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Trellis Obelisks in Streets and Gardens (Masts/Posts...)

With climbing plants, free-standing vertical structures in public spaces and in the garden can be transformed into green obelisks. Masts, posts, lampposts, chimneys, etc.. (elements which have no load from above) can become 'living,' so to say. *Note: supports/columns within a building's structure are considered in a separate section.) Greening with self-climbing plants or using climbing supports are both possible here... In the house garden, single poles or interconnected posts/rods (teepee style arrangements, for example) can become a decorative element covered in greenery.

Village Festival in Roßwein / Saxony, East Germany, around 1960, © Foto-Hanisch

Lamp Posts and Masts in the Streets

The presence of a climbing plant on a mast or street lamp should not prevent it from fulfilling its function (as a light source or holder of guy-ropes), so the maintenance of climbers on these elements is all the more important. 


The wild vine P. Tricuspidata (Virginia creeper) is often used as a self climbing plant for obelisks. It grows well in poor, compacted soil and has another advantage: when it reaches the top, its shoots do not climb horizontal ropes like tension and electrical lines. The vegetation thus remains limited to the mast itself.


The vast majority of climbers will easily climb on a lattice 'tower.' On smooth masts, however, installing a climbing aid is required, which is not easy on concrete masts or tubular steel. Inexpensive wire mesh/netting is therefore often used for greening streets and public spaces. The attached wire mesh/grid (spanning the circumference of the mast) should be run only up to half the height of the post to limit plant growth and to keep any trellis wires or plant growth free of tram lines/electric lines, etc.. It is also possible to limit the height of growth by choosing a less-vigorous and slower-growing plant, such as Menisperomum (see photo).


The firm Thomas Brandmeier offers another alternative for masts-- see suppliers: cable and wire supports fastened with stainless steel products (belts or straps). The adherence of the plants by means of binding material (velcro strip or rubber belts) directly on the support is also possible, as is a greening with self-climbers.

Boston ivy, P. tricuspidata
Roadside greenery on concrete masts, Bayrischer Platz in Leipzig / Saxony
Greening of a steel lamp post with wild vine P. tricuspidata.
Greening of a lamp mast in Halle / Saale / Saxony
Wild vine P. tricuspidata on a thick concrete post, street lights above
Greened concrete mast, Bayrischer Platz in Leipzig / Saxony
Street lamp as a climbing support for 'three-lobed wild vine.' The obelisk is a little too low for the growing power of the plant species here; it must be trimmed quite often.
Street lantern as a climbing support, Burgstädt / Saxony
Street lamp greened with clematis montana using wire mesh
Greened lamppost
Object greening of a streetcar (tram) mast with overhead tension cables, clematis vitalba on wire mesh
Object greening of the overhead cable mast in Plauen / Saxony
Street lantern greening with thicket creeper P. Inserta on a climbing aid
Street lamp greening in Freiburg / Breisgau / Baden-Wuerttemberg
Detail of the photo above, wire mesh/lattice for clematis montana
Wire mesh for clematis montana
Menispermum on a latticed mast
Greening of a latticed mast
Hanging baskets of geraniums decorate street lamps in this pedestrian area.
Hanging flower baskets in Naumburg / Saxony-Anhalt
Alternative: trellis technology developed by Thomas Brandmeier, here on a steel mast
Trellis technology from Brandmeier on a steel mast
Lamp post tied with a blossoming winter jasmine
Lamp post with winter jasmine

Greened Chimneys and Smoke Stacks

Free-standing chimneys, smoke stacks, ventilation pipes from underground garages, and the like are also elements suitable for greening. All that was described above for 'masts' applies here. You can also find other but similar examples under the section Drainpipes/Downpipes.

Chimney of an old market garden greened with ivy
Greened "obelisk" in Dresden-Briesnitz / Saxony
Greening of a chimney stack: hops on wire-cables
Chimney greened with hops, a brewery in Krostitz / Saxony
Ventilation shaft with slow growing wintercreeper on vertical cables
Greened ventilation shaft, Mendelssohn-Haus in Leipzig / Saxony
This chimney of an old market garden was integrated into a new residential area and greened with Boston ivy P. Tricuspidata
Chimney greening in Schkeuditz / Saxony-Anhalt
An old clinker brick chimney still operating (with inner stainless steel piping), greened with ivy -- after approx. 20 years of growth
Trellis obelisk on townhall of Pegau / Saxony

Trellis Obelisks, Staffs, and Pyramids in the Garden

There are no limits regarding creative 'masts' in the house garden: trellis posts, pyramids, and obelisks from all possible materials can be created and greened. You can find similar examples under our section on staked vines.

Vines on steering wheels (see- no limit to your creative impulses!) ....
Grapevines on steering wheels
These three long, wooden rods driven in the ground form the trellis obelisk for this climbing rose
Trellis obelisk in the rose garden, Sangerhausen / Saxony-Anhalt
Little trellis pyramid for runner bean plants
Trellis pyramid for runner beans
Trellis rod/staff made of metal (wrought iron) with roses
Metal climbing rod, garden of Otto Niemeyer-Holstein on Usedom / Mecklenburg-Hither Pomerania