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Garden Inspiration

I worked at the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show a bit over the weekend.  While there, I did get a chance to wander around a bit, and I am always amazed at the effort and creativity that goes into the display gardens built in the convention center for this event.  For just a 5 day event, those folks sure go all out.  One that caught my eye was an arching arbor built over a wide walkway.  I've been trying to find a shade solution for over our patio for years and I could picture something like this as a possibility:

The reason I like it is the frame is made out of metal tubing which is something I hadn't considered.  I've been paralyzed by the thought of a traditional pergola made of wood, and I figure we'd probably have to get lumber custom-sawn ($$$) to reach across our 19' x 19' patio (a stamped concrete behemoth that came with the house)  The tubing and assembly of this looks like a hoophouse frame, painted black.  I happen to know a welder/metalworker who might be able to figure something like this out for me.  Let's add it to the 'honey-do' list and see what happens. 

I'm not into the stone pillars they've got the arches mounted on, we'd have to figure something else out.  And I don't really like the containers on the pillars either, they look too busy.  I want to grow some vigorous climbing vines from the ground all the way up this baby, whatever we end up building it out of.  I'm thinking instead of grapes like they're implying here w/ their display, I'd rather do wisteria.  Or, since that's such a hit or miss bloomer for me, probably Campsis (trumpetvine).  It's just a bit marginally hardy here, but I'm totally willing to try it.  Our back yard is sort of protected by a big hill behind us and I'm really into the idea of getting buzzed by tons of crazy hummingbirds while I sip my frosty beverage of choice on the patio.  Sweet.


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