Agriculture, Richland, pergolas: They all have a natural affinity. Richland, one of the three Tri-Cities in southeastern Washington, began as a small farm town. Its location at the confluence of the Columbia and Yakima rivers makes Richland perfect for growing produce; the land here is, indeed, rich. In the last decade, a thriving community of wineries has cropped up in the area as well – this August, Washington State University’s campus in Richland will break ground on a $23 million wine science center. Finally, food processor ConAgra/Lamb-Weston is located in Richland, making it convenient for area farmers to process their crops.
Given Richland’s history of agriculture and its long growing season, it’s not too surprising that many Richland residents enjoy transforming their own backyards into gorgeous gardens. Our Tri-Cities store manager Bob Mead fields Richland residents’ frequent requests for pergolas to use as growing structures to support their gardening efforts. He points out, “With a pergola you can grow a garden from top to bottom. One of the early uses of pergolas was to grow grapes and other vines.”
Indeed, the gardening structure we know as a pergola dates back to ancient times, when Egyptians first used these supports to grow vines, including grapes. During the Renaissance, the pergola gained popularity among Italian gardeners; soon the French were incorporating pergolas in their creative garden designs as well.
All of this pedigree is meant to show that people throughout history have seen the utility of a free-standing gardening structure for climbing plants. Edible plants, including peas, beans, grapes, hops and berries, thrive when grown on pergolas. But if you’re more interested in aesthetics, blossoming species such as wisteria and clematis are also excellent choices. Whether you’re in Seattle, Portland or Richland, pergolas are a great way to add verticality to your garden design.