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Gardening in America
Climate Control North Arbor
by Nancy Fletcher

North AborSummer sun can be as grueling as winter winds. With this thought in mind we decided to erect an arbor on the north side of the front entrance. It was with surprise we learned how great the benefits were to us. In the winter the breaking of the wind made a decided difference in the comfort of the interior of the house with resulting lowered heating bills.

The cement front patio which was at first seemed a plus soon became a liability as to its holding the heat of the summer sun. Sometimes, it would radiate so much heat the necessity was to hose it down with a sprinkler to cool the front area. After the arbor was put in place, the area became some pleasant surroundings to set chairs of a retreat for evening relaxation or a lovely quiet place to entertain guests when a light table and chairs are set there. The vista off the front area is a gift in the way of calming environment.

There is a covering of wood lattice work on the west side of the arbor which blocks the evening sun. The wood lattice was spray painted with a hunter green color. However, I have seen some lattice work painted white which gives a total different effect. On this west side there are tame grape vines. The top of the arbor is covered with a wild variety of grape vines. These are decidedly more hardy and grow more rapidly. The only negative thing is the large numbers of leaves to fall after frost. We keep an electric blower vac with which we can just either blow the leaves off or put a bag on the vac, picking up the leaves in order to use them for mulch.

The supports across the top are 2x6's which give a decided strong support. They are spaced 24 inches across. They are a treated wood to resist rotting from the rainy weather.

There is one other nice thing about the arbor and this is the fact that it draws songbirds to it. The tiny little wren with its strong melody has such a beautiful song. The mockingbirds literally do warfare in order to claim their territory for it. We have placed a small rock bird bath to the side of the arbor in order to accommodate this little creatures. The bird bath is small and must be attended to daily as to clean water in the summer months.

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