Rustic Touches in My Cottage Gardens

Lady Banks Rose in Jacki Kellum Garden

This year, I am adding some vigorous climbing roses, to my garden,  including Lady Banks and Peggy Martin. Both of these roses require super strong support.

Lady Banksia Rose [Lady Banks]
Image Credit: Heirloom Roses

Lady Banks or Banksia Rose was first cultivated in 1807. This old gal is the Queen of Southern Gardens.

“Lady Banks is the grandest of all Climbing Roses with the potential to grow up to 20′ tall! She can be trained to climb just about anything and does so with a grand display of flowers if you give her good soil drainage and sturdy support. Lady Banks is a rambling and nearly thornless rose that produces hundreds of miniature, yellow blooms and is a recipient of the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society. Give her plenty of space and watch this drought-resistant Climber take off! Enjoy her all the way up to zone 9.” Heirloom Roses


Zephiritin Drouhin Ros

Image Credit: Heirloom Roses

Zéphirine Drouhin is my longest and most constant rose friend. I have grown this rose in several of my gardens–from North to South. Unlike Lady Banks and Peggy Marin, Zephirine Drouhin will be fine on less substantial arbors.

Zephirine Drouhin is a climber, and it originated in France in 1868. In my opinion, it is not super fragrant, but it has hardly any thorns. It is also highly resistant to diseases. I plant Zephirine Drouhin with my climbing vegetables like pole beans–and also with clematis. Zepherine Drouhin is stunning when it grows and blooms simultaneously with blue, lavender, and purple clematis plants.

Peggy Martin Rose
Image Credit: Southern Living

Peggy Martin and Lady Banksia require maximum support. Both of these roses grow tall and wide. For that reason, I am starting these two roses on a metal arbor I have constructed by joining 3 arbors.

I began with a large and fairly substantial metal hoop. It is 10 feet long and 7 feet wide, and I have double-reinforced it with steel rods. I’ll probably add more support later, but this should work for a while, and eventually roses will cover the ugly green metal, but I decided to camouflage the metal by attaching tree limbs to the frame,

Jacki Kellum Garden March 29, 2024

Later, I added 2 more metal supports.

Arbor Area April 8, 2024

This short video reflects a bit of the experience of a cottage garden filled with birds, roses, etc. You hear Carolina Chickadees, Mockingbirds, Cardinals, Wrens, and other regulars to my bird feeders. Chickadees and Wrens have built homes in my birdhouses. The rose arbor is 20′ long and 8′ wide. I have 4 birdhouses with Carolina Chickadees and a yard full of Mockingbirds. I also have 1 house wren family in residence. Cardinals, Jays, Mourning Doves, and other birds fly in and out. My secret is live mealworms and Kaytee Nut and Fruit Seed. Suet in Winter, and Bird Baths The rose arbor is 20’ long and 8’ wide. I built it myself. On this arbor, I am growing Peggy Martin, Lady Banks, and Claire Austin Roses. I added the arbor and these roses this month. I have other arbors and other climbing roses. I am 74, and I do all my own work. I tote most of the dirt, lay the bricks, and assemble the raised beds. I essentially had no help.

But for a moment, allow me to return to the first section to which I have attached tree limbs and twigs.

I am a true cottage gardener, and cottage gardens tend to be rustic. Better Homes and Gardens has a good article, showing rustic arbors that have tree limbs in them.

vine fence and trellis with flowers

Image Credit: BHG online


“Use nature as inspiration. Twigs, branches, and even entire trees can be materials for a DIY rustic arbor. Here, two slender trees serve as supports, while curved branches and vines form an arch overhead. The organic structure adds a focal point that beautifully matches its surroundings.” BHG

basic rustic arbor above path with plants

Image Credit: BHG online


“With a rustic arbor, less is more. This no-frills design features only the structural basics required to hold the roof up and keep everything steady. A jumble of roses and other flowers provides the perfect setting for the live-branch tunnel.” BHG

chairs underneath rustic wood garden arbor with roses

Image Credit: BHG online


“In addition to defining an entry point, an arbor can create a private retreat. Roses ramble over this rustic arbor, creating an enchanting, restful getaway. For added interest, the structure is made of branches with a variety of textures.”

Granted, these rustic arbors would probably not work in a formal garden, but cottage gardens are not formal. Cottage gardens were first created by peasants who were forced to do the best that they could with what they had.

Image Credit: BHG

“Cottage gardens often include structures made from natural or well-worn materials. Weathered wood fences, arbors, and gates are right at home among a collection of cottage plants.” BHG

Garden Shed

Image Credit: BHG

“Accessorize with antique or vintage items. In cottage gardens, you’re more likely to find garage-sale bargains than high-ticket purchases. An old, dented watering can or a gate with peeling paint can work nicely.” BHG

Jacki Kellum Garden

Jacki Kellum Garden

The above photo shows another place where I used an iron fence panel. `
Now, here’s my secret: That Iron panel is wired to an old piece of picket fence [also which I salvaged] that is wired to my big iron arbor that is wired to a longer piece of picket fence. There’s a nail somewhere beyond that, but most of it is a florist wire structure.
Here’s a great nougat of truth: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Here’s another bit of inspiration: Just go for it. I am a 74-year-old female, and this year, I have built tons of things: I built 2 outdoor walls, fences, raised beds, etc. None of my building projects are perfect, but they work. The plants camouflage the rough spots of the garden structures that I build. If the worst happens and it all falls down, I’ll just wire it back up again. Correction: I’ll do that unless I’ve changed my mind entirely, and I just want to try
something else.
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Jacki Kellum Garden
Scarlet Running Bean. The pink is Quickfire Hydrangea. My outdoor potting bench and my garden wall is at the rear.
Jacki Kellum Garden

In the following post, I share some of the climbing roses that I grow in my gardens:

Climbing Roses in Cottage Gardens – Which Is the Most Fragrant Climbing Rose?