Ornaments can provide playfulness to the garden

(Julie Notarianni - For The Washington Post)
Thursday, August 26, 2010

Vegetable gardens lend themselves to vertical whimsy in a way that other, more staid parts of the landscaped yard do not. The veggie garden gives you permission to be a kid again, to assemble trellises or tepees for pole beans while savoring the childhood joy of making simple things with bamboo sticks and a ball of twine.

Supports take many forms, and visits to public gardens can give you ideas. Beyond simple, seasonal bamboo trellises, the garden can be given more permanent structure with arches, patio arbors, wooden trellised panels and cold frames. Erected above a sitting area, an arbor provides form in winter and a place of sheltering shade in summer, covered with grapevines, kiwi vines, the hyacinth bean vine or other living parasols.

Using upright structures and growing plants that need support, such as cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini, effectively increases the size of the garden.

Some vertical elements can be playful, including whirligigs, signs, decorative medallions and birdhouses. Paint can transform gardens with joyful color, especially vibrant hues such as lavender, lemon yellow, light green, powder blue and magenta.

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