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Monday, June 7, 2010

HELP, please and a prize

My dear blogging friends. I need a little advice. My new pergola is almost finished. However, it does not provide enough shade. Do any of you have a solution?

We have a lot of snow in the winter. Solutions which work for fair weather areas will not work here.

I am offering a prize to the person with the best idea. The prize is a signed copy of Susan Van Allen's new book entitled "100 Places In Italy Every Woman Should Go". Gosh, I'm even mentioned in Susan's book.

So, please put your thinking caps on. Your efforts will be rewarded and I would be so grateful.



  1. Sorry but I just don't have a solution. I guess I would weave some sort of material in the overhanging structure. I'm going to look up the book, it sounds great!
    I love your images! Are they painted? (excuse my ignorance)The soft color is so appealing.

  2. Gina,
    I looked up the book on Amazon and read a few pages. What a wonderful way to approach a visit to Italy. Thanks for the recommendation! (I love the sunlight in your images!)

  3. Well, it's pretty obvious that you have a see-through ceiling in that pergola. Good - but not for the summer. The solution in German is called Sonnensegel - basically it s a huge amount of strong material that gets stretched under the ceiling (not above it) - and protects you from the sun rays in summer. In winter you just happily take it off and hide it in the basement :)

  4. Dear Fram Mayer, Sie sind so sehr klug. Ja das stimmt ich wollte immer noch den Himmel sehen.
    You are so clever. I forgot to mention that I still want to see through whatever material we decide to use.
    Another problem I didn't mention is that the area is more than 60 feet long.

    Wie wird der Sonnensegel angemacht? How is the Sonnensegel fastened? With gromets and string?

    You have the right idea. I need something that is temporary, something we can remove in the winter. Thank you for your suggeston.

  5. Hi Gina, Your pergola is gorgeous. I'm sorry, I don't really know what to do but I'll be back if I come up with something. How great you are mentioned in that beautiful book! Have a lovely week. – g

  6. Hi Cynthia, Welcome to my blog. The photographs were taken yesterday afternoon/early evening. Susan's book is very charming and introduces the reader to Italy in a totally different way.

  7. Dear Georgianna, You probably don't have to worry about too much sun where you live. Until a few days ago it was still winter and right now it is too hot to go outside. We were robbed of our beautiful Spring this year.

    Looking forward to seeing more of your georgeous flower photographs

  8. A woman's travel book in Italy sounds interesting! Congratulations on the mention! As you know, pergole in this country are for trailing climbing plants that have lush vegetative cycles in the summer that provide shade (kiwi, vines, wisteria etc). They are dormant in winter, so they are ok with some snow, but from reading your blog this last winter it looks like your winters may be too long and cold. Though, I see a lemon tree there, did you move it to your greenhouse during the winter?

  9. Dear Francesca, Knowing that sooner or later we would need a pergola we planted a few vines (grape, wisteria, boston ivy and chocolate ivy) several years ago. Grape and boston ivy have done well. I will train them to grow over the pergola. They will help with providing shade in the summer.
    Yes the lemon tree overwinters in the greenhouse and so does the oleander.
    Susan van Allen's book "100 Places In Italy Every Woman Should Go" is a book you would like. It combines special places with little known stories about influential women from the Middle Ages and Renaissance of Italy. That is only part of this very interesting book, there is much more.

  10. what a gorgeous space that pergola creates!

    i suggest planting wisteria because in addition to looking great once it gets established, it will give you lots of shade. and it can handle the winter without problem.
    until it gets going, you can consider a series of awnings that can be retracted when you want more sun. awnings can be custom made out of transparent mesh material. or you can use any number of types of greenhouse type shade cloth, perhaps aluminet, made into easy to install/ easy to store fabric panels. you can see through this stuff just fine and it bounces back 90% of the heat.

    love your blog, btw, as well as your work.

  11. Love the blog; you were featured on Linda's blog "Surroundings". Here in Oklahoma we have much sun and in a few weeks we will be hunting down shade too.
    In the home improvement stores you can find a sun / shade material that is woven and has little checks for light filtering. I would suggest looking online or if you are hands on just attach grommets to the edges and attach to the wooden slats sitting atop the pergola.
    When winter comes just take it down.
    What a lovely home you have and I really enjoyed the sotory of the geese! What smart little fellows they are!

  12. Hi Gina,
    I come over from Linda's blog Surroundings. Oh your work is amazing beautiful!! You are very talented!
    I am going to look a little bit further into your blog now!
    Have a nice day Gina!

  13. Dear Lynne, Your suggestions are perfect. We have ordered a shade cloth to be custom made for the most critical area. There is a very large area where luminex cloth would be perfect. I didn't have much luck with the wisteria plant but the grapes and boston ivy are thriving and I can train them.

    Your suggestion of a "series of awnings"is exactly what is needed for our situation.
    Thank you Lynne.

  14. Dear L, You are right, grommets and shade material is the answer. Lynne suggested luminex. I will check out the shade material at the Home Improvement store. In the meantime we have also installed white curtains made from "painters dropcloths". I love the way the wind billows the material.

    Thank for your visit and suggestion. Did you know that geese live to be 40 years old. Our animals keep us entertained.

  15. Dear Greet, It's mutual admiration. Thank you for your lovely comments.
    We visited Belgium last Fall. We thoroughly enjoyed and admired your beautiful country and were made to feel so welcome by your countrymen.

  16. How about planting wisteria? it is beautful and grws fast I think smells great too

  17. Hi Kat, A good idea Wisteria. I planted one a few years ago and it didn't like our cold winters. But I should give it another try. Thank you for your suggestion.