Charming Arches

Flowering and edible arches are arguably one of the most stylish and elegant features of a garden. Ideal in large spaces where a focal point of interest is needed, over entrances as a dramatic touch, or in small gardens where a compact cluster of blooms steals the show – arches are full of charm and for everyone! Follow Life is a Garden’s top aching tips and plant picks to get cracking on your first New Year’s gardening project.

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Good advice for getting started 

Here are a few important factors to consider when purchasing or building an arch.

  • Take careful note of the size of the space where you would like to grow your edible or flowering arch. How much sun does this space receive? Is there enough room for the plant to expand as it grows? 
  • Where will your arch steal the show most and what is your vision? Consider which other accessories will complement the structure such as a cute table and chairs nearby for tea, garden lights along a walkway that lead to the arch, or perhaps an additional flower bed all around the arch. Flowering arches are also excellent wildlife attractors and privacy shields. 
  • What material is your arch made of? Some plants get heavier as they age, requiring stronger support. If using a wooden arch, remember to use a weather-resistant sealer that won’t harm your plant. If you are using a metal arch, remember that extreme weather may also burn/freeze delicate flower varieties. 
  • Can you reach the top of your arch? Pruning your ramblers, scramblers, and climbers are essential to maintaining a nice and neat shape to your arch. Make sure you have a long ladder and access to all sides of the plant for shape pruning. Similarly, if you are growing an edible arch, make sure you have enough space to harvest. 

Top arching tip: Train your vines to grow in the shape you want by redirecting staying branches towards the structure of the arch. You may need to lightly tie down some pieces in the beginning to encourage the plant to grow with the arch shape. Pruning is also important so be sure to have a sharp pair of sheers on hand.

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Edible arches 

1. Kiwi fruit: Plant male plants one side and female on the other side for a successful harvest. The male plant produces flowers, while the female produces both flowers and fruit. Grow plants in full sun where they are protected from wind.

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2. Cherries: Go for the self-pollinating dwarf Lapis variety. Your plant will give you attractive foliage for the first three years before producing fruit. Lapins cherries have a mahogany red skin with a delicious sweet flavour. Plant them in full sun with 6 to 8 hours of sunshine, preferably on the south side of the property.

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3. Granadillas: For a fast grower with gorgeous edible flowers, go for grannies! Known also as purple passionfruit, plants are generally hassle-free and produce a large harvest to share with loved ones. Grow them in full sun with a generous amount of compost and deeply lessened soil.

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Try these too: Cross-pollinating apples: plant Early Red on one side and Granny Smith on the other side. Also, go for annual veggies such as cucumber and squash.

Flowering arches 

1. The ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ rose: The deep royal blue-purple of this new rose marks the introduction of a genuine new colour in roses. This lovely is an upright growing shrub rose bearing clusters of semi-double blooms that open to reveal a glowing centre of golden yellow stamens. They have a spicy fragrance and love to climb in full sun with nutritious soil. (medium water hydrozone)

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2. Wisteria: Here’s another fast grower with extra bold blooms (that become very heavy). Wisteria flowers are beautifully fragrant, providing a feast for the senses. After flowering, a brown, bean-like pod stays on the plant until winter. Plant them in full sun and be sure to prune frequently as flowers only grow on new growth. (medium water hydrozone)

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3. Jasminum polyanthum: Evergreen, sweetly scented, and fast-growing makes Jasmin an all-time favourite. Grow them in full sun or dappled shade where they are protected from frost. Avoid heavily shaded areas as the plant is unlikely to flower and will become leggy. Enjoy their heavily scent and all the friendly garden visitors. (medium water hydrozone)

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Try these too: Clematis are exotic treats and will create a moody atmosphere with their large purple blooms. 

The year is off to a charming start with gardening goals like these! Visit your GCA Garden Centre for more seasonal climbers and stunning arches on sale. Join Life is a Garden on Facebook and show off your new focal point with equally passionate people – we REALLY want to see!

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