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Pergolas, arbours, arches. All mean different things to different people and indeed have done since their first appearance in Ancient times. Depicted in frescoes, murals and mosaics in Ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt it is apparent that these structures date back at least to 80BC. They were often highly elaborate, made of marble and stone and offered a welcome escape from the sun, a place to recline and enjoy fresh air whilst still protected from the elements. They were practical too, the Romans with their bacchanalian tendencies, soon realised their use for growing grapes coupled with decorativeness. Arbours and arches predominated in the formal Medieval gardens too, many religious paintings depicting saints and Madonnas under rose-clad bowers. More rustic than in earlier centuries, they have an attractive simplicity which is today enjoying a renaissance with organic living willow structures. But the pergolas and arches most often recognised are those of the Victorian and Edwardian era. With the Golden Age of plant-hunting bringing an ever varied range of plants to British shores, great prestige was attached to these structures to show off their new acquisitions. This is an attractive, well laid-out and informative history of these garden structures from their earliest times to today's contemporary models. In all their varied forms: stone, timber, brick, wire, living plants, their diversity and use is extensive. From flowering plants such as roses and clematis, foliage cover such as parthenocissus and ivy. From fruit such as vines and apples to vegetables such as beans and gourds. Katherine Swifts "garden tour" of some of the finest pergolas in Britain, gives an in-depth look at five gardens, including the world famous Larburnum Tunnel at Bodnant and Jekyll and Lutyen's class design partnership at Hestercombe. Paul Edwards design specifications and projects round off the work on a practical note for today's gardeners, offering them a chance to recreate history in their own gardens.