The Monet Arch

Oscar, that fine blogging poet of In So Many Words, recently expressed wonderment that I got any work done with all the photography I did in the garden. I wonder, did he know that the camera is a preferred delaying tactic; and that a new rose arch has stood in the hall porch for the last three days, awaiting assembly?

Rose arch at front

The arch leading into the front garden was such a ramshackle structure that it was being held together by the roses, honeysuckle, and clematis it was meant to support. I therefore ordered a replacement from Agriframes. Today we decided to substitute the new metal Monet Arch for the existing rickety woodwork.

Anyone who remembers our last struggle with an Agriframes Arch may well understand our reluctance to begin this project, and Oscar, in particular, will understand my need ramble round the garden first.

The overnight rain had once again left sparkling gems on the flowers:

raindrops on geraniums

on geraniums;

raindrops on begonia

on begonias;

raindrops on trailing antirrhinums

on trailing antirrhinums, less their tails battered by the winds;

raindrops on hollhock

on Margery’s long- lived hollyhocks;

raindrops on giant fuchsia Pink Marshmallow

on a giant fuchsia Pink Marshmallow;

Raindrops on rose Mamma Mia

and on the rose Mamma Mia, to name a few.

raindrops on apple tree

The ripening apples on the tree also benefited from a wash.

The two beds Jackie has planted up in the last week welcomed the nurturing rainfall. These are

Former ficus bed

the former site of the ficus,

Triangular bed

and the triangular bed linking the Pergola and Brick Paths.

View across triangular bed

Having removed some overgrown shrubs from the latter opens up the view through to the Agriframes Gothic Arch.

Japanese anemones

At every corner the sun lit hosts of grateful blooms like these Japanese anemones.

That little wander was just one of the ways we managed to defer tackling the arch until after lunch. Spelling mistakes in the instructions didn’t inspire me with confidence; neither did the fact that the suppliers had equated 1.2 meters with 4 feet.

Monet Arch Parts List001Monet Arch Instructions002

This was the paperwork.

Before anything else, we decided to take step 2. It seemed rather important to make sure we could fit the four posts into gravelly soil with concrete and stone embellishments. This meant heavily pruning the plants in situ, then piercing four holes in the right places. Every time I extracted the hole maker, bits of gravel fell back into it. That was rather frustrating. Next came step 1. We then applied the top section to the four posts of step 2, to check we had them properly aligned. After a bit of tweaking we found we had.

Step 1 was then removed so we could build step 3, and apply it as in step 4.  Eventually, that worked. This meant we were ready to put step 1 in place.

Monet Arch

I trust that is all very clear. The next time we need an arch it will come ready-assembled from an architectural salvage outlet such as Ace Reclaim.

Did I mention that it rained during this procedure? No? Well, it did.

This evening we dined with Giles and Jean at her home in Barton on Sea. Jean produced an excellent meal of Sea Bass, new potatoes, broccoli, and mushrooms; followed by a succulent autumn pudding, being a seasonal variant on my favourite summer pudding. I drank a rather good mourvedre, while Jackie drank Peroni. Naturally we had our usual stimulating conversation.


  1. Well despite the assembly Derrick congratulations the arch turned out rather nice and I know before too long you two will have the most gorgeous flowers flowing around it. Your dinner sounded wonderful, Sea Bass is a favorite.

  2. Wondering around the garden with a camera, if not exactly gardening, makes you feel like you are serving it in some way. I know I often look around the garden, take note of the work that awaits then dash back into the house for the iPhone and took photographs instead 🙂 Anyway, I’m glad you took photos so that we, too can enjoy your garden.

  3. I have to commend you on a job well done. The arch is looking great, and there is only the slightest hint of frustration in your prose, which makes you a better man than I when faced with the same task!

  4. I’m still scratching my head over the equation of 1.2 m = 4 ft. Congratulations on moving past that and getting the thing up and in. Won’t be long and it will be a little wonder, math problem aside!

  5. The New Zealand Department of Education Mathematics Division has stated that all things are relative; there are no incorrect answers in Mathematics provided it is clearly shown how such a conclusion was reached. Judging by the excellent arched result of your construction, I would say that 1.2 m is definitely 4 ft !

  6. We’ve tussled with an Agriframes structure but I have to say that once the damn thing is up, it seems to last forever. Ours is host to a rampant wisteria and has been in situ for about 15 years. Your garden is looking good, Derrick.

  7. Lol..your photography is a delaying tactic! The arch looks great. I’m sure the head gardener is itching to get at it . She is one talented lady! Her assistant is a bit of allright himself:)

  8. Is it cruel that that I find merriment in your frustration? “Every time I extracted the hole maker, bits of gravel fell back into it.” LOL!

    I’m certain you don’t everything in your posts, but it’s good to know that life isn’t always flowers and raindrops on roses.

  9. Beaut photos as always, Derrick – delaying tactics or no! 🙂 All the time and effort you both put in to the garden – so worth it, yes?
    Am sure your arch will soon be one “to heaven” – oh no, wait a minute, that’s a stairway isn’t it! 🙂 🙂

  10. Hi Derrick, I’m finally catching up on your blog and am enjoying it as always. Your principal of using photography as a delaying tactic is absolutely brilliant. I’ll have to get that started over here.

  11. help we are struggling putting up the arches we cannot get the cross frame bars to go down far enough to get the 3 screws in we don’t want to force with a hammer and customer service are closed until Monday we have four laid out in the barn the crossbars have grooves and we wonder if they are a tad to thick ? many thanks if you could help

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