I adore climbing beans. My favourite vegetable. And as they need something to climb, I am going to build a trellis tunnel that will also shade my garden in summer.

Building a trellis tunnel was always on my medieval garden plans. Whilst sitting in my walled garden, envisioning Cafe du Canard, and looking at the raised beds it seemed to make sense to plan something in this area.

South Facing Garden

It is the sunniest area of a very sunny south facing garden. Lovely in autumn and winter, but not so hot, or rather too hot, in summer. The earth bakes hard and the area can’t be used by plant or animal. So something’s needed to create shade, but only in those summer months.

The paths created between the hugelkultur beds seemed to foretell of a natural placement. The idea of a curved trellis was born. Or actually several trellises, think an M Shape, straddling 2 paths. This will create trellis tunnels to shade not only the paths, but part of the beds as well.

It should work well. Even though it’s a hot spot in summer. The duck pond naturally empties into this area when I change the water, so watering the plants regularly would be easy. And that’s the hard part in a sunny space. That figured out, now what to grow?

Something to Climb

As it’s a trellis tunnel, it needs something (plural) that climbs. Green beans, whether haricot vert or flat runner beans, are my all time favourite vegetables. So they are top of the list. You simply can’t compare the flavour of beans from the garden to those in the shops. Truly scrumptious.

Beans are normally planted, if from seed, in May here. Duly done. Then time got in the way. It was planned to buy metal pre-built trellis’s in April as part of getting the area ready. And then my job got suddenly really busy. Being away a lot meant it never quite happened. I had to make due and work out how to be inventive with what I already had.

Foraging for Parts

Searching in my ‘cave’ (French version of a cellar) showed up a collection of wooden post slats. About a meter/yard and a half in length they were a little too short for a trellis tunnel. But they could be a base for something. Now I needed something bendy.

It’s amazing how fate provides sometimes. I was offered bendy tubing by my boss from a clear out he did of his own garden. Perfect! I drove them home and got to work. Each was about 2 meters/yards long. So they could be bent in a curve giving the trellis tunnel some height.

And So to Work

The wooden posts were pounded into the soil about a meter/yard apart, and either side of the path. The tubes attached to the posts and were then duly bent over to attach to another post diagonally on the other side. This created crosses with the tubes, allowing them to be to strengthen by fastening them at the top crossing point. It’s surprising how heavy bean foliage can be once it gets growing.

With the curved tubes in place I now had what looked like a trellis tunnel. Not perfect as some tubes bent better than others. More a rustic sort of attempt. But functional. And that is what counts.

String was then wound between the wooden posts, side ways to aid the plants growing upwards, with something to cling to as they climbed. And finally a few twigs were put in vertically, about 30cm/10 inches apart to support the seedlings. And keep the ducks from trampling them to death.


And did I practice patience and wait until my seeds started sprouting? Did I heck. I also purchased a plethora (favourite word) of seedlings, just to be on the safe side. Patience is a varied virtue in my household.

Oh, and amongst those seedlings that went in were also some melons. And, tomatoes, and courgettes, and pickles… That is, other plants that climb to make sure, hopefully, that my trellis tunnels are bountiful. Ah, and a rose cutting.

I am trying to grow roses from cuttings from my overgrown now pruned rose bushes out front of the house. Waste not, want not. I await to see if they take. Not all will, but it looks like a few might have. Two are earmarked to grow along the fence along one wall. The hope is they grow up and then along the outside, and help add to creating a secret element of the garden.

One will eventually be put at the Cafe du Canard end of the garden, to grow up and over the lean-to roof planned for there. I am foreseeing gorgeous hanging flowers and wafting fragrance through the Cafe and garden. It will be a delightful additional ambience to my morning cup of coffee, or evening glass of wine, in years to come.

More Garden Findings

If you enjoy gardening, or simply like to read about gardening, please check out my other Garden Findings.

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