Garden Trellises, Arbors, Grape Vines, and Fruits

Posted in Garden Arbors

Well supported trellised vines provide structure, visual interest, and protection in the garden. Structure as in a growing architectural element in the landscape – visual beauty of foliage and fruit colors, forms and textures – and protection in the sense of providing shade and windscreens.

grapevines on a garden arbor or trellis Grape VinesĀ  – Many of us grew up with a neighbor or relative who had grape vines in their backyard, the vines often sprawling over a handmade pergola or piping framework.

Who can forget enjoying their annual fall treat of sweet Concord grapes, squeezing the skins, and spitting out the seeds. And sometimes you were lucky enough to witness the making of grape jam and enjoy its sweetness for many months of the year afterward.

Grape vines make good hardy vertical cover for garden arbors and pergolas and the canopy they provide can block the harshest of summer sun rays.

It takes a few years for the grape vines to establish themselves but it is well worth the wait to have many years of foliage and prolific sweet fruits that follow. And if you enjoy wine and are a bit adventurous, there’s nothing like the satisfaction of making your own homemade wine using the literal fruits of your labor.


kiwi fruit vine growing on backyard trellisVariegated Kiwi Vine – The kiwi vine (Actinidia kolomikta) is an attractive deciduous vining plant that is grown for both its foliage and its “kiwi” fruits. The foliage provides interest with its green leaves that change at the tips to whites, pinks, and rose colors as the leaves mature.

Although not as tough and foolproof as a grapevine, you should definitely consider using the kiwi vine in your landscape. It tends to do well in a wide range of climates such as the US hardiness zones 4-9 and possibly even into zone 3 with winter protection.

If you want a fruit from this Actinidia vine you’ll have to get at least one each of male and female plants. Most often several fruit-bearing female plants are used in combination with a single male plant, which is still an attractive vine even without any fruit. The flowers are not all that conspicuous so this plant is really used for its foliage and fruit. It prefers full sun and will produce the showiest leaf variegation in such exposures.

The kiwi vine will spread minimally about 3-4 feet wide and can grow to about 15-20 feet tall. Its twining stems need support and are best used on lattice filled structures.

blackberry bush trained to arbor trellisBlackberries – Blackberries and Raspberries are perennial shrubs that are often staked but they can also be trained to grow on trellises or the side of a garden arbor. Most blackberries have thorns on their stems so their placement on structures where they can come in contact with human skin is not always advisable. But that doesn’t mean to avoid growing them otherwise you’ll miss out on one of the world’s free summer treats.

Thornless blackberries are available and grown well on trellis systems. It may take several years to get berry plants established and of a decent size but the annual fruit production that you will enjoy for many years to come is worth the effort and the wait. ‘Dormanred’ is a popular trailing raspberry variety. ‘Black Satin’ and ‘Hull’ are two thornless blackberry varieties worth trying. Pruning blackberry and raspberry plants requires a bit of knowledge as there is fruiting wood and non-fruiting wood.

Consider using fruiting vines on your garden arbor, pergola, trellis. Grapevines can be trained and pruned to fit all sizes of structures. The berries are best for shorter structures.

Concord Seedless Grapes
The grapes will need to be supported on a trellis, arbor, fence or wall. Grape vines are often considered ornamental with their curling and twisting trunks.

Buying Grape Cuttings
Starting a grape vine with proper planting material is the key to having a great looking young vine that will reach the trellis in no time.

Grape Vine Supports in Your Landscape
Grape vines are wonderful plants to grow in the garden. You can design them into your landscape easily.

Edible Landscaping Plan
The patio is covered with an arbor that has two kiwi vines on it. Grapevines are espaliered on the wall on either side of the house.

Climbing plants and vines in your home garden
Jasmine, kiwi fruit, and passion-fruit. Plant thorny berry fruits to cover a fence. Birds love the fruit too.