Post last updated: October 10th, 2018

In 2009 I became a  statistic — one of the millions of Americans whose job was gobbled up in the Great Recession. In the Spring of 2011, I was in a car accident that messed up my neck, shoulders and back. In therapy three days a week, I stopped looking for work.

I don’t remember when but I discovered Poverty, USA was the happiest place I had ever lived.  Having fewer dollars meant I had to be creative in meeting my desires. One of my creative avenues to goods was shopping off Craigslist.

In early November, I purchased two kiwi vines from a gal on Craigslist. Vines need to be propped up. This meant an arbor of some sort. Before I could put any serious thought into the arbor, the solution appeared on Craigslist. It was a slate gray steel pergola originally purchased for $400. The Craigslist Seller was asking $100. I figured I probably couldn’t buy the lumber for an arbor for $100 and contacted the seller. On November 23, Poppie drove me to the Seller’s house where I did my Black Friday shopping. Here’s how the pergola looked at the seller’s house:


At home, as we were unloading it, Poppie said I needed to sand the rusty areas and he would spray paint it. I paid another $40 for two quarts of glossy black paint and by December 2, the pergola looked brand new.

On December 11, Poppie and I put the pergola together just south of my veggie garden. Here it is, freshly painted and set up:

Pergola in situ-1382

The manufacturer provided ridiculously ineffective ground anchors so we left the pergola standing but unanchored. This probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do but I think God knows some of us need extra protection.

Two days after Christmas, we finally went shopping for ground anchors, wire rope and channel locks. Trying to keep the pergola grounded set me back another $65. My “bargain” pergola had now crossed the $200 threshold.

Progress on my pergola came to a stand still when Poppie and I had a misunderstanding as to which of us was to install the ground anchors.  Finally learning that anchoring was my job, I got out there on January 25 to wind those things into the ground using a short screwdriver as a fulcrum. I advised him of my accomplishment.

The next day, I’m lying in bed around 8 a.m. thinking about getting up. It takes me a long time to think about it when it’s cold. I start hearing voices. I am not supposed to hear voices because I live on acreage and every single house nearest me is at least 80 feet away. I get out of bed to peek out the blinds. Ohmygawd, Poppie was out there on a ladder at the pergola, unsupervised. Poppie is 83 years old, has two bad knees, a bad back and he can’t hear worth squat even with hearing aids. I frantically jump into clothes, finger comb my hair, and rush out to supervise.

He chose to anchor my pergola with 1/8” galvanized wire rope that has a working load limit of 340 pounds. The wire rope goes over the top of the pergola and down through the ground anchors, tying it all up with channel locks as you see here:

Pergola anchor wire-1383

Pergola with anchors-1376

I’m hoping to avoid what happened to Holley over at Roses and Other Gardening Joys. Her metal gazebo blew down. I would prefer for the pergola to twist itself into a pretzel but not blow away.  I especially don’t want it to plow through one of the walls of my house during a hurricane.

11 thoughts on “PROP UP THOSE VINES, MA’AM”

  1. Very pretty. Don’t think it will blow away. I’m sure you and Poppie will enjoy it. Amazing how a simple project can take on a life of its own.

  2. What a beautiful pergola! You got a great deal. I would have never thought of tying it down with wire rope. Smart thinking! Just send your Poppie over to my house – obviously I need his skills! 🙂

  3. Oh, my! I love a good bargain, but sometimes being cheap adds up! That beautiful pergola is going nowhere. Your Poppy is very brave and loving to risk his life for your pleasure! We have a rickety arbor that used to blow over in high winds, but now the strong trunk and stems of the jasmine vine that covers it has such a grip that a hurricane couldn’t blow it down. Eventually your kiwi vines will probably do the same for you. It should be gorgeous!

    Linda, also thank you for your comment on my recent post! You asked about my moss path. If you want, go to the search feature under Older Posts on the right sidebar of my blog, type in Growing a Moss Path, and you will get the story of my moss path and how to grow one. I love my moss paths, and I hope you can grow one too!

    1. Deb – I hope you are right about the kiwi vines anchoring the pergola at some point in the future. Sounds reasonable to me. I went back to your blog and read several of the articles that talked about your moss paths. Thanks for steering me in the right direction.

      1. Hi Linda, I hope the articles help! I really think the moss path is the distinguishing feature of my woodland garden. Also, I appreciate your comment about my search feature. With my current template I can’t make a box, but I have moved it to the very top of my sidebar so it is more easily seen.

        Have a great week! Deb

        1. Deb – Big improvement on the search box. Anyway to capitalize the word? I had to really HUNT for that search feature the day I was looking for the moss articles. I agree that the moss path is THE distinguishing feature of your woodland garden.

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