Garden Photo of the Day

Repurposing architectural details in the garden

Click to enlarge
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

I visited a bunch of gardens around Chicago a couple of weeks ago (special thanks to Amanda Thomsen, FG’s newest blogger, who acted as my guide!), and in one of those gardens, I fell in love with this metal arbor. I loved it even more when I found out what it used to be!

Click to enlarge
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

The owner of this garden and its arbor, Wendy Ory, says, “The ornamental wrought iron pieces are from a 70’s ranch we renovated in Sun City, Arizona. The railings and support posts from the front porch had way too much character to put out to the curb, so we dragged them back to Illinois. I had originally thought of using the railing pieces for fencing but couldn’t find the right place for them and they eventually made their way to other gardens. The ideal place for an arbor was created when we mulched in an area between two existing beds. My husband the carpenter designed the top to echo the curves of the iron pieces. I really like the way the arbor is aging and how the plants are filling in around it.” Love it! Thanks, Wendy, for sharing.

Click to enlarge
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Click to enlarge
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais


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View Comments


  1. fldirt 09/14/2011

    Very nice! I love to see recycled stuff in gardens.

  2. tractor1 09/14/2011

    A lovely salvage but that color is awful, reminds me of how my father would mix all the left overs to paint the kitchen and bathrooms, drove my mother crazy with his depression mentality. It needs the rust wire brushed/sanded and a fresh coat of white Rustoleum, and it's too naked, needs clothing, a vine/climbing rose.

  3. user-7006885 09/14/2011

    Oh, tractor1, I love the color and the rust adds a lot of character. White would be much too blatant there.

    I do think a vine of some sort might be nice but not one that would totally cover the trellis and obscure the wonderful shapes of the design. Maybe something climbing up just one side??

    I'm amazed that her husband let her drag iron railings from Arizona to Illinois--- husbands are usually so practical!

    How nice to finally find the perfect spot for something like this.

  4. MichelleGervais 09/14/2011

    This is what hapens, folks, when you try to take photos in full, blazing sun - the colors come out all wonky! That arbor IS white...

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