Our garden, like all gardens, is much more than a retreat. It is also a place where we encounter the world. ~Allen Lacy
This post was originally published in an online magazine 3 years ago. I thought it would be a great time to repost it as the gazebo fits prominently into my garden’s design and redesign. The pictures here, that feature the gazebo, are of the garden in all seasons 3 years ago.
Gazebos have a rich history around the world. As far back as ancient Egypt, tomb murals showed gazebos in gardens. Ancient Rome and Greece built gazebos of marble and used them as part of a temple as well as using them in gardens at their large summer homes. In 10th century Persia, ornate gazebos were built often near streams or ponds. During the Renaissance, gazebos were found in monastery gardens, as a quiet place for meditation and prayer. In Asia, especially China and Japan, gazebos have been used for centuries in gardens, for teahouses and places to meditate. In English gardens, gazebos have been used since the late 1700s and early 1800s.
Here in the United States, gazebos have been around since the founding of our country. George Washington had an eight-sided garden structure at Mount Vernon, and even Thomas Jefferson’s writings included references to gazebos which he called a summerhouse or pavilion. Their popularity soared in the mid-1800s especially among the middle class. At the turn of 20th century they lost popularity once houses became smaller and porches were the style. More recently around the 21st century, there has been a resurgence in their popularity.
So it is no wonder I have loved these garden structures and have always wanted one in the garden of my dreams. When we built the garden at our new house, it was a priority. It had to be carefully placed to take advantage of the views and the existing landscape. I wanted to have a 360-degree view of the gardens I was planning including the meadow behind the fence. I also wanted to take advantage of the shade from established trees so it would be a refuge from the summer heat. And it had to be placed on higher ground so as not be in line with drainage issues. So there was really no better place than the back right corner especially when considering it as the focal point of the garden.
When you are planning where to place a gazebo, you also want to consider the color, size and style of the gazebo depending on the size and style of your garden. I chose a screened in natural wooden style to complement my gardens which are a cross between English and country cottage style. And since we have a white picket fence, I did not want a white gazebo. It would be lost in the landscape and would no longer be the focal point I was looking for. Having the gazebo screened in was essential, due to the swarms of large mosquitoes we are known for here south of the lake. These mosquitoes have been known to carry off small children and animals and they just love me.
Planting around a gazebo is really easy as it complements so many garden styles. I have a white garden to the left of it, a more natural native garden to the right, with a new rain garden to help with drainage, and then the meadow behind it.
The gazebo has other perks as well. It allows me to watch the wildlife that visits the garden without disturbing them. And the cool breezes that blow so gently through it make it the perfect place to relax. Because we placed it facing the pond and waterfall, you can also hear the wonderful sound of water. A surprise bonus has been the ability to watch the sunrise, sunset and moonrise from the gazebo. What better place than a gazebo to while away the hours in meditation and quiet conversation.
“It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought.” James Douglas
Update: The gazebo remains integral in the design of my backyard gardens. And as I consider some redesigns, I will be looking to use the gazebo even more. I have found recently we were using it more as a shed than a place in the garden. So we are thinking of adding some pots and hanging baskets inside and outside the gazebo, clearing out everything that is being stored there as well as adding some comfortable furniture. And I want to make sure the surrounding gardens are delightful for both the critters and us.
I am planning to do a new series this spring called, A View From The Gazebo, where I will be viewing what is going on around the garden as seen from the gazebo. These pictures are some of the views seen from and through the gazebo this past year.
In A Vase On Monday
I thought I would do a bit of a themed vase for the upcoming Valentine’s Day. I have a Belleek vase with hearts on it…perfect! And I decided to fill it with the thorny Barberry branches (Berberis thunbergii ‘Helmond Pillar’) full of red berries that are right off my front porch. It is a bit of an ironic twist to have these thorny branches in a heart vase for Valentine’s Day. Oh I wonder what that says about me?
Then I placed it on the bookshelf against the rose-colored walls almost looking gray. I liked the combination of the ivy and pink birdhouse with the vase. The birdhouse was a gift from a friend who hand painted it herself.
Finally, I was playing with the editing app and liked how it “posterized” the picture.
Next up on the blog:
Next Monday, I will be profiling another flower I grow from seed each year.
I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her new blog just for Nature Notes. It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Tuesday.
I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.
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