour offered, but took off scuba diving in Sicily instead! And then it rained for 3 weekends in a row!
First start with enormous spikes (50cm) that look like they came from Ben Hurs chariot or a star wars battle, and belt those into the ground…. not an easy task!
It took me 2 days – 1 to put it up, and the other to untwist the wisteria from the fencing and trellis and encourage it to take hold of the pergola.
I was suitably dressed for the part in my trusty overalls which delayed the squishy mess seeping through till I guessed from the smell that I had knelt in cats poo! Not from my dear old cat, Whisky, who was probably looking down on me from heaven having a chuckle at my fate. While aristocat Pearl gave a sly smirk and slunk silently through the fence!
Ps. It was not as easy as Ikea, no predrilled holes and poorly cut junctures!